American Music Awards: The Top 20 Moments

Since the American Music Awards, which aired Sunday on ABC, honor chart-toppers, we decided to work up our rundown of the show’s highlights (and, of course, lowlights, too) in Top 20 format. Ready to read your way to No. 1? Let’s (rock and) roll!

20 | When Maroon 5 won Best Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group, it disproved once and for all the theory that Maroon 5 is just Adam Levine. Or did it?

19 | Jennifer Hudson was so cinched into her dress that she accidentally (inevitably, it seemed) bumped her own boob before announcing  that Nicki Minaj had won Best Rap/Hip-Hop Artist, which, in turn, led to…

18 | … the cotton-candy-haired rapper making the longest entrance of the entire ceremony. You know that song “These Boots Are Made For Walking”? She should’ve worn those boots.

17 | Enrique Iglesias reminded us that he might be better at smoldering than singing.

16 | The lead singer of OneRepublic broke up what felt like a 30-minute song by tossing his guitar what looked like a city block away to a stage hand. Impressive. Now about that 30-minute song…

15 | Kelly Clarkson performed a jazzy version of her latest single while dressed as Ginger from Gilligan’s Island and surrounded by the cast of Newsies.

14 | That one guy from Hot Chelle Rae – you know the one – reset the bar for flat-ironed hair. You had to see it to believe it.

13 | We were told that Drake is the bee’s knees. But then we didn’t “get” his performance, a sort of droning rap thingy. Which just made us feel like squares.

12 | We felt even worse for Modern Family’s Julie Bowen and Sarah Hyland than we did for ourselves after we didn’t “get” Drake. Their scripted presenterbabble was just plain bad.

11 | Wearing a get-up from the Dale Bozzio Collection (look her up, youngsters!), Minaj opened the show performing with some (apparently very gassy) Transformers.

10 | Beyonce and Rihanna – both beamed in for award acceptance speeches – sounded about as enthusiastic as telemarketers.

9 | When Levine finished singing “Moves Like Jagger,” Christina Aguilera kept right on going. Take that.

8 | Daughtry thoughtfully tested the venue’s fire alarms by setting off a series of huge hibachis during their noisy number on the set of Stonehenge.

7 | Chris Brown offset his Susan Powter hairdo with enough chains and bracelets to make even Mr. T go, “I pity the fool.”

6 | In between commercials for that car she’s always peddling, J.Lo performed a mash-up of her latest hits that included Chippendales dancers on alpaca stilts, contortionists having spasms and… oh, come on! A special guest appearance by that damn car she’s always peddling!

5 | Marc Anthony sang so intensely that his forehead became a terrifying mass of throbbing veins. And he still couldn’t upstage J.Lo or her stinkbug car.

4 | Justin Bieber performed his Christmas single in some of Michael Jackson’s hand-me-down pleather. We would not want to be there when the giants from whom his supersized glow sticks clearly were stolen realize they are missing at their next rave.

3 | Pink sang Katy Perry’s newest single. No, wait, that was Katy Perry. Someone just painted her pink, right down to her guitar, before sending her on stage. What a thing to do to an award winner!

2 | Artist of the Year Taylor Swift thanked her fans for caring about the lyrics, a sentiment that only seemed sweeter when it was followed by…

1 | … LMFAO singing about “the passion in their pants.” Can’t say the group isn’t entertaining – how could an act that comes off like the result of a three-way between Weird Al, Richard Simmons and Howard Stern not be entertaining? They even scored cameos by the Biebs and the Hoff. But they do make Right Said Fred seem deep by comparison.

What did you think of the AMAs? Below would be a good place to write down your thoughts…

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Steph says:

    Chris Brown and JLo both killed it. Kelly Clarkson is amazing and the song is amazing but she should have done it without remixing it. Katy Perry didn’t sound so bad. I skipped Justin Bieber’s performance as usual. Lady Gaga or Adele should have won artist of the year.

  2. BRETT says:

    The snark in this article is just too much. Enjoyed parts of the show. Not sure why every show books Mary J Blige… her performances put me to sleep. Adele didn’t win the big ones simply cause she wasn’t there. Why do you think Taylor Swift was invited? (How many years can be “her” year?)

    • Dan says:

      Adele won 3 out of her 4. She won pretty big for not being there.

      • Saulo says:

        The AMAs are lame. Adele is set to win all the Grammys you can imagine next year: record of the year, album of the year, song of the year, best female pop vocal performance, best pop vocal album!

  3. AJ says:

    The fact that Chris Brown is still allowed to perform onstage in disgusting..

    • JFLYNT says:

      Let it Go! Its been 3 years. You people wonder why Chris gets pissed all the time. You keep nagging and bringing it up just cause he is a young black man. Other celebs did the same thing or worse and repeat offenders like Charlie Sheen but you praise them. He has paid his dues. You’re probably white as most mainstream media keep giving him a hard time. Thats why he lost both awards and one was given to his no talented ex Rihanna. Keep your head up Chris and do your thing bro.

