The American Music Awards

Hey guys! Sorry for the bit of delay! I’ve got some stuff that’s ready to go that I haven’t uploaded yet, but this is also the gravest of occasions: an awards show is poised to happen, looming over the weekend, and here I am sitting on my duff, participating in National Novel Writing Month, and not telling all of you who is going to win.

This is a grave shirking of my duties, and I promise never to leave any of you  darling ducklings in this lurch ever again.

So the American Music Awards are happening this weekend, and I have literally no idea what the criteria are, except, like, people in America have to have heard your music1. But 2 of their artist of the year nominees are Canadian, and one’s Barbadan, so clearly the people aren’t American, just the awards.

And that’s fine.

What matters is that here I am, given the opportunity to rain judgment down upon all ye mortals. As always, all answers are definitive and correct, no matter what happens at the actual ceremony.

Favorite Electronic Dance Music
Yikes. Right out of the gate we have a problem. David Guetta makes me sad to be alive, Skrillex is…not doing anything he hasn’t been doing for over a year now. So that leaves us with Calvin Harris. Unfortunately, Calvin Harris’ recent output has sounded like Calvin Harris ripping off another, more different Calvin Harris.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: 2010’s Calvin Harris via wormhole tunnel, to snatch his award out of the hands of Skrillex, who I guess should at least get to touch it.

Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist
Ah, Jesus bands. I suppose that’s the flipside of the whole thing being run by Disney2. Some YouTubing around reveals that I can only listen to about a minute of each of those bands before getting bored. Jeremy Camp released a Christmas album, though, and while I still don’t think Christmas albums not by bands from Duluth, Minnesota are anything but silly crap, I think if you’re going to dedicate your musical career to Dr. J., you should at least make a Christmas album.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Jeremy “Not Jesse” Camp, because Christmas is important.

Favorite Latin Artist
Pitbull, Shakira and Don Omar. How much do you want to bet that this list hasn’t changed in a few years? I mean, really, American Music Awards. Put some fucking back into it.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: I guess Don Omar, since he’s the one least likely to have also won last year. I mean, I know I could look these things up, but I suspect it wouldn’t change my answer.

Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist
Boy, the American Music Awards do not give a fuck when people actually do stuff, do they? I guess when you’re the cinderella of awards shows, you show up to the ball in whatever pumpkin you can. Speaking of pumpkins: Train is fucking crap. So Adele or Kelly? Kelly or Adele? Adele has already won a ton of awards for being sad about being dumped. Kelly has parlayed having won a reality singing show into a stint helping other people win a reality television show3.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Actually, Adele was never in the race. I love you, Kelly.

Favorite Alternative Artist
Man “alternative” has officially become the least-useful designation possible to give a band, hasn’t it? Jesus.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Gotye

Favorite Soul/R&B Album
Rihanna makes records all the fucking time. Just saying. Anyway, it’s not her, because her albums suck, even if her singles are generally pretty ok. So that leaves us with Ursher.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Frank Ocean, because I’ll be damned if I’m going to give Usher a trophy.

Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist
I have an odd relationship with Mary J. Blige, in that I almost always like her when I hear her songs, and then I immediately forget about her until the next time I hear one of her songs. It’s like I have a Mary J. Blige-shaped hole in my awareness. Anyway. It’s still not Rihanna.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Beyonce, because Blue Ivy was her best release yet!

Ok, that was a terrible joke, but you see what I have to work with here.

Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist
Welp, I’m still not giving an award to Usher, but kudos to the American Music Awards for at least finding a different person to round out this category from the last one.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Frank Ocean again, since he teleported in for the Favorite Soul/R&B Album category.

Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album
One of these things is in no way like the other, and shame – shame – on the American Music Awards for reminding us that J. Cole is happening to us all. As tempting as it is to give awards to Nicki Minaj so she can at least have something to show for squandering what seemed, at first, to be a prodigious amount of talent, Take Care really is a hell of a record.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Drake, Take Care

Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist
One of the things that make the American Music Awards so interesting, to me at least, is the degree to which it’s all a transparent advertisement for the acts on the label. Oh, sure – any awards show is, to some extent, an advertisement for the industry that props it up. But the American Music Awards are so specifically-focused on the acts that benefit ABC the most to promote that it’s basically arbitrary – the best hip-hop act from within a very narrow set of parameters might as well be the best hip-hop act from three names chosen at random. Which, really, is what we end up with here. I’m calling it for Tyga, on general principle.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Tyga. On General principle

Favorite Country Album
Oh. Oh god. Oh no no no no. No, American Music Awards, no. This will not do at all.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Anyone who doesn’t know who the nominees in this category are. Which I’m hopeful will mean you.

Favorite Country Band/Duo/Group
This is, at least, a little better. I like a handful of Zac Brown band songs, I liked watching Lady Antebellum perform something on an awards show once, and I hope that the members of Rascal Flatts have toothpicks pushed under their toenails and are forced to kick each other.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: The Zac Brown Band.

Favorite Country Female Artist
The benefit to the horrors of the “Favorite Country Album” category is that I could be pretty well-disposed to a list of Air Supply songs right about now. Carrie Underwood v. Taylor Swift v. Miranda Lambert this sort of a “race to the blondest,” but then, how could it be anything else?

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Mrs. Coach, who’s been singing country music for all of five weeks now, and is definitely the blondest.

Favorite Country Male Artist
I swear to you, through no fault of my own, I have probably heard the song “Dirt Road Anthem” more times in 2012 than maybe any other song. I wish that circumstances were different, but they most certainly are not. It is, however, the only song by Jason Aldean that I’m aware of having heard. Although his songs haven’t achieved the same me-centric saturation point, I still find Luke Bryan to be profoundly irritating. Eric Church fares a little better, mainly by not annoying me at all.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Eric Church, but my god this is not a decision that I wouldn’t probably change tomorrow.

