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TGJ Roundtable: 2016 AMAs – Review

New Feature Sees Editors Sam, David, Rashad, & Joe Sound Off On Hottest Topics

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Welcome to the latest TGJ Roundtable!

Over the years, That Grape Juice has established a distinguished voice that – whether loved or loathed – sparks discussion, debate, and on occasion drama!

Though comprised of seasoned writers who share a similar outlook on Urban Pop culture, the idiosyncrasies of the TGJ team members often lend for quite heated debates “behind the scenes” about the hottest topics.

Now, we give you a front row seat to the show. In a format similar to ‘The View’ or ‘The Real’, TGJ editors – Sam, David, Rashad, and Joe – get real in a very candid way.

Today’s roundtable topic is the…

 2016 AMAs Review

Sam

Historically, the AMAs are renown for being one of two types of ceremonies. The show that surprisingly upstages the others or one that pleasantly plods along with few reasons to remember after the credits roll. 

Last night sat somewhere in the middle. With over 16 performers, the line-up was longer than needed and provide ample filler. However, the standouts, where present, shone brightly. 

For yours truly, Bruno Mars was the evening’s MVP. 

He’s hit many a platform plugging new single ‘24k Magic’ and its like-titled album. Yet, none of those showings come close to matching the level of slay he brought to the stage at the AMAs. Subtle but effective additions, such as increased dancers and a dynamite dance-break, helped elevate the song to new levels live. 

In an era when the Usher’s and co a struggling to make a mark, Bruno proved that he is the premiere male performer of the current generation and is wholly deserving of said spot. 

Lady Gaga was another personal highlight. Sure, I’ll always thirst for the eccentric, dance diva persona that made her the star she is. But in parallel to that is the understanding that sometimes it’s important to strip-back so as to remind the masses of the talent at the core of the “character.” And Gaga did a great service to herself on that front with her rendition of ‘Million Reasons.’ It was simple, heartfelt, and most of all well-sung. 

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Elsewhere, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj redeemed themselves from “that” questionable showing at the VMAs. The Caribbean-kissed theme complimented ’Side To Side’ handsomely and provided the right backdrop for them to blaze the stage – which they did. Particular kudos to Ari for keeping up with that choreography. Her voice has always been undeniable, but her stage presence has improved leaps and bounds over the years. 

Other enjoyable showings came courtesy of Fifth Harmony and John Legend; although both could and would benefit from punching on to their next singles. 

As for ”moments” the show didn’t really serve many – a reality that is somewhat problematic. 

At a human level, I “felt” Selena Gomez’s impassioned speech about her rehab stint. But given how banally basic she is as an artist, it was impossible to invest in her narrative in any other way beyond that.

Also, was anyone else scratching their heads at how Prince nabbed Best Soundtrack? It’s great to see the late legend receiving his dues, but that was kinda odd. Still, salute to his sister Tyka for the dignified acceptance message. 

All in all, a decent show. Just not one that producers of its rivals will lose any sleep over.  

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David

The show was great!

Though award specials no longer pack the excitement and talent levels they used to, I look forward to see what the likes of Gaga, Bruno Mars, Ariana Grande would dish up.

Quite interestingly, I left being most impressed by a well-rehearsed and insanely cohesive Fifth Harmony who killed their performance of ‘That’s My Girl’ and Green Day who, by way of their politically charged set and charisma, served as a reminder of Rock’s importance in pop culture.

Other highlights on the night were Kendrick Lamar‘s live union with Maroon 5 and the aforementioned Ariana who took to the stage with Nicki Minaj.

What I thought about that performance?

It was stronger than their VMA set on all fronts and saw Minaj show how electric she can be when she puts in those rehearsal hours. Its only problem? It may have been a little too much on the sexy side for the fans responsible for the PG friendly ‘Pink Friday’s success.

I’m hoping she tones things down on her own releases and performances.

That being said, the angles used during the performance did a great job at capturing its set and what both ladies and their dancers had to offer.