      • AJ says:

        I don’t bring it up because he’s a young black man. Christ I bring it up because he abused his ex girlfriend and still acts like an ignorant ass about it. Yet Adam Lambert isn’t allowed back for a year after kissing a guy onstage. It’s hypocritical and disgusting and people shouldn’t forget about it. They should remember that he is a misogynistic, abusive as..
        And he didn’t win any awards because his music sucks

        • Rick says:

          Such a good point. Adam Lambert did not hurt anyone but he was banished from the AMA’s for 2 years. Chris Brown is basically a thug, and though he is very talented, it does seem that the standard for unacceptable behaviour should be reevaluated. That same Parent’s Association of Bible Belting Conservatives that had a hissy fit about Adam making out with a guy on stage should be as concerned about their daughters being taught that abuse is forgivable. Apparantly homophobia ranks above assault when it comes to the censorship of artists.

      • SallyinChicago says:

        I agree, let it go. He has to make a living too….just like Rhi.

        • OJ says:

          and don’t forget his right to beat on his girlfriend.

        • Indie says:

          “He has to make a living too…” Really? That’s your argument? Are you kidding me? Why don’t you date him, Sally, and see if you come out of it without a black eye or some other bodily harm? “He has to make a living.” What a joke.

      • Jelly says:

        First off, just to let you know, I’m black. Second of all, I never want to see Chris Brown on my TV again. He didn’t pay any dues whatsoever. He didn’t go to jail, he did have to stand trail, he didn’t have to do anything. It’s one thing to be forgiven, and another to be a celebrity. As black people (and really as people in general) we should not accept this type of behavior. We as a society have to power to make these people famous or end their careers. While Brown does deserve to continue on with his life, he should not be doing it the limelight, making millions of dollars; he should be spending it rotting away in a jail cell.

        • Really? says:

          Yes what Chris Brown did was wrong. However he pleaded guilty, has apologized NUMEROUS times and did exactly what the judge ordered him to do which. No he did not have to stand trial or go to jail; partly because he had a good lawyer, but largely because he PLEADED GUILTY. You clearly know nothing about the legal system; when someone pleads guilty they get a lighter sentence.

          Rihanna has said that she forgives him and wants to move on which is why she agreed to lighten the restraining order that didn’t allow them to be anywhere near each other even during award ceremonies. No it’s not saying that what he did wasn’t a big deal, but it did happen three years ago, he admitted he did it, paid his dues based on what the judge TOLD HIM TO DO, and that is the end of it. If both of them can move on why can’t someone who has no personal knowledge of the two of them and no direct connection whatsoever to the incident?

          At least Chris Brown took responsibility by turning himself in. However, cowards like Roman Polanski can flee the country for 30 years and serve NO sentence for raping a child. He gets to spend years still making films, winning Oscars and living a cushy lifestyle while the rest of Hollywood pleads his forgiveness despite the fact that he NEVER PAID for this crime!!!!

          • AJ says:

            Just because someone gets away with a crime doesn’t mean that should. Roman Polanski is also a disgusting human being and I refuse to watch any of his film because I don’t want to support someone like him no matter how indirect.
            Chris Brown hasn’t grown or learned. He has made thoughtless apologies and still goes on twitter acting like an ignorant ass hole and constantly dropping gay slurs and other derogatory comments. By allowing him to perform despite what he did it is sending out the image that what he did was ok. And it really isn’t.

          • jj says:

            AJ, if you only watch or like artists whose behaviour you consider exemplary, you will be watching NOTHING. Oh, wait. you can watch Taylor Swift because everyone knows she’s such a good girl role model. Blech. Lots of celebrities have biases i don’t like, are racist, misogynistic, support political policies i don’t endorse, etc… That doesn’t mean that i don’t enjoy the WORK that they do. Just like many companies are run by people who i don’t like many of the same things about. But that doesn’t influence whether i buy their products. Sometimes, it is worth it to boycott a person, product, or company. Sometimes, it is not. It is up to the individual to decide when and where to make their stand. If you feel that way about Chris Brown? Fine. Some people felt the same about Michael Jackson. Some people feel the same about Charlie Sheen and R Kelly and the Dixie Chicks and the guy that sings that Monday Night Football and song and Martha Stewart and the list goes on… Others don’t agree with you. It’s an individual choice to make and I support an individual’s right to make such a choice. Anything else is downright un-american.

    • Carrie says:

      I agree. The guy put his girlfriend in the hospital, lost his temper (again) and threw a chair through a window at a morning talk show and tweeted a bunch of gay slurs, and he’s still allowed to perform on these kinds of shows? How people can still tolerate him and his music is beyond me. I think he’s repulsive. I remember that there were pictures of him having a great time jet skiing in FL a couple of days after he beat his girlfriend up.

