Judging from the mostly unfazed reactions of the winners accepting their awards, winning an American Music Award is roughly equivalent to having a stranger hand you a flower on the street: “Oh…thanks, that’s nice.”
After all, if you win an AMA, it’s because a whole lot of fans voted for you. Which means you have a whole lot of fans. Which you already know. Winning means that at least one more of your millions of fans was more motivated to text or tweet their vote (I can’t remember how it works, does it matter?) than at least one more of, say, Robin Thicke‘s fans.
This year’s Least Emotional Award goes to Justin Timberlake, who took home three AMAs including Favorite Album (Soul/R&B), Favorite Male Artist (Soul/R&B), and Favorite Male Artist (Pop/Rock), and seemed increasingly bemused with each acceptance. The resulting complete lack of nervousness made for some of the best television of the night, particularly in accepting the Album award from Sarah Silverman, who had joked about a white Mickey Mouse Club member winning a Soul/R&B award over Rihanna. “That’s the first time I’ve ever been racially profiled by a white woman,” he said. It was also kind of a laff to see him singing along to his own song as he walked to the stage, after feigning an “OMG” moment with Taylor Swift.
Other entertaining moments included a rather sweet presentation of the completely-invented-for-ratings “Icon Award” to Rihanna by her mother, who exuded pride as she acknowledged that her daughter’s road to success had been a bumpy one. The singer’s acceptance speech ribbed her mother for mocking her “husky, man’s voice” when she was young and just starting to sing. Timberlake made more hay from this particular moment, later doing an off-the-cuff impersonation of Rihanna’s mom.
Macklemore, who along with his partner Ryan Lewis won Favorite Artist (Rap/Hip-Hop) and Favorite Album (Rap/Hip-Hop), had the only social or political message of the night during his acceptance, broadcast remotely from Florida, saying, “I want to acknowledge Trayvon Martin and the hundreds and hundreds of kids that are dying due to racial profiling and the violence that follows it. This is really happening [to] our friends, our neighbors, our peers, our fans, and it’s time that we look out for the youth and fight against racism and the laws that protect it.” It was brief, subtle, and though it stood out among the relative innocuousness of the evening, felt genuine, and was welcomed by the crowd.
Dave Grohl‘s appearance as a presenter, along with Joan Jett, was not totally surprising, but that he didn’t take the opportunity to slam the apparent sidelining of rock and roll in the event was a little disappointing. He did express hope that the band with the big guitars would win the Alternative Rock award, and by that we guess he meant Imagine Dragons? Little did he know they would be the band with the big drums instead. Their performance featured a breakdown with each member pounding on drums of varying sizes. Anyway, they were among the most grateful for their win, and praised the two rock legends who presented their award.
Also amusing was Ariana Grande, who performed and won New Artist of the Year, and who apparently borrowed her red sequined dress from Jessica Rabbit. She was barely able to accept her award, navigating one stair for every two steps, before delivering an impressively speedy thank you speech, which she produced from her bodice.
Oh, how could I forget? Miley Cyrus delivered a non-controversial performance, backed only by a sad cartoon cat. I’m not sure which, but one of them was definitely lip-syncing. She also spent a little too much time on her faux-emoting during the song’s breakdown, missing her cue for the next section and coming in, indeed, like a wrecking ball.
See the full list of winners below.
Over the last few months, we’ve brought you a number of videos from hard rock outfit Our Last Night that were created as part of their ‘summer of covers’ celebration. The season may have changed, but these former Epitaph Records rockers still have a love for making pop songs their own, and today a new cover has appeared online.
It’s probably safe to say the world is beginning to suffer from Miley Cyus overload, but for another month or two, “Wrecking Ball” will remain a colossal, inescapable hit. Our Last Night are aiming to ride the song’s coattails with the release of their own, slightly heavier version of the power-ballad. You can stream the cover below.
As is often the case when heavy rock bands decide to cover pop songs, the spin they put on it can be a bit much. They add too many screams, or chugging guitars, and somewhere in their search for maximum metal injection, they lose the heart of the original track. I’m happy to report this is not the case with Our Last Night, as they tackle “Wrecking Ball” in a far gentler fashion (while still maintaining their heavy sound).
We have featured a number of covers recently and would gladly feature yours if you sent it our way. If you have a cover song or video you would like to see on the OurStage blog, send us a tweet with a link to your content! (more…)
The response to the open letter written by singer Sinead O’Connor to Miley Cyrus has been immense. The letter inspired many to speak out, with what seems like a majority applauding O’Connor’s message to Cyrus that she is letting herself be used by the music business, on a path to ultimate self-destruction, while perhaps deluded that she is revealing a new and empowered self. A growing and vocal segment of those responding, however, are accusing O’Connor of slut-shaming, implying that she is holding Cyrus to a traditional societal (double) standard that is outdated, arbitrary, and harmful to women.
