Art is all about timing. It’s not enough to be talented or creative or passionate or hungry. As much as art is an expression of an individual, it’s produced to be appreciated by others, and others have fickle tastes. The most successful artists apply their talents to some sort of hunger for the work they’re creating. When the timing isn’t just right, though, artists struggle.
Llewyn Davis struggles. The title character in the Coen Brothers’ beautifully crafted, quietly hopeless Inside Llewyn Davis chases after cats, slums for hitmakers, treks across the country, incurs the wrath of his female companions, and sings, softly and loudly, forcefully and listlessly, energetically and exhaustedly, in the hopes that someone, anyone, will see what he sees in himself: a man with a voice that freezes time. But again and again, he runs up against one of life’s most frustrating truisms: sometimes, you’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Sleazier than the Grammys, stuffier than the VMAs, less legitimate than either one, The American Music Awards are the unfortunate middle child of music awards shows. The only time anyone cares how many American Music Awards an artist has won is during the American Music Awards. This is the show that gave us David Hasselhoff dancing to LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” in 2011 and crowned Justin Bieber the 2012 Artist of the Year. In other words, don’t expect high art.
And yet – the American Music Awards are a fun, if frustrating, thermometer for the current temperature of popular music. Last year’s show brought us Carly Rae Jepsen and PSY, but also Taylor Swift and Stevie Wonder. You have to take the good with the bad.
Whether the awards mean anything or not (they don’t), the show should provide some interesting moments. Will Justin Timberlake do something unexpected to cap off his busy year, or will he rest on his laurels? Will Miley Cyrus descend further into mayhem or restrain herself? Will Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line demonstrate why they’re country’s two hottest superstars right now, or will they continue to make us wish for Kacey Musgraves and Miranda Lambert instead?
Follow along starting at 8pm Eastern for my reviews of each performance on the American Music Awards, airing on ABC.