Heya folks, tonight’s the American Music Awards (one step below The Grammys and two steps above the People’s Choice Awards) and we’re here to liveblog the whole thee-hour shebang! Now that Mad Men‘s wrapped up for the season, you’ve got no excuse not to tune in to see every last pop star try to outshine one another—with their performances, their outfits, or by just being an a-hole on-air. (Somebody’s gotta play the villain role in Kanye’s absence.) After the epic VMAs back in September, the AMAs have a lot to live up to in terms of incessantly-talked-about watercooler moments: if one drunken throw-down doesn’t take place, if Jennifer Lopez doesn’t stumble to the ground while prancing around in her Loubies, or if Lady Gaga refrains from terrifying us with a pantsless performance peppered with bodily fluids, we’re calling it a snoozefest. Onto the awards!
7:45 p.m. Pre-show! And it’s off to a predictable start—Perez Hilton is doing his typical media-whoring, Twilight no-names are given more attention than they deserve had they not been in that franchise, and Kelly Clarkson is wearing something unflattering for her body type.
7:46 p.m. This ABC dude on the red carpet=worst interviewer of all time?
7:50 p.m. Question: Do we actually care what musicians are listening to on their iPod? Especially when they just rattle off bands and artists without elaborating why they like them?
7:51 p.m. Signs you’re already too famous: Adam Lambert sprinting the carpet and bypassing almost all press. (Hey, at least he made enough time to talk to moi [picture a giant smirk on my face right now.])
7:54 p.m. Could Taylor Swift rip-offs instead of Lady Gaga rip-offs be the fashion trend of the night? Selena Gomez is wearing Swift-esque silver sparkles as is Kelly Clarkson, while I don’t see anyone wearing a piece of red fabric wrapped around their face or a mane made out of swan feathers.
8:00 p.m. The opening beats to “What Have You Done For Me Lately” is already getting me kind of excited about this Janet Jackson medley.
8:01 p.m. Girl is killing it, too bad she’s dressed like what Pocahontas would look like if she was a feminist who refused to wear anything but pants.
8:02 p.m. Hey, Australia, Janet Jackson appears to be not singing completely live, ya gonna hate on her, too? Australia? You listening? Oh, wait, I forgot, this is the American Music Awards, where our artists can feel free to fake sing while wearing a headset as much as their heart desires. Continue, Ms. Jackson!
8:06 p.m. Okay, I’m throwing it out there – would all these awards shows currently care about Janet Jackson as much if not for her brother’s death? Yes, she’s still a phenomenal performer, but we all know anything MJ-related since his passing gets massive amounts of attention. Discuss.
8:08 p.m. Paula Abdul is the worst ventriloquist in the world. Oh wait, no, her mic wasn’t on. Also, her dress melted into the floor.
8:10 p.m. And the Backslashy Award (Best Pop/Rock—Band/Duo/Group) goes to the Black Eyed Peas. Fergie is also wearing a glittery silver dress. Swift, you trendsetter!
8:15 p.m. A sliver of presenter Kristen Bell’s stomach is showing. I’m enraptured by it. Oh and Best Country Band/Duo/Group goes to Rascal Flatts. Back to Bell’s stomach. Did she run out of fabric? Or was too shy to just go full-midriff? So confused.
8:17 p.m. Pete Wentz, presenting Daughtry’s performance, looks like he could, and probably will, beat somebody up in an alley. It’s a look that certainly suits him better than those 7,000 hoodies he’s so fond of wearing. I will plead the fifth on the facial hair.
8:19 p.m. Ah. Daughtry. This oughtta wake up the crowd.
8:21 p.m. And straight into a Shakira performance! It kind of sounds like “Hollaback Girl” version of “Give It Up To Me” with the claps and acappella sing-a-long with her backup dancers. And Shakira looks like she ran over a disco ball with a steamroller and wrapped it as tight as possible around her abdomen.
