The Comforting Illusion of Democracy Awards are, in a lot of ways, kind of the most boring. They’re generally aimed at celebrating something merely for being popular, which seems like kind of a silly thing to give a trophy for, given that you already have the attendant benefits of, y’know, making the most popular thing. Although I suppose there is some utility in having the knowledge of who that was there.
But other awards shows are built around the idea that they are not a popularity contest1, while the People’s Choice Awards are specifically trying to be as reasonable a measure of popularity directly as possible.. They take the troubling problem of the editorship of the curator out of the question as much as possible – in no small part due to using some scary-ass monitoring software that secretly tabulates the way people look at stuff on the internet and seriously I have to stop thinking about this now or I’m just going to start gibbering.
Whatever terrifying methods may be used to select the nominees, it cannot be denied that they’re thorough:there’s, like, fifty thousand categories. I could, basically, devote the rest of this blog to simply writing about the interminable list of people nominated for People’s Choice Awards. But I won’t do that! Instead I’ll do this: I’ll tell you who should win and you’ll be able to swagger through life knowing what the voters for the People’s Choice Awards don’t: that you are right. Unlike with other awards shows, however, I don’t have to deliver the truth to the secret shadow illuminati behind every awards show. I can just vote for the damn things. THE COMFORTING ILLUSION OF DEMOCRACY IN ACTION.
Favorite Music Fan Following
I guess the idea here is that I, a member of the theoretically-voting populous decides whose fans they like best. Obviously this is going to be naturally skewed in favor of the person with the biggest following, but just think: everyone who is annoyed by Demi Lovato fans is going to make sure to vote, if only to keep Demi Lovato fans from winning anything2. Surprisingly, there’s no Beliebers here – your guess is as good as mine – so we’re left with the largely un-catchy names of the “Britney Army” (“We have the right to bare as much as possible! Arms, legs, whatever, y’all!”), “The Directioners” (who win the award for “fan base that most makes people want to cause them grevious harm” with all their shenanigans), “The KatyCats” (which is, I guess, a play on “kitty cats,” but which also: enough with the cat puns, Katy), “the Little Monsters” (a name that gets even sillier with the passage of time – it made sense back when she coined her fans that, but that was, like, fifty personas ago. I dunno.) and the “Lovatics” (and not, as I sort of hoped Demi Lovato’s fans would call themselves, the demi-bras – they don’t show up very much and they provide her with minimal support3). Truly, this is a choice that would make even Sophie recoil in horror.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: The Little Monsters tend to include at least some people that I actually like as people, although there’s a part of me that wants to say “The Directioners.” I don’t know any Directioners, though.
Favorite Music Video
I feel like, no matter how long it continues to go on, I am always confused by Demi Lovato appearing on lists like this. There is no good or fair reason for this. She is no worse than any other pop star (although she is significantly more boring). That said, it really prevents me from appreciating whatever it is she might have to offer us. Which, in this case, is a really dull music video. One Direction and Katy Perry are doing, in their respective videos, the same things that One Direction and Katy Perry always does – and I say this despite actually liking both songs. That leaves us with “Wrecking Ball” and “Just Give Me a Reason.”
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: This is for the video, so Miley gets it, but that’s not without pointing out that it is clearly the worse song.
Hey! It’s Blake Shelton again! And Michael Buble! Two dudes that are always pretty happy to be at awards shows! And also two people who did not make very good albums! Luck is on their side, however, because neither did anyone else in this category. I appreciate that Robin Thicke has managed to somehow draw his pop career out to include another hit, but I think rewarding his album (which I’ve not heard but the single from) is not going to help. Besides which, we wouldn’t still be talking about him if it weren’t for Miley, whose Bangerz is…still not very good. The 20/20 Experience was pretty good until Part 2, which was all bad. And so we come to Blake and Buble.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: I don’t want to disappoint either one of these people, but I feel like Blake Shelton’s a good enough sport that he can take it. Michael Buble is the rightful winner.
This is a much better category. I feel like close readers can chart my steadily-improving feelings for “Just Give Me a Reason” as the awards season goes on, and as much as “Roar” has a dumb video, it’s still a pretty good song, albeit in the already-accepted “Katy Perry semi-inspirational power-ballad” sort of way. “Radioactive” is too dumb to consider writing more than twelve words about. And so we come again to Bruno vs. Justin.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: I’m not going to do the research necessary to corroborate this, but I’m fairly certain this is the first time “If I Was Your Man” has been the Bruno song in contention. It’s an even better song than “Mirrors,” quite frankly. Even if that does contradict something I wrote whenever ago.
Favorite Alternative Band
Alternative. Indeed. I was, for reasons that are too boring to get into here, digging through iTunes the other day, and I remembered how much I used to like the album Showbiz, by Muse. I then thought, as I always do, that Idlewild’s Hope is Important is much better4. And then I stopped thinking about Muse. Paramore aren’t really Paramore anymore, Imagine Dragons are still a fucking joke. Mumford and Sons are Mumford and Sons.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: I say this one goes to whoever can successfully curb-stomp the members of Imagine Dragons.
