TGJ Roundtable: 2017 American Music Awards Review

Published: Monday 20th Nov 2017 by Sam

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 asks each anchor their thoughts on the…

2017 AMAs 

Sam

The AMAs were holistically nothing to write home about, but provided enough spike moments to satisfy. Somewhat.

Undoubtedly the night’s talking point was Christina Aguilera and her ‘Bodyguard’ 25  tribute to Whitney Houston.

When placed in context (see: the fact Whitney’s voice was otherworldly, alien even), it’s easier to both receive and respect what Xtina offered. She delivered power, range, and control (for the most part). The latter of which had me super anxious pre her taking to the stage.

While on the topic of the sentiment before and after her performance, it honestly felt as though some on social media were literally waiting to roast her – regardless of how good she sounded. Almost as if “how dare”…”she” honour Whitney. Sure, there’s a broader conversation to be had about how and who producers pick to perform. But the reality is that Christina is wholly capable – and is one of few singers-singers left. So why the slander? If anything, I’m more aggrieved by what she – as an already beautiful woman – has done to her lips. But even that doesn’t take away from the vocals that came out of them.

In any case, her team clearly have their work cutout for them ahead of her chart return to steer her likability in a favourable direction.

Elsewhere, Diana Ross proved why she is more than deserving of the Lifetime Achievement honour. Beyond boasting a catalogue of classics, she delivered them live in dynamite fashion. At 73 her voice is still crystalline and she easily out-sung acts a fraction of her age. Legend!

Similarly Pop’s most daring diva Pink cemented her vocal supremacy by singing live while performing airborne on the side of a building. Not to harp on about age, but at 38 she’s not only upping her levels, she’s pushing the creative envelope for all. I enjoyed her showing with Kelly Clarkson too.

The rest of the show skewed a little “meh.”

I wanted to love Lady Gaga’s performance, but found myself more in-love with the sheer audacity of her performing a song that deserved such promo way back in April. Like, girl really? Still, I commend her commitment, considering that she could have Skyped in the tour rendition, but instead cultivated something new. That said, I personally couldn’t get past the sloppy choreography. And still don’t know how much of that is down to the moves or how she was executing them. I suspect it was a little of both. Her awkwardness is almost trademark now and usually works, but last night it did not.

The likes of Selena Gomez, Shawn Mendes, and co were a ball of blah.

In the grand scheme of shows, the AMAs was by no means the worst, yet didn’t do enough to warrant much discussion beyond today.

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David

 

Last night was awesome.

Sure, though there were some vocal mishaps/ moments it could have done without, but the show went a long way to showcase some of the industry’s best and brightest.

From its welcoming of K-Pop with BTS to Demi Lovato‘s bold anti-bullying performance, the show ticked a number of boxes I hope see it soar as far as ratings go.

Highlights?

Pink’s spectacular performances, Niall Horan‘s moving delivery of his hit ‘Slow Hands’ and of course…the night’s honouring of Diana Ross.

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Rashad

 

Admittedly, when it comes to annual award shows my hopes are always their lowest for the AMAs because they consistently are behind the curve when it comes to staging, the performance roster, and overall entertainment value.  In 2017, I’m glad to say they did not live up to my expectations and actually brought forth an engaging show. P!nk and Kelly Clarkson were excellent ways to kick off the show as both – especially the latter – delivered some dynamite vocals.  Lady Gaga (who looked absolutely sensational, by the way) came through and delivered an amazing performance as well (my favorite of the night).

Even the male Pop acts – Shawn Mendes, Niall, and Nick Jonas – rendered some (albeit forgettable) commendable vocal showings. Everybody brought their A game except the night’s two most talked about showings – Selena Gomez and Xtina.

The former lip synced for her life while boring everyone else to do death, the latter got way too much flack for what was a very decent performance. But, even with that compliment lies the issue:  you don’t just sing “decently” when covering Whitney – especially the hardest songs of her career. Giving credit where it’s due, I commend Aguilera for taking on the challenge of singing so many challenging number back to back. With that stated, I say this in the least shady way:  please no more Whitney tributes from Christina.  She is just not in the voice to do them.

P.S.  Knock her all you want, there are props that must be given to P!nk and those acrobatics. Yes, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tired of the predictability that’s surrounded her performances since she began taking to the sky on her trapeze. But, no matter how many times she does it, there have to be props given for the daringness of it all, her willingness to be a trailblazer in that regard, and the fact nobody else has the balls to consistently do it.

P.S.S – Was I the only one who peeped that most of the big names nominated weren’t even there to accept?

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Joe

Demi Lovato seems to finally come into her own. Though her whole acts still feels somehow contrived, it’s always great to see talent given a golden stage to shine on.

Being part of the sect that doesn’t “get” Shawn Mendes, his performance didn’t really move my spirit. But at this point it’s clear the industry has decided to make him “happen” so good on them for developing the truest rival rival to Justin Bieber after several tries.

Christina Aguilera was in amazing vocal form during her melismatic Whitney Houston tribute. Clearly on edge, the diva did a great job channeling the late songbird while giving it her own little twist. Above all, what this performance did was wet my appetite even more for some new material and accompanying live performances from one of the greatest of our generation.

… and about those facial expressions from Pink and Ciara, I personally saw those as severe cases of “sing it, girl.” But to each their own.

Selena Gomez’ showing was another proof that talent and charisma are not essential requirements to become a top dog of the music industry. And once again Alessia Cara and Khalid held it down for the new generation of gifted artists.

From her way of being present on the red carpet to her performance, Gaga continues to bring in the uniqueness and excitement. Although she gave it the classic ballad-then-full-on “Gaga” treatment, her showing of ‘The Cure’ elevated the song to new heights.

