It’s a daunting task to choose between a teen heartthrob, a perky pop starlet, a grime-loving newcomer, a bizarrely dressed monster and a redeemed rap star as the year’s best, but tonight’s 2010 American Music Awards aims to do just that. Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and Eminem are all up for Artist of the Year, though we’re sure all five nominees are worthy of the honor in their own way. (Gaga certainly deserves to win Sandwich Artist of the Year with her brilliant Miracle Whip-spreading skills in the “Telephone” video.)
But which act is taking home the pointy trophy? Let’s find out together as we comment on the three-hour long mish-mosh of musical performances that is the 2010 AMAs. Liveblog begins below!
7:50 p.m. American Idol Season 8′s Danny Gokey is doing pre-show interviews! I’d know those glasses anywhere. Looks like Broadway isn’t the only place former Idols go to fade into obscurity.
7:51 p.m. So, let’s get this straight — no Adam Lambert at the AMAs this year, but Gokey gets time on the carpet?
7:55 p.m. I’m kind of upset that Saturday Night Live‘s Vanessa Bayer isn’t doing pre-show commentary on the red carpet as Miley Cyrus. Last night’s skit was stellar.
8 p.m. Hanging from a tree in an ice forest, a totally permed Rihanna opens the show singing “Love The Way You Lie” in between flat notes. (Could she not hear herself? We’ve seen RiRi perform live in concert and she sounded great, so we’re not sure what the problem is here.)
8:04 p.m. Rihanna’s doing much better when she transitions into “What’s My Name” and “Only Girl (In The World).” As far as openings go, this one is pretty tame and anticlimactic. Maybe if Em had joined her for “Love The Way You Lie” or Drake on “What’s My Name”, we’d be a bit more excited for the show to kick off.
8:09 p.m. Heidi Klum is presenting the award for Favorite Soul/R&B Album. She’s married to Seal. And that’s how she is related to music, in case you were wondering.
8:10 p.m. The AMA goes to Osher! Er, Heidi, we think you mean Usher. Anyhoo, “Osher” thanks a bunch of people we don’t know. We want him to thank Justin Bieber just so we can hear a bunch of teenage girls scream in a pitch meant only for dogs.
8:15 p.m. John Legend presents with Jenny McCarthy. Jenny McCarthy is related to music by… I have no idea. Guess she just has something to promote and she was in the neighborhood.
8:16 p.m. The Black Eyed Peas win Favorite Pop/Rock Group. Will.i.am is accepting the award with a lego hat and a rubber suit. Sounds about right!
8:20 p.m. Manny from Modern Family introduces Enrique Iglesias! We wish our favorite child actor of the year would accompany Enrique to our Song of the Summer, “I Like It”, instead of Pitbull.
8:23 p.m. Now Miley, who it appears has just discovered Stevie Nicks, is performing the melodramatic “Forgiveness and Love” instead of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” Her voice is shaking — is she nervous? Just feeling the power of the song in lieu of recent events? Or is this just how she sounds when she isn’t leaning on a stripper pole for support?
8:30 p.m. Diddy-Dirty Money perform “I’m Coming Home“, which samples a J.Cole track. I actually really enjoy this song, although I think Diddy was more relevant as an actor this year. Also: there’s no Ciroc vodka on the stage, nor is Diddy dressed in a man-sized Ciroc Vodka costume with a giant neon arrow pointing at him. You’re slipping, Dids!
8:36 p.m. Taylor Swift, with her hair straightened stick straight, makes another “shocked” face as she wins Best Country Artist – Female. She looks great, like she just spent the whole weekend “playing Scrabble” with Jake Gyllenhaal.
8:40 p.m. When did Kid Rock get this country? Oh wait, we don’t know the last time Kid Rock did anything. No wonder we missed it.
8:47 p.m. Shakira wins Favorite Latin Music artist. No time to dwell on that, though! Time for the Black Eyed Peas to get a song jammed into your brain for the next week!
8:49 p.m. Are the acoustics at the Nokia Theater absolutely terrible? No one is sounding all that impressive tonight — not Rihanna, not Miley, not even Fergie, who can usually deliver a phenomenal performance while doing handstands. Speaking of Fergie, her boobs look more uncomfortably jammed into her dress than “Time Of My Life” is awkwardly crammed into “The Time (The Dirty Bit)“.