8:30 p.m. Sofia Vergara from Modern Family is having a freaking ball onstage! I wish I was that full of joy on a daily basis for no reason whatsoever.
8:31 p.m. This Keith Urban performance isn’t helping. What, no cutaway shots of Nicole Kidman in the audience?
8:33 p.m. Reba McEntire, introducing Kelly Clarkson, is pretty awesome all around. Although I do wish she would have somehow made a cameo in this skit.
8:39 p.m. Thank god Kelly switched into something more formal for her performance. Kelly needs to stop bitching about “Already Gone” sounding like Beyonce’s “Halo,” because the way she looks singing this song right now, along with how she looks in the song’s video, is the best she’s looked in foreeeever. By the way, why isn’t this show on Fox? It’s comandeered by Idol alumni.
8:4o p.m. Joe Perry and Snoop Dogg introduce Pop/Rock – Female Artist. Who else wants Snoop Dogg to be Aerosmith’s lead singer?
8:45 p.m. Not only is Taylor Swift winning fashion trend of the night (while not even at the awards!), but she won over Lady Gaga and Beyonce. Warranted win, or just another example of the backlash against Kanye? My guess: Lady Gaga and Beyonce split the diva vote.
8:46 p.m. Jay-Z in a white suit to rival Frank Sinatra and Alicia Keys at a matching grand piano overwhelm the amount of awesome I can take in one performance. Holy crap.
8:50 p.m. The classy elegance of “Empire State of Mind” (yes, even with two seconds of swear-censoring silence) is almost making me forget A-Rod just showed up and smirked himself to death.
8: 54 p.m. With presenting at the AMAs and his appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Christian Slater is seriously trying to get us to remember that he’s still alive. Is it working for you?
8:56 p.m. Green Day wins Best Rock Group. These three men have not aged a day in their lives. Do they serve water from the fountain of youth at dive bars in the Bay Area? Anyways, Billie Joe Armstrong looks like he needs a tie or an ascot. The bare neck thing isn’t working for me. But otherwise, Green Day deserve every award they get and probably all the awards they don’t get, either.
9 p.m. First hour is over! Two more to go! Good thing I bought a Costco-sized package of kettle corn and an obnoxiously huge bottle of red wine. I’m good to go.
9:01 p.m. Kate Hudson and Nicole Kidman introduce the Black Eyed Peas, since they’re co-starring in Nine with Fergie. Kate is a slight breeze away from a nip slip in her Swift-esque silver dress and Nicole Kidman looks like part of her dress got ripped off by a stray nail on the wall.
9:06 p.m. Unpopular admission of the evening: I think the Black Eyed Peas get a bad rap. Sure they slap their name on any product that could possibly fit their four faces on the label, but their music is definitely danceable. And they have robot backup dancers, people! It’s so ridiculous, plus Fergie can belt.
9:07 p.m. Wait, are they sampling Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”? I don’t know how I feel about this. Peas, you are not helping me defend you to the masses.
9:08 p.m. Move over Scarlett Johannson—Orianthi from Michael Jackson’s This Is It is my new girl crush. Not while wearing that top hat, but after seeing her rock it out in the MJ movie. Are there any hotter women alive on the planet that can shred a guitar like that?
9:10 p.m. Michael Jackson wins his 22nd American Music Award for Soul/R&B—Male (but not his last, I’m assuming). Jermaine brings out his kids. Oh god, enough of the Jackson kid-pimping. At least it’s not Michael’s kids this time.
9:13 p.m. The Zac Brown Band (wha?) presents Favorite Country Male Artist. They look like they got lost in the woods for a few weeks and their first visit upon return to civilization was shopping at an American Eagle.
9:15 p.m. Keith Urban wins his first AMA. Is that a chest tattoo I see on his bare chest sneaking out of his unbuttoned shirt? Ooh, how risque! I hope it circles all the way around his body.
9:17 p.m. Kris Allen is the same height as Demi Lovato despite being seven years older than her. He’s so pint-sized!
