Lessons from the 2014 Billboard Music Awards

Lorde

I spent much of the time from 8-10pm last night asking myself why I was watching the 2014 Billboard Music Awards. Most of the performances were uninspired and the award winners were foregone conclusions. It’s not as if this were the only awards show featuring performances from the likes of Pitbull, Imagine Dragons, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez and Jason Derulo. And though I like Ludacris, the prospect of him hosting was not enough on its own to draw me to the show.

I realized that I’m drawn to awards shows like this because I’m fascinated by the way that organic moments of spontaneity can arise from a rigorously pre-programmed spectacle. I’m looking for two or three performances that rise above the mediocrity of the majority. I’m looking for something to reaffirm my belief that popular music and even awards shows can be thought-provoking or aesthetically satisfying. And indeed, while the 2014 Billboard Music Awards were largely forgettable and eminently skippable, I found a few topics worth discussing before I switched over to Mad Men.

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Take 5. Actually, Take 7.

Lou Reed

Not caught up on the latest happenings in and around Hollywood? Fear not, because my Take 5 columns will catch you up in no time. Since September, we’ve lost two major pop culture icons in Tom Clancy and Lou Reed. We’ve ushered Breaking Bad off our television screens, replacing it with tons and tons of new fall shows, most of which aren’t as good as Breaking Bad. We’ve been graced with tons of compelling new music, from pop superstars like Justin Timberlake and Miley Cyrus to promising newcomers like Lorde and HAIM. We’ve come to terms with the breakup of the Jonas Brothers, but we’re not quite over talking about Chris Brown‘s depressing antics.

And I’ve been taking notes. Read on for the last seven editions of Take 5.

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Three More Thoughts on the 2013 AMAs

JT

Even though I live-blogged the entire three-hour behemoth last night, I have lots to say about the 2013 American Music Awards. The live-blog format is necessarily limiting, and I’ve revised or expanded many of my opinions since the show aired. With that in mind, here are three big takeaways from this awards show (one of the silliest around, don’t forget.)

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