2012 American Music Awards: The Good, The Bad & The Meh

Typically, I don’t write a recap of the American Music Awards, but I have to give credit where credit is due… this year’s AMAs wasn’t a complete snoozefest. In fact, there were a couple of performances that were fantastic including Kelly Clarkson’s medley of her greatest hits and P!nk’s beyond impressive performance of “Try“. I never thought she’d top her hanging from the rafters acrobatic performance from the MTV VMAs a few years ago, but she did. For those young artists who can’t move around the stage without losing their breath, take a look at P!nk. Breath control to die for.

Justin Bieber walked away with the most trophies with three, while everyone musically-connected to him also scored hardware. His “Beauty and the Beat” duet partner, Nicki Minaj won two, while his mentor Usher also earned another AMA award. Even his “discovery” Carly Rae Jepsen took a trip to the podium. The Canadian singer won Best New Artist.

While all the youngsters earned wins, some oldies popped up on the show as well. Gloria Estefan, Cyndi Lauper, Stevie Wonder end even MC Hammer were there. I swear, when the “U Can’t Touch This” rapper popped up during Psy’s “Gangnam Style” performance, I literally lost my shizz. That was effin’ epic. All this time I thought “Gangnam Style” was the new “Macarena”. Instead, Psy is the Korean version of MC Hammer. Sh*tcatcher pants and all. Check out all the performances below, along with my thoughts on each one. Better hurry quick, before ABC inevitably asks YouTube to take the clips down.

Usher — “Numb/Climax/Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”

Meh: No questions about it, I love Usher. It pains me to put ‘meh’, but I wasn’t floored by his performance. Given that he was opening the show, I was expecting more. The running special effects in the middle were kinda cool, but that was about it.

Carly Rae Jepsen — “This Kiss/Call Me Maybe”

Good: For singing something other than “Call Me Maybe”. If I see that song performed one more time at an awards show, I’m going to scream.

Bad: SCREAMMMMMMMM. For singing “Call Me Maybe” and those pastel UK phone booths.

The Wanted — “I Found You”

Good: Surprisingly, the guys weren’t bad live. If only they let the hot one, aka Max George, sing all the vocals, they’d be even bigger.

Kelly Clarkson — “Miss Independent/Since U Been Gone/Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)/Catch My Breath”

Good: She had me at “Miss Independent”. I never thought I’d see Kelly perform that ever again on television. Why she was only given four and a half minutes while others had six was a shame. The whole show could’ve been filled with Kelly hits and I wouldn’t have complained for a second.

Ke$ha — “Die Young”

Good: I’m probably going to get flack for this but I kinda liked it. The more I hear “Die Young”, the more I love it. Who doesn’t love hot ripped shirtless backup dancers bumping and grinding all over the place? Loved, loved, loved the tribal dancing portion. Like the side pony, but not the outfit. Looked like a Britney Spears reject from one of her tours.

No Doubt — “Looking Hot”

Meh: If you just looked just at Gwen Stefani, who was “Looking Hot” BTW, it’s hard to believe they’ve been around since the 90s. She looked fantastic. For all you hardcore No Doubt fans who think my ‘meh’ rating is harsh, check out the tepid applause at the end of the performance. Yup, they weren’t McKayla Maroney impressed either.

Taylor Swift — “I Knew You Were Trouble”

Good: Solely on the fact Taylor ventured out of her comfort zone. I kinda like the vampier bordello Swift. One of her best stage productions.

Nicki Minaj — “Freedom”

Bad: Shame on you Nicki for not performing “Pound The Alarm”- my favorite track of the summer. While she stunned on the red carpet in a green gown, she looked like the female version of the Ghostbusters Marshmallow Man on stage.

Linkin Park — “Burn It Down”

Meh: No idea they had a new album. I was a huge Linkin Park fan years ago. Operative words ‘years ago’. Bathroom break time.

P!nk — “Try”

GREAT: Hands down the best of the night and not just because of that sexy Colt Prattes dancing with her. Pink is a BEAST. Her breath control is amazing. To do a contemporary dance plus sing on pitch and with power is truly remarkable in this day and age of auto-tune.

Justin Bieber — “As Long As You Love Me/Beauty and a Beat”

Good: The front half was pretty solid.

Bad: Hire a new stylist. Personally, I don’t wear tank tops because I don’t feel like I fill them out. Justin should follow the same train of thought. That tank was not flattering. When he begins to weigh more than Nicki Minaj’s wigs, then pull out the tanks.

Christina Aguilera — “Lotus Intro/Army of Me/Let There Be Love”

Meh: Let me preface this by saying that I’m not a Christina hater. In fact, I love me my X-Tina and was Team Aguilera back in the day. My problem with her performance was she didn’t showcase her best asset.. her voice. Why not start things off with one of the stronger ballads on Lotus instead of a cheesy album intro. Plus, was it me or didn’t the circus theme feel all Britney Spears circa 2008? Also, didn’t the whole thing seem like the GAYEST performance ever. Drag queens, hot guys in pink speedos, guys twirling fans and hoops. You name it, it was there.

