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Recap: 2011 American Music Awards

by Photo of Andrew Lontos

There’s plenty to talk about after last night’s 39th annual American Music Awards.

Recap: 2011 American Music Awards

The 39th annual American Music Awards were held last night and as always, there were plenty of good and not-so-good performances.

As for the best...

Mary J. Blige: She is one performer who seldom disappoints live. Even when she’s only on stage for four minutes, she seems able to dig deep from some bottomless emotional well as she did Sunday night with “Mr. Wrong.”  Plus, she knows how to dress sexily, while not being trashy, as she did Sunday in a beautiful, classy white suit. She also gave out a heartfelt, short tribute to her former label mate and friend, Heavy D. One question: If Adam Levine and Jennifer Lopez could pull double duty, why couldn’t Drake, who was MIA for his part of the song? 

The Band Perry: Anyone coming after Bieber  would have looked good in comparison, but this was the best  Band Perry best performances I’ve seen. Lead singer Kimberly can be flat in performances, but she was totally on target tonight with this stripped-down, lovely version of “If I Die Young.” Plus, her dress was gorgeous.  Looks like those three CMA Award wins two weeks ago bolstered their self confidence. 

Kelly Clarkson: As long as sponsors were rushing in, Clarkson’s performance should have been underwritten by the forthcoming Broadway play “Newsies.”  She took “Mr. Know It All” and turned it into a ’40-styled tune that looked like it was straight out of “Captain America.”  Plus, she looked beautiful in her red-sequined mermaid dress.  Runner up: Katy Perry, who performed  “The One That Got Away” on acoustic guitar. We weren’t loving the pink hair though.  Leave that to Nicki Minaj, girl.

And the worst...

Taylor Swift:  How can she continue to be so floored when she wins awards?  Where did she think she was? What had she gotten all dressed up for if she didn’t realize she had the potential to win? Plus, even if she didn’t know she was winning ahead of time, she was one of three finalists, so she knew she had at least a 33% chance of taking home any award she was up for. I’m not saying it’s an act though because if she’s this great an actress, why wasn’t she better in “Valentine’s Day?”  On a separate note, if you haven’t seen photos of Swift’s adorable new Scottish Fold kitty, go here to experience the preciousness. 

Nicki Minaj’s lip-syncing: She and DJ David Guetta opened the show with “Turn Me On.” Half the time she forgot she was supposed to be singing. She shouldn’t have even tried.  Mina is often a  very compelling, colorful live presence, and given that anyone performing with Guetta is going to have to bring the excitement since all Guetta can do is stand there and spin, she had a lot of pressure on her.  The whole idea of  plugging her in and the speakers on her butt were intriguing, but even a coda of “Super Bass” didn’t help save the opening. On the plus side, she delivered one of the most amusing acceptance speeches of the night, including revealing that her mother now had a publicist and was going to put out a gospel album. 

Justin Bieber: Maybe it’s a little too early for  him to get into the Christmas spirit, but  whatever the reason, Bieber gave the most tepid performance I’ve ever seen him give with “Mistletoe.” Whether it was the Elvis-like leather track suit (complete with Elvis karate moves at the end),  the weird lighting design that used Christmas colors but wouldn’t really commit to the holiday theme, or his blase attitude, the only thing it succeeded in was being a total miss. On a separate note, I did enjoy his crazy cameo during LMFAO’s show closer, “Party Rock Anthem/I'm Sexy and I Know It” although we were hoping for some shuffling from the Kia Soul hamsters.

Notable winners of the 2011 AMAs are:

Artist of the Year: Taylor Swift

New Artist of the Year: Hot Chelle Rae

Special Achievement: Katy Perry

Pop/Rock Music

Favorite Male Artist: Bruno Mars

Favorite Female Artist: Adele

Country Music

Favorite Male Artist: Blake Shelton

Favorite Female Artist: Taylor Swift

Rap Music

Favorite Artist: Nicki Minaj

The Best and Worst of the 2011 American Music Awards


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