Welcome to the latest
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…
Billboard Music Awards 2021
Save for a few select acts, I admittedly wasn’t super roused by the BBMAs line-up heading into the show. Yet, after a year like no other, I was more so glad to see it was leading the charge with the return to the live-audience format.
In actualized form, the ceremony delivered what I anticipated it would on paper. Meaning the artists I braced myself to blaze…did. And those who have proven to be decorative filler on-stage lived up to that billing.
ICON Award recipient Pink, as ever, was quite the highlight. Her airborne showing with her 9(!)-year-old daughter Willow was breathtaking, as was her melodic trip down memory lane with bops such as ‘So What’ and ‘Just Give Me A Reason.’ One could argue that her performance could (and perhaps should) have incorporated more hits rather than the long-form renditions of her new numbers. But a) Mama has a new project to promote and b) the reality is that regardless of what’s blaring out of the speakers, it’s guaranteed that Alecia Beth Moore is going to show up and show out. And that she did.
Another ever-dependable vendor is Doja Cat, who potently pounced with her first live showing of ‘Kiss Me More’ with SZA. By and large, their contrasting styles worked well. That said, the “Boom Kack” in me was slightly jarred come the dance break where SZA quite literally sat down while Doja hit that choreography like her life depended on it. After unexpectedly dancing up a storm in the ‘Good Days’ video, it was kind of puzzling that Solana would bench her efforts for a song that actually calls for movement. Still, they ended strong.
Elsewhere, The Weeknd (who just doesn’t wow me as much he does everyone else) delivered a visually pleasing showing I could appreciate. I also enjoyed H.E.R.‘s hype-ness during a collective showing with DJ Khaled and the Migos. She was the one redeeming aspect of that spectacle, which otherwise presented as a bunch of random people bumping into each other at a bus stop.
Given the dust Drake tends to pay award shows, it was awesome seeing him embrace the glow of Artist of the Decade honor. He is unquestionably deserving.
Overall, I would have loved for a little more in the way of shock, awe, and unpredictability from the BBMAs rather than the more template offering it delivered.
That said, having a live award show…with an audience…that managed to please in places…feels like somewhat of a win. And above all, it feels like that return to normality we’ve long been hungry for.
Ambien Billboard Music Awards continue to prove themselves the least exciting musical event of the year for a number of reasons. Beyond the theoretical predictability of the winners (which in itself reduces excitement to some degree), the show’s performance roster is often hit-or-miss. Last night was arguably a miss.
On the performance front, Pink, the ICON recipient, had the longest slot time and I was hoping her performance would be more career-spanning. While her vocals were on point (as always) and that mother-daughter aerial moment was priceless, the disregard for her first two albums (especially her debut) is disheartening. BTS gave us their usual ‘America’s Best Dance Crew’ tribute and The Weeknd’s car choreo – though cute – just seemed more like a commercial than a performance.
The highlight of the nights was undoubtedly Doja Cat who has REPEATEDLY demonstrated she understands the assignment. SZA seemed a bit odd just standing in the background while Doja broke it down, but their 1-2 step at the performance’s closing was nice. Outside, it was nice to see H.E.R. step out of her element with a bit of choreo and energy during DJ Khaled’s ‘We Going Crazy’ showing.
Finally, while some found it less entertaining, I appreciated Alicia Keys’ debut album tribute. A testament to how quickly 20 years pass by, some of us remember just how impactful ‘Songs in A Minor’ was when it first hit shelves. I thought she sounded good and it was an engaging performance.
All in all, BBMAs 2021 were a C-.
The Billboard Music Awards were back last night for a second “Covid-ified ” ceremony in a row. Through it all, the show was still a success.
As an Alicia Keys fan, I was very moved by her ‘Songs In A Minor’ medley, which she delivered beautifully, sounding and looking the same as she was 20 years ago (time flies!).
Pink definitely gave the performance of the night with her medley of old and new songs, especially because of that bring-your-daughter-to-work-day moment. Willow Sage is a superstar in the making as evidenced in their performance as well as her mama’s newest Amazon Prime documentary.
It should come as no surprise that the boys of BTS have blessed us with yet another great performance. Through impeccable showmanship and clever edits, they’ve managed to elevate an already great Pop track to even higher ground. The same can definitely be said about Miss Doja Cat. The choreography, set, instrumentation, and outfits used for the showing of bopalicious ‘Kiss Me More’ may just be what the chart doctor ordered to push the song at the top of the tally.
Although they respectively gave more of the same, The Weeknd and Jonas Brothers did well. Also, what a pleasant surprise it was to get that stripped-back rendition of ‘Optimistic’ by Sound Of Blackness.
As far as the winners list is concerned, it’s good to see The Weeknd was given his flower as his Billboard trajectory this past year has been nothing short of impressive. Congrats are in order for Bad Bunny too, who waved the flag for Latin music with 4 wins last night.
For some reason, the show had an air of normalcy to it, which bode well for the future of our beloved ceremonies.
Kudos BBMA’s, roll on BET Awards!
It’s been a little over a year since the first lockdowns took place due to COVID-19 and life is starting to return to “normal.” While the return of live music is a welcome change of tune, this year’s Billboard Music Awards was one note.
Sure, there were some surprises, such as Top Billboard 200 Album going to the late Pop Smoke over let’s say The Weeknd or Taylor Swift. However, many wins were to be predicted, as in BTS sweeping every category they were nominated in.
But, let’s be honest. This year’s BBMA’s strength did not reside in its list of winners, rather the list of performers. I mean, with big names such as SZA, Doja Cat, The Weeknd, BTS, Jonas Brothers, and more set to perform you would think something amazing would come out of it, right? Well… yes and no.
Let’s start with the best.
For me, the best easily go to the icons: Pink and Alicia Keys. Both provided highlights of the night on opposite ends of the spectrum. Pink once again dazzled with her famed acrobatic moves and even brought daughter Willow-Sage Hart along for the ride. It provided a touching moment between mother and daughter. As for Alicia, she proved that simplicity is best. Without any outlandish stage design or choreography, she let her voice do the talking.
Out of the younger generation, Doja Cat and SZA easily stole the show with their performance of ‘Kiss Me More.’ Now, I know what I just said about stage design and simplicity, but this is one performance that benefited from the theatrics. Doja absolutely slayed the choreography and SZA sounded as gorgeous as ever.
When it comes to the worst, where do I begin?
The problem is that not many of the performances were bad, but just forgettable. AJR and Glass Animals are best not remembered, while Twenty One Pilots sounded as if they were a dying cat at one point. It was a howl worthy of a Stephen King book-to-movie adaptation and not an awards show.
At the end of the day, while the 2021 Billboard Music Awards was a welcome return to “normal,” hopefully next year they can give a new meaning to “back and better than ever.”
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 BBMAs 2021.