8:58 p.m. A choir made up of little boys is singing “Firework”, asking us if we’ve ever felt “like a plastic bag”. Uh. Still, it’s less wince-inducing than Katy attempting to sing this song live yet again. Where are the Glee dudes to save this with an a cappella performance of “Teenage Dream”?
9 p.m. This is the longest dress we’ve ever seen on Katy…. no, wait, it’s a catsuit. It looks like she’s wearing the bottom half of Britney’s “Oops… I Did It Again” 0utfit.
9:02 p.m. No lie, I thought Nicki Minaj was Lady Gaga when she first walked out to present Favorite Soul/R&B Artist – Female. It was the fuzzy gold ribcage and crazy blonde wig that did it. Speaking of — Gagaloo, where you at? We miss your giant headgear making it impossible for the person seated behind you to enjoy the show.
9:05 p.m. Nicki’s “Raining Men” collaborator Rihanna wins Favorite Soul/R&B Artist – Female. Besides the fact she’s much more a pop artist than soul and R&B. Whatev, AMAs. You also nominated Eminem twice for Album of the Year for both Rock/Pop and Rap/Hip-Hop. You clearly aren’t sure how to categorize people accurately.
9:06 p.m. WILLOW SMITH! That is all. Can she host next year? Yes, I know this show doesn’t have a host. It should, though, and her co-host should be her undeniable sass.
9:07 p.m. Justin Bieber, playing piano and rocking an outfit from the Justin Timberlake Juniors line, performs his new song “Pray“, a non-acoustic song off his acoustic album. Or is this a little boy who wandered away from Katy Perry’s backup choir?
9:15 p.m. Brad Paisley wins Favorite Country Artist – Male, followed by Bon Jovi performing something we’ve never posted about on this site. Aka, it’s time to make some popcorn and start worrying about how gaunt Taylor Swift looks in her red carpet photos.
9:20 p.m. Mmm, ketel corn microwaved in time for us to catch Bon Jovi performing “You Give Love A Bad Time” and “It’s My Life” (at what sounds like a slightly slower tempo than the studio version) because hey, why not. Are they up for some Life Achievement thingamajig we aren’t aware of?
9:30 p.m. If there was ever an award Justin Bieber was definitely winning, it was the one that is voted for by fans, the T-Mobile Breakthrough Artist. No lie, the kid is talented and deserves it. Plus, he’s adorably speechless. Aw. Heart = melted.
9:31 p.m. Kelly Osbourne looks great. Besides the fact she has The Rachel Cut a few years off trend.
9:32 p.m. Pink performs “Raise Your Glass“, probably on doctor’s orders not to hang upside down from the cieling now that she’s pregnant. Even while performing with both feet firmly on the ground like a normal pop singer, she still impresses us by being the only person who sounds on-pitch tonight. Way to show-up everyone yet again, Pink!
9:35 p.m. Dan Finnerty from The Dan Band appears, hanging from the air by silks, to shout “I [censored] love glitter!”, somewhat recreating his recreation of Pink’s high-flying Grammys performance. Nice cameo!
9:42 p.m. Ne-Yo performs a medley of his songs while cinematic clips, starring Ne-Yo, play above him. We feel like we’re watching a mini Ne-Yo spectacular at Universal Studios.
9:46 p.m. Taylor Swift and her piano descend to the stage into another acre of Rihanna’s ice forest as she sings her Speak Now track “Back To December”. She looks stunning. As for her vocals… Imma let Taylor finish.
9:48 p.m. Do you think Jake Gyllenhaal made Taylor sign a confidentiality agreement that she’s not allowed to write a song about him on her next album?
9:49 p.m. Swift has mashed-up OneRepublic’s “Apologize” into her “Back To December” performance. This sounds like bad karaoke, except I’m not drunk enough to enjoy it.
9:50 p.m. Justin Bieber beats out Eminem and his mentor “Osher” for Favorite Male Artist, Pop/Rock. We’re surprised he’s not tweeting while accepting his award.