…..and here they are again, fresh from their hopefully-successful curb-stomping. Ugh. I guess, from a moral standpoint, they’re somewhat better than Paramore. At least Imagine Dragons just decided that they wanted to form a band in order to make music that sounds like horses trying to make a Foo Fighters records and then covering up their shitty mistakes with keyboard squelches. Paramore actually went to some lengths to be as terrible as they are, up to and including firing all the band members that weren’t the hot redhead and then marketing themselves as “the hot redhead.” I would like all of the internet punditheads who insist that there’s “no such thing” as selling out in 2013 to take a look at that and tell me what else to call it. And it’s not even as though Paramore were such a top-shelf commodity to begin with. ANYWAY. Maroon 5 is also terrible. So is OneRepublic.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: One Direction. Because in the land of the terrible and the terrible, the act with exactly one good song is king.
Favorite R&B Artist
When I was looking at the American Music Awards I wondered why they didn’t populate the R&B category correctly. Here we are at a correctly-populated R&B category, and now I’m going to complain that it still sucks. There is literally no pleasing me. Anyway, I get that popularity is a big deal here, and under those rules, it should almost certainly be Justin Timberlake. And not Robin Thicke, Rihanna, Ciara or Alicia Keys.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: If The Weeknd can figure out a way to use the award itself as a way to ingest drugs, he should get it. If he can’t, it goes to Frank Ocean. I’m a rebel, dotty.
Favorite Hip-Hop Artist
This is…exactly like the American Music Awards category, only now with more Drake. Luckily, the inclusion of Drake is enough to prevent my eyeballs from exploding. It also means I don’t really have anything to say about this.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Drake. Ugh.
Favorite Country Music Icon
Hows come I don’t get to vote for Icons of other genres? I actually like the idea. It’s like the opposite of the “best new artist” category that everyone has to have. Not that I’m necessarily suggesting that the People’s Choice Awards needs more categories. And I suppose at least in Country music, telling someone that their best years are behind them isn’t the same kind of death warrant it would generally be in hip-hop or rock music. Anyway. If Willie Nelson hasn’t won it already, there’s certainly no reason to pretend anyone else is even a contender. Least of all Tim McGraw. Seriously.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Willie Nelson
Favorite Country Artist
Man, if I could hug the people’s choice awards for not including the Florida Georgia Line, I absolutely would. Anyway. Do you suppose that Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift get tired of always being nominated for the exact same awards? Is this why Carrie Underwood doesn’t seem to show up to hardly any awards shows? The answer to these questions and more in another category. Or not. Anyway. Blake Shelton again. The Band Perry Again. I’m sort of out of things to say about this assemblage of human beings.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Mrs. Coach’s hair. I never run out of things to say about it.
Favorite Pop Artist
The People’s Choice Awards are right on the other side of the transition that the American Music Awards start – they’re a little later (or, well, earlier), so they’re not always batting cleanup for the year past. This ends up meaning that they’re when these things start to feel a little more current, which makes it all the more jarring to continue to see Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake there. The 20/20 Experience, having led off record season, will be ten months old at the time of this awards show (which, admittedly, isn’t that long, it just seems like it is because every awards show has planned its performance schedule around him), and Unorthodox Jukebox will be thirteen months old. Not that that’s a problem in a field rounded out by the usual Britney/Katy/Demi field. Just that it’s a long time to be on the circuit for a record.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Bruno Mars. And then maybe he can take a nap. Poor guy.
Favorite Breakout Artist
You know, it just occurred to me to wonder about the substitution of the word “breakout” for the word “new.” Have they really “broken out”? Of what, precisely? The term would have some utility if we were talking about someone who became something on their own merit, rather than the relative success of one marketing campaign over another, but at this point this paragraph is sounding so cynical that it’s going to be hard to transition into talking about Ariana Grande. Anyway. Icona Pop’s one good song sitll puts them at, like, seven or eight more good songs than Imagine Fucking Dragons5. I know that I’ve heard Austin Mahone, but I can’t bring any of his music to mind, so it isn’t him either. Ariana Grande and Lorde are both, thankfully, making music that sounds rather smallish and not a giant overproduced behemoth.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Lorde, because I do like “Royals.”
Favorite Female Artist
It does make sense that three of the favorite female artists are the nominees for favorite pop star total, and it makes me even angrier at awards shows that can’t manage to have that kind of internal consistency. Stupid other awards shows. Anyway. It is not now, and will never be, Demi Lovato. I feel like that’s the only thing that’s important. Oh, and also it’s not P!nk or Selena Gomez. Or Britney.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: I suppose it’s Katy Perry, but really, I’m not feeling that either. Is it too late to nominate Grouper? I think it should be Grouper. But Katy Perry can accept the award on behalf, since it’s such short notice.
Favorite Male Artist
Man, I didn’t think I was going to see Blake Shelton and Michael Buble nominated in two categories this year. That’s crazy. Anyway. It’s probably not either of them, but that’s kind of sad. It’s really not Avicii. Which puts us right back where we were at Favorite Pop Artist.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Justin Timberlake this time, because I presume that Bruno Mars is still taking that nap.
1 and sometimes that’s true – sometimes awards shows are merely part of a marketing strategy, and not a straight popularity contest at all. This is the primary difference between the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards, ultimately. This will probably come up more for those respective ceremonies.
2 which is just mean: they’re already Demi Lovato fans, why would you want to take this away from them as well?
3 Try the fish. Tip your waitresses. I’ll be here all week.
4 the reasons I have for always linking Muse and Idlewild are beyond me, other than that they came around at about the same time, and one got stupidly famous while the other didn’t
5 I’m putting them in negative numbers because thinking about having to hear one of their impossidumb songs is making me angry.