At slightest this thing had a heart in a right place.
In an age of widespread awards-show overload, nobody looks to a annual American Music Awards — promote live Sunday night on ABC from a Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles — for an lawful diagnosis of what matters in cocktail music, never mind a incomparable enlightenment that cocktail is ostensible to reflect.
Unlike a Grammy Awards, a AMAs presents itself as a fan-voted eventuality that recognizes a “favorite” over a “best” — that would be excellent (maybe even preferable!) if those favorites didn’t seem some-more mostly than not to overlie with whoever was peaceful to uncover adult and perform.
Yet as a final vital awards prolongation of a calendar year, a AMAs also authority an enviable platform, one that infrequently leads it to fitness into significance.
In 2016 a uncover took place days after a choosing of Donald Trump, that led acts as different as Green Day and Idina Menzel to seize a eventuality to speak politics before an assembly of millions.
This year’s AMAs came amid rare revelations of passionate nuisance in a party attention — a conditions a show’s host, actor Tracee Ellis Ross, grappled with straightaway in her welcoming digression by describing a transformation started by “brave women” to “own a experiences, a bodies and a lives.”
And with performances by Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and a evening’s lifetime-achievement honoree, Diana Ross, a 2017 AMAs betrothed an effective remedy to Hollywood’s poisonous masculinity.
“There’s gonna be some group singing, too,” Ellis Ross warned skilfully during a tip of a three-hour event. “Gotta get them in there, we know what we mean?”
Unfortunately, a performances themselves were too diseased for a uncover to strike a target.
After a cold open that had Jamie Foxx oblivious on a “power of strain to assistance us heal,” a AMAs launched with Pink and Clarkson teaming for a initial time to sing R.E.M.’s folky “Everybody Hurts.” It was an intriguing choice for these dual pop-soul blasters, though one they rubbed approach too respectfully; a outcome was some-more dull than moving.
Aguilera looked some-more alive in a extensive reverence to Whitney Houston on a (rather lightweight) arise of a 25th anniversary of “The Bodyguard.” Yet her vocals were intensely rootless as she sang a miscellany that enclosed “I Will Always Love You,” “I Have Nothing” and “I’m Every Woman” — songs so large we could most see a fear in her eyes as she approached their peaks.
Perhaps that’s because Gomez seemed to be lip-syncing in a delivery of her appealingly goth-y new single, “Wolves,” that had her writhing in an elaborate timberland scene.
Speaking of elaborate, Pink incited adult for a second opening in that she sang her strain “Beautiful Trauma” while dangling by cables on a side of a circuitously JW Marriott hotel.
The thought was positively cold — a kind of doubling-down on a aerial choreography Pink frequently does in concert. But a concentration compulsory to lift off a attempt took divided from her ability to display in a song.
And it didn’t indeed sketch that well, that done we consternation if all a difficulty was unequivocally value it.
Other intermediate performances came from Alessia Cara and Zedd, who inexplicably retooled their EDM jam “Stay” as an acoustic dirge, and Lady Gaga, who beamed in around satellite from a unison in Washington D.C. to do “The Cure,” a 7-month-old explosve of a singular she’s still perplexing to ignite.
A few of those dreaded group indeed done appearances, including Niall Horan and Macklemore, who did a weirdly eager Pitbull impression, finish with tight-fitting suit, in a really grave “Glorious.” (Horan was named new artist of a year, while Gaga won favorite womanlike cocktail artist and Bruno Mars took home artist of a year.)
That left Diana Ross to purify up, that positively seems like a pursuit this cocktail idol would be adult to.
But if her so-so opening — another medley, of course, with hits like “I’m Coming Out” and “Take Me Higher” — left some outspoken pointing to be desired, we couldn’t assistance though grin as she invited some-more than a dozen members of her family (including Tracee, her daughter) onstage to … well, it wasn’t utterly clear.
Were these vehement folks presenting their mother/grandmother/aunt with her award? Were they observant a intense appreciate we on her behalf?
Whatever was happening, a impulse felt comfortable and loyal and good.
In this climate, that was roughly enough.