TGJ Roundtable: 2020 American Music Awards Review

Published: Monday 23rd Nov 2020 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, Rashad, Joe, and Ryan – get real in a very candid way.

Today’s roundtable topic asks each anchor their thoughts on the…

2020 AMAs 

Sam

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.

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Rashad

At last year’s AMAs roundtable (click here to read), I wrote a fairly scathing review about the program – ultimately branding it one of the least anticipated spectacles of its caliber.  I may have gone into the 2020 edition expecting to feel the same, but by its end I was proven totally wrong.

First, it’s clear this year’s edition was an attempt at a ratings grab given the currency of almost every artist on the performance roster.  Megan Thee Stallion BODIED her first televised performance of ‘Body’ with energy, choreography, and – of course – body-ody-ody.  The unapologetic lipping was a small minus for me (of all the night’s performers actually), but given the intensity of the song it was understood in Megan’s case.
Elsewhere, BTS, my beloved The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes gave cute, yet forgettable, performances.  Even serial award show stageblazer Doja Cat played it pretty safe, but I give her a pass as it wasn’t her song or moment to upstage.
The UNDOUBTED highlights of the night came from Dua Lipa and Jennifer Lopez, the latter particularly.
Lopez is the performance standard, period.  I am by no means a stan (#JLover), but in following her career trajectory it’s easy to note: 1) She is consistent, which is something VERY FEW of her contemporaries can boast, 2) she ultimately set the bar for many of our faves, and 3) even at 51-years-old she still performs with a fervor that lets viewers know how seriously she takes it.  Even though many may not give her the flowers she deserves until it’s too late, I – for one- will not be in that number.  I bow to J.Lo.
Lipa, on the other hand, deserves a nod for the MARKED improvement she’s made.  After that worrying ‘Levitating’ performance at Graham Norton just days ahead of the AMAs (click here to watch), I was afraid the U.S. television debut of the song was coming to serve much of the same lethargy.  Thankfully, it didn’t.  At first, she seemed a bit rigid with her movement but as the showing went on you could almost see her getting more and more comfortable.  By its soaring end (literally), Dua had definitely done what was needed – making the performance her most memorable to date (if you asked me).
All-in-all, the AMAs stepped it up majorly this year! I have high hopes for next year’s.

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Joe

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.

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Ryan

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.

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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 2020 AMAs.

Your thoughts?

[Photo Via: Getty / DCP]

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  1. …..copycatyonce….tumbleyonce or …..thiefyonce November 23, 2020

    megan did her thing.
    Jennifer Lopez has been her tribute to dance in the Glad video..and she made everybody aware that is what she was doing.. with the chair n wet hair .at 2020 amas she is not a ripp off copycat thief like tumbleyonce

  2. Bardi+#1 November 23, 2020

    I agree with everyone

  3. 🍭marilyn monh-O-E🍭(💫Perfectly Splendid✨) November 23, 2020

    I’m pretty sure Those TGJ staffs are some of the undercover trolls in here. 💅🏿💅🏿💅🏿 They Created busy traffic and more comments. I knew it 💁🏿‍♀️💁🏿‍♀️💁🏿‍♀️💁🏿‍♀️💁🏿‍♀️

    • We not dum November 23, 2020

      Yes and you’re one of them, you guys also track everyone’s ip adress

      • HUSH WORKER November 23, 2020

        Thanks for proving my point you dum f*****, how much do you get paid 7.34 an hour ? I leave a 4 or 5 word comment every other other day btw this blog sucks. Yall wISH I’d wrote more so you wouldn’t have to FAKE accounts to attract more traffic on this tiered ass bloggg sad as b**** step ur pay up WORKERRR

    • 🍭marilyn monh-O-E🍭(💫Perfectly Splendid✨) November 23, 2020

      STFU you ignorant illiterate no-nothin fool of a wannabe woman. Ur ass is always the first to criticize the content on TGJ yet ur always the first to post those irrelevant thirsty comments no one asked for and no one reads. Clown behavior to be sure. Now f*** off asshole 🖕🏻🖕🏻🖕🏻🖕🏻🖕🏻💁🏼‍♂️

      • HUSH WORKER November 23, 2020

        Thanks for proving my point you dum f*****, how much do you get paid 7.34 an hour ? I leave a 4 or 5 word comment every other other day btw this blog sucks. Yall wISH I’d wrote more so you wouldn’t have to FAKE accounts to attract more traffic on this tiered ass bloggg sad as b**** step ur pay up WORKERRR

  4. Tiff November 23, 2020

    Do people still watch this? Lost it’s appeal for me after Whitney’s death. I certainly couldn’t watch it without an audience.

  5. Whoa November 23, 2020

    I love Dua Lipa but I think y’all giving her too much credit for that performance. It was cute but nothing to waste a review on. All she did was move side to side and put her hands up occasionally. I still like her music though. Megan Thee Stallion was Thee performance of the night and the only one who should be mentioned. She was better than everybody-ody-ody-ody-ody put together.

  6. Truth Tea November 23, 2020

    Someone come gets your boy the Weeknd because that showmanship is not going to cut it for the Super Bowl. Fireworks aren’t going to cut it. Hopefully Shaun Carter and the NFL give him a call this week.

    • Bam November 23, 2020

      All he’s gonna give is a great light show. He’s got hits though to support it but the light engineers are gonna be the real stars of this superbowl.

  7. Paulo November 23, 2020

    Theeeee Stallion and BTS were the performers of the evening. Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, Miss Eilish and Nelly were cute too. JLo’s performance made no sense to me and everything else was just… meh

  8. Pat November 23, 2020

    I stated a while back that female rappers would become the main female black performing stars and some scoffed. If Megan continues to perfect her craft she’ll be interesting to watch

  9. Bam November 23, 2020

    Not sure why Jlo went with that look but whatever she’s 50 something doing s*** WAAAAY better than these 20 yr olds. As for the much talked about look we ain’t gon act like Beyoncé hasn’t straight ripped looks and concepts too…I thought jlo did it better and I don’t like whatever song that was she was performing.

  10. Slick November 23, 2020

    Jlo was great.

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