The Rest Of The Album: A 2014 Billboard Music Awards Review

The rest of the album - the 2014 Billboard Music Awards

The Billboard Music Awards were broadcast on ABC television on Sunday, the 18th of May, the year of the Horse.  The show was dull, boring, too long, uninspiring, and devoid of anything creative.

Except for Michael Jackson.  But we’ll get into that later.

The Rest Of The Album: A 2014 Billboard Music Awards Review

We started with an opening by Pitbull, who was joined by Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte.  Now, just by writing the name “Claudia Leitte” without misspelling her last name doesn’t mean I’d ever heard of her.  I’m fairly certain most non-Brazilians have, or had, never heard of her either.  Good for her in snagging this opening slot.

The criticism here goes to Pitbull.  I just don’t get it.  Yes, he’s a good-looking man in a suit.  But he cannot sing.  Let me stress that again: Pitbull CANNOT sing.  He has zero charisma, other than being a good-looking man in a suit (wait, I already wrote that).  He hosted the American Music Awards last year and was dreadful, with a capital D-R-E-A-D-F-U-L.  He’s not funny.  He’s not interesting.  He’s just a good-looking man in a suit with a cool name.  Enough with Pitbull.  Please bury him in the 10:00 hour of these shows when everybody has stopped watching.

Second criticism: Ludacris.  Here’s a guy with a personality.  Ever see him act in a Fast & Furious movie?  He’s good.  He’s got a spark that not every music star turned actor/awards show host has.  He’s the opposite of Pitbull. Yet, with his limited camera time during the show, Ludacris showed that his biggest influence as an awards show host was LL Cool J, another formerly-charasmatic musician who sold off his personality in order to appeal to the mish-mosh of an audience watching on TV.

Who was watching the other night?  The commercials would make you think the Soccer Mom demographic.  The audience would make you think teens.  The amount of Country music that was played would make you think anywhere but New York and LA.

We did see some good performances.  Shakira’s song was powerful.  She looked good and showed something by leaving the stage, strutting through the audience, and reaching the 2nd stage.

Michael Jackson’s hologram was creepy, odd, yet incredibly interesting.  The song was fine, not anywhere near his best work living or on the other side (he has some better songs on his new album, which you should listen to on Spotify).

The most disappointing part of the show?  Katy Perry.  Who’s bright idea was it to air a Katy Perry live performance video in an awards show in which every other performance is live?  It’s bad enough when a winner who can’t be present pre-films their acceptance speech (except Justin Timberlake, who proved once again he has what Pitbull, Ludacris and LL Cool J don’t have – a personality when standing away from a microphone).  But to air Katy Perry performing her new single live somewhere else on another date was confusing and took away any energy the Billboard Music Awards had (which was never very much).

The rest of the album the 2014 billboard music awards

From L to R: Lorde, Robin Thicke, Michael Jackson’s hologram, and Luke Bryan

Confusing?  If you were following the #BBMAs hashtag during the airing of the show, you’d have seen Twitter followers wondering how Katy Perry could perform her song “Birthday” in front of a huge crowd and then, five minutes later, win a Billboard Music Award accompanied by a canned acceptance speech that began with, “I’m in Scotland…”  Dressed in pajamas, those who didn’t know her performance was live couldn’t figure it out.

Lorde performed “Tennis Court” and was quirky and odd and seemingly miscast for a show built around accessible Pop hits.  She’ll be around for a long time doing everything her way.  She’ll likely never be as big as “Royals” again and she’ll probably face a backlash sooner rather than later (if you watched, the audience was unsure whether to scream or be silent during her awkward appearance), but once this initial hype is gone and she’s allowed to grow as an artist, she’ll have a steady following.

Miley Cyrus performed.  She’s an artist searching for something that actually might be really interesting.  She could go either way – way, way, way over the top, so far that she destroys herself, or she could be a 2010s version of Ziggy Stardust/Jim Morrison/Janis Joplin.  She’s an entertainer now.  Does she want more?

Kendall Jenner made a fool of herself.  J-Lo won the “Icon Award,” which would have been okay until you realized she was the first woman to ever win it.  Jennifer Lopez was the first woman ever to win it.  Seriously.  The first woman to ever win an Icon Award: Jennifer Lopez.  Must have been that Fiat endorsement which worked so well.  Otherwise, it’s obvious no woman in music today has done more for music than J-Lo.  Agreed?  Yeah, didn’t think so.

The Rest of the album the 2014 billboard music awards

Miranda Lambert, left, with Carrie Underwood.

One more little thing: The show took place live in Vegas at 8PM EST.  That means it was 5:00 in the afternoon in the west.  The sun is still shining in the desert at 5 o’clock.  Why did ABC keep giving us a nighttime shot of the MGM Grande Hotel, where the #BBMAs took place?  Sure, to make the hotel look great.  But doesn’t that just prove once again, like with the canned Katy Perry performance, that the producers of this broadcast weren’t interested in doing the right thing, the real thing, the honest thing?

Follow the money…

There were more artists & songs – John Legend, the Miranda Lambert/Carrie Underwood duet, Luke Bryan (twice!).  But the overall show was filler.  For an audience used to singles and hits, what we had on Sunday night was the rest of the album; the part nobody wants to listen to anymore.

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