Actual slut-shaming is indeed all of those things. But this is not that. O’Connor’s letter does not attack Cyrus for a lack of modesty, or for being sexual, or violating some accepted code of conduct.
What O’Connor did with her letter was voice her concern that Cyrus is doing the exact opposite of what she seems to believe she is doing. Rather than empowering herself with an open expression of sexuality, she is sublimating her identity and her talent by allowing herself to be pimped. O’Connor is delineating a crucial distinction between two very different things: sexual expression and sexual commerce.
Upon hearing that Miley Cyrus had cited her as an influence, Sinead O’Connor was compelled to reach out to the younger pop star in an open letter. O’Connor, no stranger to controversy, the pitfalls of stardom, or the dark and manipulative side of the music industry, has taken the opportunity to warn Cyrus not to let herself be exploited. O’Connor slams in particular the “Wrecking Ball” video, in which Cyrus appears nude, licking a sledgehammer and riding an actual wrecking ball. We can’t pretend to be impartial here, it is a disturbing and debasing clip. We’ll let O’Connor take it from here (h/t to our friends at Vanyaland):
OPEN LETTER TO MILEY CYRUS
I wasn’t going to write this letter, but today i’ve been dodging phone calls from various newspapers who wished me to remark upon your having said in Rolling Stone your Wrecking Ball video was designed to be similar to the one for Nothing Compares¦ So this is what I need to say¦ And it is said in the spirit of motherliness and with love.
I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way ˜cool’ to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos. It is in fact the case that you will obscure your talent by allowing yourself to be pimped, whether its the music business or yourself doing the pimping.
Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent.
I am happy to hear I am somewhat of a role model for you and I hope that because of that you will pay close attention to what I am telling you.
The music business doesn’t give a shit about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think its what YOU wanted.. and when you end up in rehab as a result of being prostituted, ˜they’ will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body and you will find yourself very alone.
None of the men oggling you give a shit about you either, do not be fooled. Many’s the woman mistook lust for love. If they want you sexually that doesn’t mean they give a fuck about you. All the more true when you unwittingly give the impression you don’t give much of a fuck about yourself. And when you employ people who give the impression they don’t give much of a fuck about you either. No one who cares about you could support your being pimped.. and that includes you yourself.
Yes, I’m suggesting you don’t care for yourself. That has to change. You ought be protected as a precious young lady by anyone in your employ and anyone around you, including you. This is a dangerous world. We don’t encourage our daughters to walk around naked in it because it makes them pray [sic] for animals and less than animals (a distressing majority of whom work in the music industry and the associated media).
You are worth more than your body or your sexual appeal. The world of showbiz doesn’t see things that way, they like things to be seen the other way, whether they are magazines who want you on their cover, or whatever.. Don’t be under any illusions.. ALL of them want you because they’re making money off your youth and your beauty.. which they could not do except for the fact your youth makes you blind to the evils of show business. If you have an innocent heart you can’t recognise those who do not.
I repeat, you have enough talent that you don’t need to let the music business make a prostitute of you. You shouldn’t let them make a fool of you either. Don’t think for a moment that any of them give a flying fuck about you. They’re there for the money.. we’re there for the music. It has always been that way and it will always be that way. The sooner a young lady gets to know that, the sooner she can be REALLY in control.
You also said in Rolling Stone that your look is based on mine. The look I chose, I chose on purpose at a time when my record company were encouraging me to do what you have done. I felt I would rather be judged on my talent and not my looks. I am happy that I made that choice, not least because I do not find myself on the proverbial rag heap now that I am almost 47 yrs of age.. which unfortunately many female artists who have based their image around their sexuality, end up on when they reach middle age.
Real empowerment of yourself as a woman would be to in future refuse to exploit your body or your sexuality in order for men to make money from you. I needn’t even ask the question.. I’ve been in the business long enough to know that men are making more money than you are from you getting naked. Its really not at all cool. And its sending dangerous signals to other young women. Please in future say no when you are asked to prostitute yourself. Your body is for you and your boyfriend. It isn’t for every spunk-spewing dirtbag on the net, or every greedy record company executive to buy his mistresses diamonds with.
As for the shedding of the Hannah Montana image.. whoever is telling you getting naked is the way to do that does absolutely NOT respect your talent, or you as a young lady. Your records are good enough for you not to need any shedding of Hannah Montana. She’s waaaaaaay gone by now.. Not because you got naked but because you make great records.
Whether we like it or not, us females in the industry are role models and as such we have to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women. The message you keep sending is that its somehow cool to be prostituted.. its so not cool Miley.. its dangerous. Women are to be valued for so much more than their sexuality. we aren’t merely objects of desire. I would be encouraging you to send healthier messages to your peers.. that they and you are worth more than what is currently going on in your career. Kindly fire any motherfucker who hasn’t expressed alarm, because they don’t care about you.