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Today’s roundtable topic asks each anchor their thoughts on the…
After a year that’s been slim on blockbuster releases from most of music’s heaviest hitters, I had long adjusted my expectations heading into the 2020 American Music Awards.
Naturally for a show of this ilk (see: fan-voted), it was a given that the year’s usual award-show suspects (see: whoever is dominating radio) would populate the performer list.
And while most served up the same ole, same ole. A select few met the moment and marvelled.
Namely Megan Thee Stallion and Dua Lipa.
The Hot Girl Coach stung with a spicy spectacle of ‘Body.’ Its recently released video meant there were statuesque expectations to replicate the same fire live and oh did she scorch and torch that stage. With the guidance of JaQuel Knight, Meg is morphing into quite the performer.
Similarly, Dua delivered a dazzling showing of ‘Levitating.’ I could be picky about some of the choreography (which felt slightly stiff and clumsy in places), but very little of that matters when considering how much she committed to the cause. Genuine “moments” are hard to come by these days, but that image of her floating in the air of Royal Albert Hall last night is already emblazoned in my mind.
Jennifer Lopez was another highlight. Despite being one of the most dynamic and dependable performers of all-time, my jaw still drops at how agile she is. Because of this, I would have wanted to see her perform more of ‘Pa’ Ti’ – which, beyond being more uptempo, is undoubtedly the better of the two songs she performed. But in light of the vast difference between her performance style and Maluma‘s, opting for the slower number made sense and didn’t damper the electricity.
Beyond that, the likes of Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Bebe Rexha, and The Weeknd permitted more toilet breaks than needed. The latter really has his work cut out for him ahead of the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
And while I bopped along to both Billie Eilish and BTS, neither especially wowed me. Same for Katy Perry.
As a holistic show, the AMAs skewed “OK.” Which, given the hurdles placed in front of it (like most of 2020’s award shows), is somewhat of a win in and of itself.
The audience may have been empty, but it’s still great to see that the American Music Awards maintained a certain sense of normalcy. In doing so, it was the best ceremony of the year.
J. Lo and Maluma did a great job with their ‘Cell Block Tango’-inspired (not Jayoncé) rendition of dual release ‘Pa’Ti + Lonely.’ Ms Lopez in particular, back by her female dancers, served her eternal brand of precision and sensuality on the sexy track.
Who would have thought that Megan Thee Stallion would deliver some of the best live performances of the year?! After her iconic BET Awards showing and her headline-grabbing SNL set, the Hot Girl Coach blessed us with yet another memorable moment with the debut performance of budding hit ‘Body.’ Recreating the sure-to-be viral choreography displayed in the song’s video, she hit the audience with raw energy while still making way for her endearing personality to shine through.
Dua Lipa’s presentation was a bit underwhelming to these eyes. Though she has shown tremendous progress as of late on a performing tip, yesterday’s showing missed her newly acquired confidence and “fierce” it seemed. Still, ‘Levitating’ remains one of the best Pop songs of the year.
What Justin Bieber served was once again uneventful and definitely nothing to write home about. As a fan, I can say that Billie Eilish’s performance was a bit too simple for my liking. Also, Doja Cat – with her fantastic stage presence – added a much needed touch of excitement to Bebe Rexha’s rendition of ‘Baby I’m Jealous.’
Hopefully with the AMA’s providing high production spectacle, the GRAMMYs will follow suit and give us the full-package show we’re all craving for.
Over the course of an incredibly up-and-down year, award shows have had the challenge to rise to the present circumstances we find ourselves in. So, it is always interesting to see how each show handles this predicament.
Unlike previous award shows this year, the American Music Awards actually had a live – albeit small – audience and a larger amount of people on stage.
Most of those small details can get overlooked, but they helped provide some normalcy and comfort this year.
For me, Dua Lipa runs away with the best performance of the night.
She showed up and boy did she show out, delivering an epic performance of ‘Levitating.’ While to many it may come off as cheesy and campy, that was exactly the intent here and it worked, providing a way of sunshine in these bleak times.
Elsewhere, and I never thought I’d say this but, Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker gave a show-stopping performance of ‘Bloody Valentine’ and ‘My Ex’s Best Friend’ from Kelly’s criminally underrated ‘Tickets to my Downfall’ album. The inner emo kid in me was happy to see Pop-Punk return to the award show stage. I almost broke out my black eyeliner and straightener for this banger of a performance.
As for who did not deliver, well, sadly there were quite a few. Justin Bieber delivered a rendition of his songs ‘Holy,’ ‘Lonely,’ and ‘Monster’ with Shawn Mendes. It’s a shame that the yodeling done on ‘Lonely’ was done better by that kid in Walmart a few years ago. They should have had him do this performance instead.
Another disappointment to me was Jennifer Lopez. We have seen her do the same routine at nearly every award show now for decades. She gets on stage, gyrates, and calls it a day. Only this time she took a page from Beyoncé’s playbook and I have to say, Beyoncé did it better.
At the end of the day, we can only hope that many of these performers have a return to form for their next performance.
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 2020 AMAs.