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Rashad

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Insomniacs were probably the only ones who appreciated the AMAs last night as I’m sure that three-hour yawnfest was just what the doctor ordered to help them snooze.  Sad, but true, AMAs reminded (yet again) why they are behind the curve when it comes to award shows.  The Grammys, The BET Awards, and the MTV Awards all afford their acts elaborate stage sets, theatrics, and the like.  The AMAs, on the other hand, is still serving up basic, flavorless tea regardless of the number of creative and/or legendary performers who have set foot on the stage.
Beyond that, the roster of performers themselves just served as a painful reminder of how wack of a year 2016 was for music.  Bruno, THE OPENER, was easily the best performer. Yet, unknown to us at 8/7 EST last night, he set the bar way too high.  Ariana and Nicki, with their Britney Spears MTV 2001 “I’m a Slave For You” tribute performance, probably came second.
Let it be known, I honestly don’t think there were any downright bad performances.  They just all lacked memorability.  I woke up this morning barely remembering who I saw last night…and that’s not a good thing.

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Joe

As a whole, this year’s ceremony felt well balanced, in terms of winners and quality performances.

Nothing in particular made me jump off my seat, but it’s always exciting to see Ariana and Nicki on stage together, their ‘Side To Side’ showing was definitely a step up from the VMAs  which was a sweet disaster.

Fifth Harmony seem to have really grown as performers (especially Normani and Lauren), while and Lady Gaga delivered a beautiful and performance of ‘Million Reasons.’ I’d have personally preferred ‘A YO,’ but I guess if one song on ‘Joanne’ is gonna sell  the album, it’s the one she performed. And what better place to appeal the heart and soul of America than the AMAs?

I’ve never been impressed by Justin Bieber’s proposition on stage and yesterday’s telecast of his concert did not help change my mind; detached, pitchy, and altogether lifeless.

As much as I enjoy Bruno Mars’ ‘24K Magic,’ I can’t help but think that it’s not strong enough to be “the” lead single from its LP. As the biggest male popstar of the past few years, he should have detonated something BIGGER than this track and all I could think of was that his amazing opening slot would have been even better with a better song.

The Chainsmokers and Halsey displayed once again amazing chemistry and ‘Closer’ is just the epitome of a hit; so I had a sweet time watching them. Elsewhere, John Legend can never do any wrong with that voice.

Otherwise, The Weeknd was a bore (as always), and I don’t especially care for Shawn Mendes nor Niall Horan.

As far as actual awards are concerned, it looks the rationing was fair. It felt like “everybody” got at least one, which makes for an appeasing watch. I must say I was surprised by Ariana nabbing Artist Of The Year as neither ‘Dangerous Woman’ or its singles have had a significant impact this year. Or have they?

Overall a very entertaining show, with solid performances which in the end weren’t overshadowed by the scandals or controversies that plague rival shows like the VMAs and the Grammys.

Yesterday night seemed to be all about the music, and I find this refreshing, ironically.

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Do you agree with our points? Who was spot on? Let us know your thoughts on the latest TGJ Roundtable and 2016 AMAs!

Your thoughts?

[Photo credit: Getty]

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24 Comments

  1. November 21, 2016 at 12:17 pm
    LmfaoHoe says:
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    Rashad I agree 💯💯

  2. November 21, 2016 at 12:35 pm
    Weezy Tha Goat/ Zayn is 👑 says:
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    GaGa put on a great performance, that twink Shawn Mendes had a great performance, Bruno and Weeknd also killed it. This was the most boring award show this year though.

  3. November 21, 2016 at 12:37 pm
    Jon says:
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    I’d have really liked an Usher performance – but that’s just me.

  4. November 21, 2016 at 12:49 pm
    LOL says:
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    LOL PURCHASEYONCE DIDN’T GET HER PAYMENT IN TO THE AWARDS COMMITTEE IN TIME, THAT’S WHY HER BEDBUGS THINK THE SHOW SUCKED, CUZ SHE DIDN’T “WIN” SHYT LMAO

    • November 21, 2016 at 1:02 pm
      Surprise..(DEC 2013) says:
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      No, it sucked big time even LADY VOMITGA could not save it..By the way Bey won TOUR OF THE YEAR and she didn’t even have to show up…MEANWHILE NOANNE is about to leave the top 10 despite just coming out recently..LOL

      • November 21, 2016 at 1:15 pm
        Molly says:
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        Girl I don’t even use gags but atleast she doesn’t cheat her way to the top.