10:01 p.m. Oh, guuuurl. Christina Aguilera performs a very Cabaret-esque performance of “Express” from Burlesque (out this week, you trash fiends!). We’ll take it easy on Xtina because she’s going through a tough time, but honestly, her outfit reminded us a little too much of Britney Spears’ disastrous ensemble when she sleepwalked through her infamous VMA performance in 2007 — but with slightly more fabric. Aguilera sounded great like usual, but anything that reminds us of that meltdown of a moment in pop culture probably wasn’t what Christina wanted out of her performance.
10:05 p.m. Lady Antebellum win Favorite Country Group despite the fact their hit single “Need You Now” sounds a bit too much like “Eye In The Sky” by the Alan Parsons Project. Have you noticed? Discuss.
10:10 p.m. Usher’s performance of “DJ Got Us Fallin In Love”: 90% dancing, 10% singing live. Still, pretty entertaining.
10:15 p.m. Muse win their first AMA for Favorite Alternative Rock Group. We’re assuming Matt Bellamy didn’t bring his girlfriend Kate Hudson as the cameras didn’t cut back to the audience to show her glowing.
10:16 p.m. Just when we finally thought we got away from it after months of nonstop airplay, Train performs the song many people want banned from their TV sets, their ubiquitous hit, “Hey Soul Sister”.
10:25 p.m. “God, I love winning things!” declares Michael Buble as he accepts the award for Favorite Contemporary Artist. Now’s as good a time as any to repost this in honor of Mr. Buble:
10:26 p.m. Ke$ha sounds incredible — mostly because her voice is 50% robot. Fitting, since she resembles The Iron Giant in those glasses:
10:36 p.m. Santana performs “Bang a Gong” with Gavin Rossdale, originally by T.Rex, followed by “Take Me to The River” by the Talking Heads. Gavin has absolutely no stage presence and sounds like a volunteer they picked from the audience. Oh, man. How did he score this gig over every other more relevant and charismatic male recording artist in the world?
10:41 p.m. Congrats to “Osher”! He takes home the Soul/R&B Artist – Male. “I’ve been doing it 18 years, ya’ll!” For those of you doing your math, Ush is 32, which means he’s been performing since he was 14 years old. Although a quick Wikipedia search tells us he was in R&B quintet called NuBeginnings at age 11. And a quick YouTube search brings up… sadly, nothing featuring Usher performing with NuBeginnings. C’mon, Internet, do your job!
10:49 p.m. Favorite Artist of the Year already? Don’t we have like a billion more categories to go?
10:50 p.m. The AMAs have so much Bieber Fever, an ambulance is on its way to bring the AMAs to the hospital. Justin beats our Ke$ha, Katy, Eminem and Gaga to win Artist of the Year. He hugs everybody in his path on his way to the stage, and invites Usher up to the stage. “He’s not only my mentor, he’s my best friend and my big brother. I love you, man.” It’s incredibly sweet. Give into the tears, folks. You’ll feel better appreciating The Biebs’ moment than being overcome with outrage.
10:53 p.m. NKOTBSB time! The biggest boy bands from the 80s and 90s join forces to create the most unanticipated performance medley ever! What a way to close the show. Sadly, no one is miming oral sex this year or dragging their backup dancers by a chain, but hey, can’t win ‘em all.
Well, it’s been a non-wild ride here liveblogging the controversy-free telecast, fellow Idolators! We’re not sure why the show couldn’t squeeze in presentations for Favorite Pop/Rock Album, Favorite Female Artist Pop/Rock, or anything from the Rap/Hip-Hop categories, but that’s a question for another time. (Most likely tomorrow morning, when I will google and find out the answer.) Goodnight, everybody! We’re off to go chug some NyQuil to break our Bieber Fever.
2010 AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS WINNERS
Favorite Soul/R&B Album: Usher, Raymond v. Raymond
Favorite Pop Rock Band/Duo/Group: The Black Eyed Peas
Favorite Country Female Artist: Taylor Swift
Favorite Latin Music Artist: Shakira
Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist: Rihanna
Favorite Country Male Artist: Brad Paisley
Favorite Breakthrough Artist: Justin Bieber
Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist: Justin Bieber
Favorite Country Band/Duo/Group: Lady Antebellum
Favorite Alternative Rock Music Artist: Muse
Favorite Adult Contemporary Music Artist: Michael Bublé
Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist: Usher
Favorite Artist of the Year: Justin Bieber