Recap: American Music Awards 2012

Monday, Nov. 19-

“Live from Los Angeles, welcome to the 40th anniversary of the American Music Awards.” Here’s your AMA 2012 recap!

In honor of their ruby anniversary, the AMA featured vintage clips throughout the night of greats from the past and present—Beyoncé, Janet, Michael, Whitney, and even N*Sync!

Usher’s opening was uninspired, offering flat notes during “Climax” and the same smoke and lights we’ve seen time and time again. My, how the mighty male performers have fallen—he’s like the male version of Britney Spears. Justin Bieber took home Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist and dedicated his award to the “haters” that doubted his longevity. Justin, this is only your second album. You’re not exempt from being a fad just yet.

Favorite Country Female Artist went to Taylor Swift for the fourth time (let’s all act surprised), and up next to perform was Carly Rae Jepsen. Although I’ll never understand why she insisted on lip-syncing while she stood still for most of the performance, her set was cute. The Wanted performed next, and the lead singer screaming towards the end was unwanted.

Kelly Clarkson did a greatest hits medley chronicling her career. While it didn’t quite flow, it was the first performance of the night that wasn’t lip-synced, and the nod to her American Idol roots in the beginning was adorable. Oddly enough, Nicki Minaj’s pop effort “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” took Best Rap/Hip-Hop Album.

The iconic Cyndi Lauper introduced Ke$ha’s performance. Note: this is where things took an interesting (and watchable) turn as she slayed her dance break towards the end. No Doubt was next, and it was refreshing to see Gwen, but nobody knew the songs. They should’ve done a greatest hits medley.

Linkin Park took Best Alternative Rock Artist, and then Taylor Swift performed, offering her typical lackluster vocals. The production, however, was marvelous. Her costume change was the most eye-catching part of the set, and the dancers made it worth watching. Usher took Favorite R&B/Soul male artist, as he’s done consecutively for the last three years, and Luke Bryan took home his first AMA.

Linkin Park had a decent performance, but to little fanfare. Thanks to the AMA’s questionable segues we faded somehow into Nicki Minaj’s “Freedom”. The vocals were as usual terrible and the choir was an unnecessary and awkward touch. From there, Heidi Klum introduced P!nk who performed a contemporary dance routine to “Try”. Believe me when I tell you P!nk had one of the best performances of the night. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it—it was the epitome of artistry. Plus, she sang the whole number live. Astounding.

Backstreet Boys showed up to present New Artist of the Year to Carly Rae Jepsen. Lady Antebellum snagged Favorite Country Band/Duo or Group, and Carly Rae Jepsen came back out to introduce Justin Bieber. He gave an acoustic-guitar driven performance, feigning the same vulnerability Justin Timberlake would’ve delivered convincingly 10 years earlier.

David Guetta won Favorite Electronic Dance Music (EDM) artist… or button-pusher, or dial-up modem… or whatever.  Next Christina Aguilera, introduced by Gloria Estefan, stood still while lipping the spoken intro for her performance. From there, it was on to Pitbull, another artist desperately latching onto the EDM movement. Xtina came back out, did a dry, throaty wail for a moment and thankfully, it was off to commercial break.

Bieber’s “Believe” snatched Favorite Pop/Rock Album, while Carrie Underwood looked stunning performing “Mute” and delivered some of the best vocals of the night. Brandy, refreshing to see, (even though her new album “Two Eleven” was not refreshing to hear), kick started a mini-tribute to Whitney Houston, that ushered us right into Chris Brown, Swizz Beatz, and Ludacris. Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop artist went to Nicki Minaj, who slurred through her speech while looking at the wrong camera.

Best Country Album went to Carrie Underwood, and then Ryan Seacrest introduced a heartfelt Dick Clark tribute. The legendary Stevie Wonder performed “Master Blaster”, “My Cherie Amour”, and “Sir Duke”. After that, was a tribute celebrating Michael Jackson’s 25th anniversary of “Bad”, then came to present Artist of the Year which went to Justin Bieber, his third win of the night.

Finally, PSY closed the show with “Gangham Style”. It started off looking like an MC Hammer tribute with the army of dancers and parachute pants…and then MC Hammer came out and performed his hit “2 Legit 2 Quit”. This, my friends, was undoubtedly the best performance of the night. Hammer, at 50, punched every other male performer out of the game, and PSY surprisingly outperformed his American counterparts on their own turf. The last performance almost made you forget the mess you had to watch before then.

All in all, we missed Beyoncé.


-Hassan Williams

Staff Writer

The Prowl