Part 2 of the endless Teen Choice awards is below, but first, a question: I have never watched the Teen Choice Awards, so I have no idea how long the actual telecast is. Only there’s fifty thousand categories, so how many of these awards are actually given out during the television ceremony, and how long is the “post-show surfboard-passing-out line” at the end of the ceremony?
The internet is a vasty expanse with basically infinite options, and television is a vasty expanse with fewer, albeit functionally still more than any person could consider, options. So it comes as some comfort that the second half of this write-up is music, a vasty expanse in which I spend most of my free time, and movies, a cozy expanse where the number of things to keep track of is downright small. That said, I still don’t like any of these groups. So there’s still problems.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Man, Rixton are from Manchester. Can you even imagine something like this happening out of Manchester 25 years ago? Oh wait, yes you can. It was EMF. That’s unbelievable.
Again with the “breakout!” Is this a real breakout, or is this some kind of metaphor? I mean, Rita Ora has been around forever and ever, if what she’s doing is breaking out, it’s the slowest, most gradual breakout in history.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Why not take this opportunity to say Saintseneca? They’re great.
How are teenagers expected to come up with the money for these things? Yikes.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Well, the best act I’ve seen this summer was probably Fucked Up. Or maybe Nothing. But I’m not a teenager. So Jay-Z & Beyonce, then.
Summer Music Star: Group
What the actual fuck is this category supposed to be? Seriously. The music star that’s music starriest in the summer? The group that’s most like summer stars in the field of music? I understand, sort of, what they’re going for, but I have no idea how they’d establish criteria for it. Is it maybe something we should ask Howard Kremer about?
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: I think Florida-Georgia Line is the Howard-Kremer-approved one of these folks.
Summer Music Star: Male
I mean, if we’re going to imagine what his opinions are on the other categories, we should probably give a nod to the man himself in the one he’s eligible to win.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Howard Kremer
Summer Music Star: Female
A week ago, I may have had a hard time with this one, but now it’s a post-Anaconda world, so it’s Nicki Nicki Nicki.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Nicki Minaj
I have recently deduced that Ariana Grande’s singing voice gives me panic attacks. I mean, it’s clearly a finely-trained instrument. There’s just a quality about it that makes me really nervous. I will die before I award anything to Iggy Azalea. Or Demi Lovato. Or especially Calvin Harris.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Jason Derulo f Snoop Dogg, “Wiggle”. Which is ok, because I like “Wiggle”.
Well, full marks for creativity here. And at least it’s an unambiguous category, where I don’t have to guess what the words mean in context or whatever. Too bad the songs are all pretty forgettable. Besides, isn’t “Problem,” the song that was just nominated for summer song also a breakup song? Did we need two Ariana Grande songs on this program?
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Can’t we just give another award to “Wiggle”? That song is kind of like a breakup song, in the “butt” sense, right?
You know, it’s a weird world when 60% of the songs in this category are actually from the point of view of someone trying to convince someone else to love them, rather than declaring pre-existing love. But then, each of those songs is still better than “All of Me”
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Charli XCX, “Boom Clap”
It’s a shame I already used my big John Peel speech, because this is, hands-down, the hardest category I’ve ever had to try to decide I liked something in. Let’s just all rejoice in moving on.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: All of us, for moving on.
I suppose it really says something about how deeply entrenched the thinking of “rock” as a commercial musical force is that this category still exists, despite the fact that none of these songs are, in any meaningful sense, rock songs1. It really should just be “more different dance music,” really.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Bastille, “Pompeii”
R&B/Hip Hop Song
Sometimes, in the void of consideration that represents the awarding of entertainments aimed at young people, one feels lost. Alone. Completely unmoored to the usual notions of “quality” and “admirability,” one is thrust into a whole new world, where new faculties are engaged, where new criteria must be established to determine the proper course of action. Even for one such as myself, rock solid in my judgments and pronouncements, the world of the teenage-oriented all-media awards show is a baffling and upside-down space. It helps, periodically, to find traction in the familiar embrace of a comforting choice that I know, regardless of generation, target demographic, or context. Thank you, DJ Snake and Lil Jon. Thank you for your liferope in this time of need.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: DJ Snake and Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What”
It’s actually not in any way unique to the Teen Choice Awards to separate songs based on the number of people that perform them, but the fact that there are so many subdivisions really draws attention to how weird that is. Oh, and I can’t think of anything to say about, say, Rixton.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: One Direction, “Story of My Life”
Song: Male Artist
Oh, golly. Well, Austin Mahone sucks. That Sam Smith song is ok, but I don’t know how hard we need to work to reward somebody for being the male Adele. Ed Sheeran seems like a nice enough guy, but his music is dreadful. So that leaves us with “Happy” and “Talk Dirty”.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Jason Derulo and 2 Chainz, “Talk Dirty.” There’s only one klezmer break on the charts in 2014, and I feel like it deserves all the accolades it can amass.