9:18 p.m. Excuse me, no Beyonce? What the ef, AMAs? I don’t get to see the one-zillionth rendition of “Single Ladies” performed on an awards show? So not cool.
9:20 p.m. Why hello there, Ne-Yo in a snazzy suit, fedora, and hipster glasses. Are you in People’s Sexiest issue? Because you should be.
9:22 p.m. The video before Rihanna’s performance is freaking me the hell out [pulls blankets closer for protection].
9:23 p.m. RiRi is dressed like a windmill dressed as Milla Jovovich from The Fifth Element for Halloween. And what’s written down her neck/chest? Please, god, don’t tell me that’s a tattoo. We all know how fond she is of getting horrible tats.
9:25 p.m. Oh my god her stage outfit it MADE OF LASER BEAMS! Was not expecting that. Where are my glowsticks?
9:27 p.m. Epic work, Rihanna. Now is Chris Brown performing on another network with his own robot-themed performance tonight?
9:29 p.m. Carrie Underwood’s legs are giving a fantastic performance of “Cowboy Casanova.”
9:32 p.m. LADY GAGA! Here it is, folks. Grab each other’s hands, folks, the Gaga space train is going to plaid.
9:34 p.m. Gaga is wearing a nude body suit adorned with a rib cage of tinsel. My question is why didn’t she just go naked?
9:35 p.m. The choreography for “Bad Romance” looks like they studied Bob Fosse and seizure victims.
9:37 p.m. And she totally just smashed open a Plexiglas case holding a piano and now the piano is on fire. Mmm, obvious metaphors.
9: 38 p.m. Wait a minute, is that piano seriously on fire? This woman is like Houdini, she’s gonna die for her art.
9:39 p.m. The appearance of Perez Hilton peroxided pompadour just ruined my Gaga high.
9:41 p.m. Mary J. Blige has a pompadour, too, and so did Rihanna. So, basically, according to the trends of tonight’s AMAs, I should dress in a sparkly silver dress with my hair piled high on top of my head and hand out awards to Michael Jackson at all of my upcoming holiday parties.
9:47 p.m. Some country group I’ve never heard of beat Lady Gaga for Breakthrough Artist. What, “Middle America” isn’t digging Gaga’s performance art? Surprise of the century.
9:48 p.m. “Can we get a show of hands for everyone who just said, ‘Who the hell is Gloriana?’”—dude from Gloriana. Okay, at least I know I’m not crazy, they’re aware they’re not well-known in any U.S. state that touches water.
9:53 p.m. Jennifer Lopez is stealing Madonna’s boxer motif from Hardy Candy for “Louboutins”. Question: Why the question mark on “Love?”, J-Lo? But damn, she’s a good dancer. Smart move not wearing actual Loubie stilettos, no?
9:55 p.m. Well, HEY THERE SLOW-MO! Where’d you come from? Could it be that the slow-mo effect (which I’m only assuming was seen on the west coast feed) was not an artistic choice, but was added to cover up J-Lo’s fumble?
9: 56 p.m. Which blogger has two thumbs and so called J-Lo falling down tonight in her intro of this post? [Points to self.] This blogger.
10 p.m. And Whitney Houston’s bringing us into hour three. Should I have high expectations or zero? All I want it for her to look good, I don’t expect her to sound as good as she used to. I’m a realist.
10:02 p.m. Well, she sorta looks like she’s wearing an early draft version of Rihanna’s outfit. But the whole thing is elegant, and despite what she sounds like (a little shouty and off-key, since you’re asking), this moment is more about her making a powerful return to performing than anything else. And she still knows how to command a stage. Welcome back, Whit! You deserve that standing O!
10:12 p.m. Favorite Country Artist goes to Taylor Swift. And the grass continues to be green.
10:13 p.m. Can anyone wear black and white stripes without somehow being compared to Beetlejuice? Melissa Etheridge can’t.
10:15 p.m. Pop/Rock Male goes to Michael Jackson. And the sky continues to be blue. At least Jermaine gave his kids a break from the stage, ya know, child labor laws and all.