Favorite Pop/Rock Album
Is it at all significant that there are four nominees per category now, instead of 3? I think that’s kind of weird. Anyway. “Favorite Pop/Rock Album” is mainly the former, which is fine. Except Nicki Minaj’s record is in this category too, which makes me picture boardroom meetings full of arguments about taxonomy, and also raises the question: WHY ARE THERE FOUR NOMINEES IN THIS CATEGORY IF YOU ONLY HAD THREE WITHOUT HAVING TO DOUBLE-DIP INEXPLICABLY? But that’s ok. It’s not my job to answer that question. It’s rare that I get to be philosophically opposed to a pop song, but One Direction has presented that opportunity4, but I don’t know if an American Music Award is the proper way to reward it. I’m not going to make the joke about Maroon 5, mostly because everyone has already made it and it’s also the fucking point of calling your record Overexposed. Self-awareness, guys, it’s not just for you people5. And I don’t really know what I have to say about Justin Bieber’s album, except that I like the song “Boyfriend.”

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Eh, what the hell, Justin Bieber, Believe. You people almost certainly hate Justin Bieber, and I see no reason to keep placating you.

Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group
That is so. many. slashes. Anyway. Not One Direction again (although they had a better chance in this category, as my feelings about them are about them as an act), and not Maroon 5 again. Mainly because, while I’ve seen a lot of Adam Levine this year (and if this were an award for having your arm ripped off by a time-shifted Zachary Quinto in a weird leather mask, well, by jove, he’d have won it in a walk6), I haven’t seen a lot of Maroon 5, and the single from their new album is profoundly stupid. Anyway. The Wanted are one of the most faceless bands the world has ever known, so while it might be some sort of symbolic gesture to give them an American Music Award, I do like to at least pretend these things are merit-based. Also, I don’t know if you knew this about me, but I happen to love punctuation in band names.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: fun. Their name is even accurate! I mean, it’s fun (.) to type. They’re not, like, great. Anathallo was the bomb, though.

Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist
This is, and I say this unironically and seriously, the category with the closest competition in the entire list. None of these people cause internal bleeding in mice, and all of them have at least half a dozen songs that I legitimately enjoy. That said, the world wouldn’t be a fair or equitable place if it didn’t go to Kelly Clarkson.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Kelly Clarkson

Favorite Pop/Rock Male ArtistThis is the opposite of the female category. Each of the people in this category is responsible for some horror of their very own. Also, this is a really long post, and I feel this is a good opportunity to not rehash how I feel about Usher or Justin Bieber.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Mrs. Coach’s hair

Sprint New Artist of the Year
Man, I love that just about every awards show has a “best new artist” award that’s sponsored by a third company. I don’t know what it says about the awards involved, except for “we can’t be bothered with these bush-league-ass motherfuckers,” but it makes me laugh every time. Anyway. J. Cole isn’t even new. Jesus fucking christ I feel like he continues to be nominated for awards just to annoy me. He’s not “Best,” he’s not “New,” AND HE PROBABLY DOESN’T EVEN USE SPRINT. MOVING ON. I like fun., I do, but a collection of people who already haven’t made it in the industry banding together to make another grab at the brass ring is pretty cynical, even if the songs are alright, and while I don’t think commercial concerns can’t drive artistic blah blah blah, I don’t think they count as “new,” and also I think they’re too good for Sprint. Anyway. Gotye isn’t new either, and his most recent record is actually a boring patch on the ones before it7, so he doesn’t get this one either. Essentially, y’all, I think we all know where this is going.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Carly Rae Jepsen

Artist of the Year
This is probably meant to be set up as the grand award, the big honkin’ reward for, like, being around and affiliated with Disney or one of its many subsidiaries for a year, and I’m sure whoever wins it will…carry it around for half an hour, or maybe donate it to a childrens’ charity or something. And there’s almost an upset, even! Maroon 5 is clearly being set up for it, what with them being nominated for every goddamn award their eligible for, and the knowledge that this sort of thing is probably not included in Rihanna’s contract, and what kind of awards show gives awards to people that don’t even come to the ceremony? I’m a little surprised to see Justin Bieber nominated instead of One Direction, but I guess this is why I only make the winner-deciding decisions and not the nomination ones. I want to say Drake, because I actually like Drake, but really, I think it’s only fair to say that a better performance will be given on that stage by Ms. Perry, who’s always better for television anyway.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Katy Perry.

1 Fun Fact: Dick Clark actually created the American Music Awards specifically to air on ABC. So they’re basically just an excuse for ABC to always have an awards show. If that seems weird, I invite you to remember that I’ve also written about awards shows created specifically for BET and MTV, and then gargle dicks, because I FUCKING LOVE AWARDS SHOWS.
2 because ABC, remember?
3 a terrible reality show that no one will ever remember (Duets) and that just happens to have aired on ABC! My word, what synergy!
4 to wit: the end statement of “What Makes You Beautiful” is that the woman who is the subject of the song is attractive because she’s unselfaware, which I think is silly and smacks of “forever alone” weirdoism, but even beyond that isn’t really, as far as I was aware, a thing. Are there actually people out there jerking off to the idea of unselfawareness? This is why I will never understand people.
5 although I suppose it does mean that the guys in One Direction won’t be boning down with the guys in Maroon 5 any time soon.
6 SPOILER ALERT!
7 I know, it hurt me to type that as well. Blame Dimoko.