Song: Female Artist
BUT “DARK HORSE” HAS A MAN RIGHT ON IT. JUICY J. ACADEMY-AWARD WINNING RAPPER WHO HAS, EVER SINCE HE CAN REMEMBER, BEEN POPPING HIS COLLAR2. Anyway. “Problem” is terrible. “Fancy” is even worse. “Let it Go” basically exists to serve its chorus, which is admirable enough, but also wears out its welcome after, say, the hundredth time.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Lorde, “Team”
There’s nothing particularly “teen”-ish about this category, which is nice. “This is How We Roll” and “Beachin” are both dreadful, though. Luke Bryan’s “Play it Again” and Miranda Lambert’s “Somethin Bad” are not actually terrible, but nothing makes one appreciate Lady Antebellum quite like this particular awards show.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Lady Antebellum, “Bartender”
In the interest of moving this along, and not having to repeat myself yet again, it’s Lady Antebellum again.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Lady Antebellum again.
Female Country Artist
Leaving aside Jana Kramer3, this category is also pretty tolerable. Obviously it’s never going to be Miranda Lambert or Carrie Underwood. And, much like with the rock category, seeing Taylor Swift here is mostly just a marker of how little genre distinctions seem to actually mean, even though there’s nothing in particular wrong with her music.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Kacey Musgraves
Male Country Artist
This category, on the other hand, has problems. Plural. Chief among them Hunter Hayes. Or possibly Jake Owen. But why quibble about the biggest problem when we can just move on.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Blake Shelton
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Coldplay. SEE WHAT YOU MADE ME DO?
I’ll give the nominating body of the Teen Choice Awards one thing: they have earnestly and unblinkingly nominated Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea for the exact same award. That’s…certainly some kind of daring. Or something.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: The Teen Choice Awards
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh at gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues talk of court news.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Man, how much better would The Teen Choice Awards be if it was replaced by a production of King Lear?
“Music group” is one of those phrases that makes me think that the people using it have no idea what, precisely, it describes. I get what it’s doing contextually, I just think it sounds super-brainded. As such, it must go to the most braindead nominee.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Rixton
Alright. It’s only fair that, when presented with a bunch of fairly good nominees, I reason this out. So. It’s clearly not Ariana Grande. It’s not really Katy Perry or Miley Cyrus either, but that’s a better effort than, say, anything in the EDM categories. So. Beyonce or Lorde, then. When you boil it down to the two most deserving candidates, you end up right back in a situation where it’s impossible to choose between them on the criteria.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Lordonce. Beyorde. Whichever.
Austin Mahone and Ed Sheeran are still right out. Pitbull and Jason Derulo are, likewise, not in the same class. And from there things just get easier.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Pharrell Williams
Summer Movie Star
And finally we arrive at the movies. And, as though to reward perseverance, a category full of movie stars under the heading “movie star.” It’s like all of the wisdom and sensible nomination that has been denied lo these first three categories has come back. But really, 22 Jump Street is a fine film, but only one of these gentlemen is mythological.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Dwayne Johnson
The problem with putting out the list of your nominations halfway through the summer is that you run the risk of actually missing the summer movie. That’s what you see here.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Guardians of the Galaxy
Ah, lifted up only to be dashed back against the rocks of weird-ass categories. I understand that it’s meant to be funny, I just don’t agree that it’s funny.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Kevin Hart probably. But that’s conjecture.
Where are the spoiler-avoiders during all of this nominating Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts and Jason Sudeikis for We’re the Millers? Also, isn’t that movie, like, four thousand years old? Anyway, if there’s one thing to like about Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield, it’s the celluloid representation of their actual adorable relationship.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield, Amazing Spider-Man 2
I suppose there’s something shrewd about making an awards show that, in part, appeals to the prurient nature of teenagers. Unfortunately, this is comedic chemistry, so you just get the kissing bit above. That seems like a real missed opportunity.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, 22 Jump Street
AGAIN WITH THE BREAKOUT. Alright. Elizabeth Olsen has been in a ton of shit. She didn’t break out any time recently. Other than that, I’m sort of at a loss for how to figure out how to decide who’s the breakoutedest.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Ansel Elgort. But for Divergent, not for The Fault in Our Stars.
