American Music Awards: 5 Towering (and Toppling) Performances


The American Music Awards have always been the blandest of big-big award shows, but they manage to hash out a few embeddable memories. I mean, look, Rick James is chicken-dancing in place. At last night's 37th annual AMAs, the ceremony -- bizarrely -- did not disappoint, from Michael Jackson and Taylor Swift's award sweeps to Jennifer Lopez's L.A.-unaired choreography mishap. Movieline investigates the show's top five vaudevillian spectacles after the jump.

Janet Jackson stole from the rich and gave to a community theater's costume department with her Robin Hood-inspired performance of mostly old hits, but real glamor was not achieved. Why, you ask? There was not a key earring in sight.

No surprise, Lady Gaga unsheathed the most ferocious performance of the night with her medley of "Bad Romance" and "Speechless." Even skeptics admitted she elevated the believability of sparkle-aided nude bodysuits. Historically, she fulfilled the legacy initiated by a Mottola-liberated Mariah Carey and furthered by a totally enslaved (literally, there's a cage-like mechanism) Britney Spears.

Jennifer Lopez's seven-year career in comebacks took another hit when she "buttfell" (quoth Twitter's cultural observers) during the performance of her new single "Louboutins." Louboutins? Isn't this a direct violation of her love-don't-cost-a-thing mandate of 2000? This performance is correctly billed as "Jennifer Lopez feat. karma."

Whitney Houston eschewed seismic high notes last night (those were left to the night's last performer; see below) during her otherwise emotional performance of "I Didn't Know My Own Strength." The only way it could've been more of a triumph is if she ripped off her skin and revealed a smiling, healthy Dick Clark. It wasn't out of the question.

Adam Lambert did his Butch Patrick by way of Jo Anne Worley thing last night with a LAH-AH-OUD version of his new single "For Your Entertainment." During a moment when the choreography lulled and the jailhouse stopped rocking, Adam stole a smooch with a male dancer. Also, eight seconds of footage went missing from the L.A. feed featuring 1) a slight tumble, 2) mimed oral sex with a dude, and 3) an audience flip-off. Pearls clutched and thrown right to Satan, indeed. Click to 3:25 for the smutty LGBT equality.

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