10:16 p.m. Okay, even I don’t have a heart made of oil. These MJ tributes tonight have managed to squeeze out a few more pouts from me, if not actual tears.
10:19 p.m. Alicia Keys is performing on a fake rooftop set that makes me think J-Lo and the Fly Girls from In Living Color are about to come running out and break dance.
10:21 p.m. Real breakthrough star of the night: pianos. Alica Keys is flying on one, she played a sweet white one earlier during “Empire State of Mind,” and Gaga burned hers down. This is your time to shine, 88 Keys!
10:25 p.m. Seth Green’s joke fell flat and he is desperately trying to dig his way back to the surface. Didn’t work.
10:28 p.m. Eminem performs “Crack a Bottle” from Relapse and Drake’s “Forever” , the winner of the most (and the longest) swear-censor pauses on tonight’s show. Really, really dark, but Em is truly likeable when he’s not making extremely dated pop-culture references in his music videos.
10:30 p.m. Nelly Furtado (during Timbaland’s “Morning After Dark”) sounds like she has a cold, or is possibly the nasal secretary Janice from Ghostbusters. SoShy on the other hand, is killing it.
10:31 p.m. Oh shizz, incredibly brief “Thriller” tribute! Did I just see Eric from True Blood flashed on the screen? Or am I just projecting?
10:35 p.m. Kate Hudson is singing in a trailer for Nine. She is not convincing me to see it for her instead of the ten zillion better actresses in the movie.
10:37 p.m. Okay, Green Day performs the slightly boring “21 Guns”. Question: Is the guyliner thing over? Is it okay if Green Day still dabbles in man makeup? I can’t picture Billie Joe Armstrong without it.
10:41 p.m. The amount of people nodding their heads indifferently in the audience is hilarious. Too bad Billie cracked on one of his final notes. Not the best way to peace out of a song.
10:47 p.m. Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop goes to Jay-Z. He still looks sleek as hell, although I miss the white suit.
10:52 p.m. Artist of the Year is between Eminem, Michael Jackson, Kings of Leon, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift. Are you guessing Michael Jackson? Well…
10:53 p.m. You were WRONG! Taylor Swift won! Yes, Squinty McGee (a nickname I use affectionately) beat out Michael Jackson for an award. The world just tipped on its axis into a black hole.
10:55 p.m. And that black hole is filled to the brim with glitter, because Adam Lambert just took the stage.
10:57 p.m. I think I just walked into a cabaret… orbiting Mars. One half of Adam’s suit is sporting tiny stalagmite-like spikes – apparently musicians are very protective of their upper bodies since everybody on the damn show is wearing shoulder or clavicle spikes. But all in all, Adam is working that stage like he was raised by a pack of pixie wolves on it.
11:00 p.m. Oh my god, we made it to the end! To recap, Michael Jackson won four awards while Taylor Swift won five, which means she is now knighted the new King of Pop. All hail Her Majesty, Squinty McGee.
Thanks for traveling along this three-hour virtual road with me, folks. Now excuse me as I attach dangerous spikes to every blazer I own.
COMPLETE LIST OF WINNERS
ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Male Artist: Michael Jackson
Female Artist: Taylor Swift
Band, Duo or Group: Black Eyed Peas
Album: Number Ones, Michael Jackson
Male Artist: Michael Jackson
Female Artist: Beyoncé
Band, Duo or Group: Black Eyed Peas
Album: Number Ones, Michael Jackson
Male Artist: Jay-Z
Album: Blueprint 3, Jay-Z
Male Artist: Keith Urban
Female Artist: Taylor Swift
Band, Duo or Group: Rascal Flatts
Album: Fearless, Taylor Swift
Artist: Taylor Swift
Artist: Green Day
Artist: Mary Mary
T-MOBILE BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST
INTERNATIONAL ARTIST OF THE YEAR
LADY GAGA OUTFITS
Sadly, only two.