Pitbull — “Don’t Stop the Party/Feel This Moment”

Good: For the sole fact that Scandal’s Kerry Washington was dancing her little heart out in the audience. That put a smile on my face. I could’ve done without the five second wailing from Christina Aguilera at the end of the performance though.

Carrie Underwood — “Two Black Cadillacs”

Meh: Excuse the pun, but I wasn’t “Blown Away” by Carrie’s performance. It’s probably my indifference to the track as to why I feel that way. Side note. Why Carrie Underwood loses to Taylor Swift in any category is a travesty. At least she walked away with the Best Country Album honors after losing out Favorite Country Female Artist to T. Swizzle.

Swizz Beatz, Chris Brown & Ludacris — “Everyday Birthday”

Meh: I’m not going to lie, I fast-forwarded through the entire performance. Sorry, Luda.

PSY & MC Hammer — “Gangnam Style”

Good: Seriously!!! MC Hammer’s “2 Legit 2 Quit” mashed up with Psy’s global hit was the perfect (like PERFECT) way to end the evening. From the matching sh*tcatcher pants to signature silly moves, these two are brothers from a different mother. Elisha Cuthbert, Jenny McCarthy and Kerry Washington (again) were just a few in the audience busting out the invisible horse dance during the finale.

2012 AMAs: Who Were The Best Performers?

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  • JMC

    Xtina: What circus references are you referring to? The only thing I can imagine is you can recognise she’s wearing a The Blonds corset similar to some of those worn by Britney during the Circus album cover. Agreed meh performance. It’s a shame but it was very disorganised and messy. New choreographer/director.

    No Doubt: Poor Gwen and the gang, they’re promoting the hell out of Looking Hot all over the globe but it’s never gonna stick.

    Pink: She’s probably the best live solo act in music right now. Despite all the acrobatics her vocals are always strong.

  • Rob

    The styling in Xtine was soooo bad
    she looked awful!

  • Raph

    I agree with pretty much everything you said… Pink had by far the best performance, while Taylor had the prettiest one and ke$ha the most surprising one, all of them with crazy choreography. What we can all agree on is that Nicki Minaj’s performance was pretty awful….

  • Chynna

    I don’t get why everything has to be about Britney. What’s so similar about Britney when Britney can barely grasp that image? Let Christina have her moment, please.

  • Lukas A. James

    I pretty much agree solidly with this entire review…I do notice however whenever Christina is mentioned there seems to be the most feedback and opinions…I find that very interesting…just saying 🙂

  • Oliver

    P!nk did the best performance.

  • doug

    umm there was NOTHING britney-like about xtina’s performance. The only performance you can compare it to was the 2007 Vmas lol. Xtina’s performance was the hottest mess Ive ever seen! She was all over the place both vocally and in every other way. It was really really bad. Also Kesha’s performance was pretty bad as well. She is just not a performer.

  • doug

    oh and taylor swift blew my mind!

  • Robbie

    The overall show was just ok.. Pink yes.. great.. but that performance didn’t suit a live audience.. Christina loved the message of acceptance and “let there be love” but too elaborate of a show to pull off in that setting. Gotta give the girl a break though..she’s working a ton with the Voice show so not likely time to prepare much..she is a single mother too.. Lotus is pretty sweet album though..hopefully people will give her a chance..

  • I totally agree Dono! If she had done a nice intimate performance of Sing For Me, Blank Page, or Just a Fool it would have been a lot more better. Her voice doesn’t need a complicated show to highlight it. Take a hint from Adele.

  • I think P!nk nailed it. What a pro. Dono I agree that the moment I heard the opening chord of “Miss Independent”, I. DIED. Loved the reference to Idol as well in it. “Catch My Breath” was also amazing live. It’s a great track. I thought the Wanted really proved themselves as great vocalists with Nathan Sykes carrying off that wicked rock/pop bridge in the middle. Also, Taylor Swift and Ke$ha blew me away with their dance heavy performances. Overall, a huge step up from last years disappointing show.

  • justin

    justin bieber needs to go away hes mediocre at best. thinks his shit dont stink and his zoolander face needs to be punched. come back when you can actually sing and dance for right now if he tried out for american idol or the voice he would not go through to the live shows and his dance moves are usher’s moves circa 2000.

  • Ryan

    …Aguilera has lost her effing mind…

  • Ryan

    Kelly’s performance was stellar. =) She was brilliant for distancing herself from Idol early on, making references like the opening that much more special.

  • Doy

    Christina went the whole circus route with Back to Basic way before Britney released Circus.

  • CT

    Loved that they cut to a shot of Hayden Panettiere (Nashville) after Taylor Swifts performance, lol

  • Matt

    “Tepid” applause at the end of No Doubt’s performance? What are you smoking? They were awesome.

  • Twaz

    This review is stupid. I do agree that P!nk was the best of the night.
    Xtina was great though. Is there anything wrong with having the gayest performance?

    Christina sounded amazing at the end of the Pitbull performance, I wanted more.

    Did you know Aguilera wrote Clarkson’s, “Miss Independent”?

  • lgb

    Pink was perfect, she usually is

    MC Hammer and Psy felt almost like a joke… the has been and the soon to be has been

  • xtina

    christina looks like Snooki!!!!! just sayin’ post pregnancy! LOL