Vocally, Pink and Kelly Clarkson’s joint offering delivered , Nick Jonas held his own and Diana Ross was delightful as ever.

Also, I really enjoyed Tracee Ellis Ross’ hosting; it’s amazing to see her star shine brighter and brighter after so many years of being active in the industry.

Without any surprises, Bruno Mars took home the most awards and Niall Horan cemented his place as a bonafide solo act with his Best New Artist win.

Congrats to everyone and thanks for the entertainment.

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Do you agree with our picks? Who was spot on? Let us know your thoughts on the latest TGJ Roundtable and your thoughts on the 2017 MTV AMAs.

Your thoughts?

[Photo credit: Getty]

Comments 21

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  1. Stephy November 20, 2017

    Diana Ross aged so amazingly. Like she doesn’t look 73 at all. And still can has her pure light vocals, she’s definitely a super legend.

    • ??? November 20, 2017

      lol one thing i don’t understand is why diana gets praise for whispering but janet doesnt? lol

      • The Wig Snatcher November 20, 2017

        Truth

      • Terny November 20, 2017

        You sound stupid… since when does Diana Ross “Whisper” like Janet? she has a strong voice it might not be massive but it sure holds it’s own – Pleasant tone, powerful belts, distinctive voice. Sit down troll! _/

      • Jasmine November 20, 2017

        ??? Janet does not whisper! Diana does not whisper! That meth you smoke causes your hearing to be impaired which is why you hear whispers.

      • DanYiel Iman November 20, 2017

        I don’t give any whisperer respect, i like powerhouse vocalist!! ?%

      • RCW November 21, 2017

        ?????‍♂️

  2. ??? November 20, 2017

    lol the whole show was a big fat MEH. everybody was tired, but then again the amas have been tired since the 90’s when whitney/janet/mj/prince ruled the world. bring on the soul train awards please!

  3. Brent Christopher November 20, 2017

    There were FAR too many white & light artists placed in the forefront — as of black performers, black musicians and black mega stars aren’t the nucleus of “AMERICAN” music and sound. Why didn’t any of you mention the lack of melanin on that damn stage last night? It was a DISGUSTING display!

    • ? + ✈ = ? November 20, 2017

      Melanins need to go buy their album

      • AmbeRussell November 20, 2017

        They have and still no performances or request to be apart of the show or nomination.

  4. Gee November 20, 2017

    The AMA’s was a waste of time the highlights being P! nk and Ms.Ross Big up to Kelly Clarkson as well, everyone else was blah!!!

  5. Jason November 20, 2017

    Really, David?! ?

  6. AmbeRussell November 20, 2017

    I have to agree, no matter how good, decent, average or bad Christina was, she would have been ridiculed and ppl we’re waiting for her to fail. And on another site, ppl we’re mad that a white girl was singing a Whitney song. But from the audience, they loved it and if that is who we wanna, I’d like that. And some times the loudest voices are the haters, though they make up a smaller population

    • #formulation ?☕ November 20, 2017

      I disagree, if she killed her performance, she would have shut the haters up…

  7. AmbeRussell November 20, 2017

    Being the AMERICAN Music Awards, it is very disheartening to see only 2 black artist perform, one being honored and the other sharing the stage with a white group. Slap in the face to all rnb, hip hop and black performers overall. When a portion of the songs performed we’re knock off rnb songs, the audience wants to hear it, but doesn’t care the form it comes in or just fearful of the black artist. This is why they should have them on stage so ppl can be comfortable with artists they aren’t used to.

  8. Jody November 20, 2017

    Christinia A. did a terrible tribute to Whitney Houston…..She added notes and her facial expressions were ugly ……If your going to pay tribute to someone sing it RIGHT!!!!!

    Whitney Houston was a classy lady

  9. Dingell jones November 20, 2017

    Until y’all start putting more rb females at these shows, I won’t take this mess serious

  10. JOHNVIDAL November 20, 2017

    Well seeing Diana Ross was one of the best things. Then gaga too cause she is a real performer and singer (although I don´t care about that song, it´s too basic for her at this point. No matter what some basic pop fans want, it´ snot the music she does now and shouldn´t do now). Pinl did her thing as always but she doesn´t move me. And xtina… she didn´t do bad or anything. What i don´t understand is why she takes the challenge to tribute Whitney. Just don´t do those things and that´s it. It´s just making trouble for oneself when it wasn´t needed.

  11. #formulation ?☕ November 20, 2017

    Just watched xtinas performance… Cici got it right the first time, what was that horrid performance about? Them vocals were going in all directions like Google maps crack… No shde but xtina is meant to be one of the best of our generation…?
    I have always said this, but she has forgotten to sing properly… Too much vocal gymnastics like jessie j. After a while it just gets annoying… Just sing the damn Whitney songs…

  12. NotFunny ButFunny November 20, 2017

    I really liked BTS ‘s performance and never heard of the award show before them. Sitting through what, 2 hours of the show for BTS and Diana Ross , where was the melanin? Khalid. okay thats 1. All these artist and and nothing, it was saddening. Bruno Mars was somewhere else. Where other artist who had albums not available? SZA was she busy? Jasmine Sullivan ? someone?
    Christina A. My family was in the other room like “Who the f*** is that?” and “No.” i say it equivalent to that Kids Bop cover of We Belong Together.
    Throughout the night, audio for performances were not balanced. They muted ARMY . I liked Jonas’s dancers more than the song and the song was okay.
    Diana Ross is a queen. Demi’s performance was awesome, BTS killed it. I’m so proud of them. Pink was cool, her voice is so level it is inspiring.

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