Another A+ for acknowledging character work. I suppose these probably even make sense if you’ve got precisely the right kind of brain damage. Or are, presumably, the kind of teenager the Fox marketing department was imagining existed when they made these nominations.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Sam Clafin, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
I can’t recycle my YOU’RE THE REAL VILLAIN joke, can I? That’s a shame. It’s still true.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: And we’ll talk with them too. Who loses and who wins. Who’s in and who’s out.
I know that I’ve already asked this, but at this point, with fatigue and exhaustion setting in, I have to ask: how many of these categories are going to appear in the telecast? This one seems especially unlikely to be aired, as how many of these particular people are actually going to show up to a weird, out-of-the-way awards show? Anyway. Televised or not, there’s still going to be a winner.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Christina Applegate, Anchorman 2
Do they think that teenagers don’t like things that are funny? Do they not, themselves, know what is funny? Did they not see any film comedies? Did they only see film comedies that didn’t have actors in them4? Why is this category, after a bunch of more sensible categories, so fucking terrible?
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Will Ferrell, Anchorman 2
Were the nominating body of the Fox Teen Choice Awards kept in a soundproof room? Were they sequestered like jurors and only shown these five comedies? Does the period of nomination somehow include no funny movies? Seriously, I should not come across as being this enthusiastic about Anchorman 2.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Anchorman 2
Actress: Sci Fi/Fantasy
The people of Fox have spoken, and they have said: dead-eyed and confused, that’s how we like our sci fi/fantasy actresses. Ugh.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Jennifer Lawrence, who at least gave two very different performances in the two films she’s nominated for
Actor: Sci Fi/Fantasy
Of course, all of this obviates that, once again, Guardians of the Galaxy actually came out too late to be nominated. But still and all – there’s a couple of Hemsworths here, and that’s not half bad.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: A Hemsworth. I’m not picky.
You can not tell me that Amazing Spider-Man 2 is nominated for an award for anything other than the adorability of its leads with a straight face. Anway, I’m pretty charitable to the rest of these, but the Captain America actually have the steepest hill to climb: I don’t really care much of the character unless he’s written extremely well. I do love Chris Evans, though.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
There are better comedic performances in this category than there were back in the comedy categories. I feel like this is finally the hard evidence I need that this isn’t just “not for me,” it’s actively nonsensical. Anyway, I can’t figure this out.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Emma Watson. Or Kristen Bell. Or, hell, Janice from The Muppets. What’s the difference, really?
You know what? I like Jon Hamm. I like, theoretically, the existence of a movie about cricket. Why waste everyone’s time pretending to beat around that particular bush?
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Jon Hamm, Million-Dollar Arm
So, obviously it’s not Heaven is for Real or The Fault in Our Stars. It probably isn’t really The Million-Dollar Arm. That leaves American Hustle or Veronica Mars.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: I’m much more a marshmallow than a, uh, whatever fans of American Hustle call themselves, so Veronica Mars.
Well, again, full marks for including “Action” as its own distinct cateogry. I suppose in the case of the women in action films, you go with the one that does the most stuff before being rendered irrelevant by the male in the movie, because, really.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Shailene Woodley, Divergent
Holy shit! I had totally forgotten about The Mortal Instruments movie! This is a real blast from the past. I feel like I should buy it a drink. Catch up about old times. Jeez. This has really thrown me off my game.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Kellan Lutz?
And take upon us the mystery of things, as if we were God’s spies, and we’ll wear out, in walled prison, packs and sects of great ones, that ebb and flow by the moon5
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: All of us, because oh my god this was exhausting.
1 that is: rock as a genre marker – small band, guitar-focused music. Rock as a marketing signifier (which appears, in the commercial environment of 2014, to mean “holding guitars while industry-standard EDM plays through the speakers”) is still going pretty strong. Can you believe I made it this far into this piece without a footnote?
2 actually, he doesn’t anymore, and probably stopped shortly before recording that song, but really, it’s not like there are good reasons to remember Juicy J.
3 who is the same Jana Kramer from One Tree Hill. I don’t know why this seems super unlikely, but sometimes the world moves in mysterious ways.
4 nb: I have no idea which ones those would be
5 King Lear, Act V, Scene III