      • November 21, 2016 at 1:56 pm
        Emma Roberts Stan says:
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        🤔 Gaga is the biggest cheat out there. Wtf!

    • November 21, 2016 at 1:14 pm
      Molly says:
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      Death

      • November 21, 2016 at 1:49 pm
        HailLegendBeysus says:
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        Is that why Fad paid billboard to manipulate the charts for Born This Gay to chart at #1? Is that why she paid Billboard for woman of the year? Where dose Beyoncé cheat her way to the top? I want receipts or are you clinging to Kanye’s “I heard” as validation? LMFAO!

  5. November 21, 2016 at 1:14 pm
    Molly says:
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    I’m glad the underdogs Selena and Ariana won two of the biggest awards of the night. Congrats ladies.

  6. November 21, 2016 at 1:18 pm
    Sam says:
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    Fifth Harmony did the same as they always to. Sashay, flick hair serve face and mime, all things that iv’e seen on Rupaul’s drag race this year and better.
    I still don’t get the hype with Ariana, and the preformance was “okay”
    Tbh i didn’t care for the show and the hosts were terrible, I remember when real artists dominated this award show

    • November 21, 2016 at 3:36 pm
      Queen Ci says:
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      I agree with this and what Rashad said. Unfortunately, this is the state of today’s music industry. A lot of banality.

  7. November 21, 2016 at 1:50 pm
    Theman says:
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    Look, Selena is beautiful & cool. But she got that award because she showed up. Ariana isn’t no dayum ‘Artist Of The Yr’. Her album, while good, it didn’t really do as much as it should have. They only got those awards because it’s fan voted..

    • November 21, 2016 at 2:06 pm
      JOHNVIDAL says:
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      The awards themselves are a joke I agree. We know it, everybody knows it. Long gone are teh days when the real slayers quality wise were the ones getting these popularity awards. I agree with all your comments.

    • November 21, 2016 at 2:07 pm
      JOHNVIDAL says:
      Vote

  8. November 21, 2016 at 1:51 pm
    Theman says:
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    LG was brilliant! Bruno, Greenday, Stone Temple Pilots & Sting were all amazingggg!!!!

  9. November 21, 2016 at 1:59 pm
    JOHNVIDAL says:
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    As expected, Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars the best performances. They are obviously the best performers and singers so no surprise.

  10. November 21, 2016 at 2:05 pm
    IStan4Rihanna. says:
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    In spite of my fave winning three awards, the show was absolutely dreadful.

    .

    None of the five “main” Pop girls were there to save it:

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    No Adele
    No Taylor Swift
    No Rihanna
    No Beyonce’
    No Katy Perry

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    No ratings!

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    It’s that simple! 😞.

    • November 21, 2016 at 2:07 pm
      JOHNVIDAL says:
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      More like the opposite. The awards going to soemone like Rihanna is a joke while some of the performances were great since some of them are real performers 🙂

  11. November 21, 2016 at 2:46 pm
    LB says:
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    Did Beyonce win anything? Explains why she didn’t show up.

    Kanye is our whistle blower LOL.

    • November 21, 2016 at 4:50 pm
      Surprise..(DEC 2013) says:
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      Yes she did, for TOUR OF THE YEAR, HER SOLD OUT STADIUM TOUR THAT NOT EVERYBODY CAN RELATE TO. THANKS FOR ASKING THO, THOUGHT I COULD HELP.

  12. November 21, 2016 at 3:41 pm
    Jason says:
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    Joe definitely smoked before talking about that “Closer” performance!! They sounded awful, and that song is painfully basic. GAGA, Bruno, and 5th Harmony (kinda) had the best performances.

  13. November 21, 2016 at 4:54 pm
    Rihboy says:
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    Gaga was the only thing worth my time. Tho pitchy at times. She nailed it. I hated million reasons but now I love it! WIting for dancing in circles promotion asap! But I know million reasons will get video promotion first! This show wasn’t worth watching overall! Isn’t it strange that Taylor is no where to be found? But Drake is strangely promoting her? I feel like a surprise debut is coming! Maybe another break up single or some sort of gimmick. Any who!! I guess it’s far fetched to ask for anti part 2! It will make 4th quarter so worthwhile; because I’m not interested in nothing going on at the current.

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