    • Danielle says:


  4. Taylor says:

    Sadly didn’t catch a pod bit of the show, but I was extremely glad to see Defying Gravity performing alongside some acts :)

  5. me says:

    Great show. Taylor needs to quit with acting surprised all the time. What’s going on with Christina? she’s huge. Is she pregnant, health issues or just fat? she use to be so tiny.

    • Jared says:

      umm I’m sorry, but the last time i checked, Christina was a singer, not a model! it doesnt matter how big or small she is, its about the talent. you gonna try to complain about kelly clarkson, aretha franklin, mariah carey, adele, or jennifer lopez because they too are bigger?! get over it. its about the talent, not the weight or the look!

    • Ashley says:

      Here’s the thing about Christina Aguilera. She gained some weight in recent years. She looks GREAT! She’s got a slamming body now. The problem is her stylist is still dressing her like she’s a size zero. She is not, she’s a normal human size now. If they would stop dressing her in outfits that make her look like she is exploding she would look so much sexier. There are plenty of celebrities that aren’t stick thin that manage to dress appropriately. I hope CA gets with the program and starts dressing for her body. Seriously, just wear a size bigger. That’s all.

      • Mike says:

        She looks great??? Christina can be a beautiful woman, but for some reason lately she makes herself look like a hooker who caters to clowns.

    • M says:

      She is pregnant.

  6. Chloe says:

    Somehow, I get the impression that the ranking of this list had nothing to do with the actual items, but how they would best suit the flow of snark. Speaking of which, overkill.

    Btdubs, it’s OneRepublic, not One Republic. And since Ryan Tedder’s got his hands in a lot of songs these days, I kind of think he’s earned the right to be referred to by name.

    • whatevs, btdubs says:

      since you actually were tool enough to write “Btdubs”, i think you’ve earned the right to be labeled a complete douche and to not have your opinion be considered worthwhile.

  7. 'Bert says:

    Good to see Adam Lambert back at the AMA’s… coming full circle so to speak. Glad that ABC has buried that particular, ahem, hatchet!

  8. Jared says:

    Dear Andy Patrick,

    This was THE most entertaining article I have ever read! omg!!! LOL! I can’t recall if you’ve done much for TVLine before, but here’s hoping they put you on payroll because you, sir, are fantastic! I still have tears running down my face! It was hilarious!! Thank you for that!!

  9. Lyndsey says:

    WOW!! You guys take this stuff way too seriously! Who cares if the article is snarky or who won what?! These shows ceased being about the actual awards around 20 years ago. People only watch for the musical performances…including myself. Sadly, few of the performers even bother to actually perform (sing live) so it makes me appreciate the few who do (Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson, OneRepublic)!

    However, the highlight of the night for me was LMFAO’s performance. I love them because they’re fun & they don’t take themselves too seriously!! Great choice to close the show!!

  10. Marie says:

    Jennifer Lopez deserves several lowlight slots of her own – for her terrible performance, for the car advertisement in the middle of the stage – she was dreadful.

  11. dee123 says:

    Taylor Swift = Artist of the year? Good Lord.

    • SallyinChicago says:

      Could it be: 1) she had no scandal; 2) she played big stadiums and sold out all?

    • Britt says:

      At least she relies on her talent to sell records. Not the best singing voice, but she’s a great songwriter and musician and people can relate to her music. I’d rather her than any of the other “artists” who rely on nothing but sex appeal to sell records

      • okay? says:

        great songwriter? i could write better than that when i was 14. oh wait, that’s right she started writing professionally when she was that age (why grown people wanted to record childish songs i don’t know) and just hasn’t grown as an artist and so she still writes that way. and her “who me?” shtick plays as false, false, false. people who try so hard to be “humble” and “sweet” strike me as anything but. on top of that she bores me to tears. i don’t feel the need to compare her to other artists in other to sell me on her. It feels like most people who comment how great SHE is, just really don’t like OTHER artists. It doesn’t have to be either/or, people. It’s not either you like an oversexed tart OR Taylor Swift. You can quite easily like NEITHER!!!

  12. Chris says:

    LOL – i’m glad Adam Lambert didn’t make this list! Now please make an awesome sparkly list with him on it!

  13. WitchyWoman says:

    It was all about Adam Lambert’s return for me. Once he appeared,looking fabulous in a reprise of his 2009 AMA performance suit, and introduced One Republic, I was outta there! Sounds like I made the right choice!

  14. Penny says:

    This article gave as much respect to the AMA’s as they were due. It’s a joke award show. As for Chris Brown, he doesn’t just get mad because people keep bringing up the past. He gets mad because he’s a self entitled a$$munch. His lack of remorse has been demonstrated repeatedly. I’m glad people continue to hassle him…it couldn’t happen to a nicer person.

  15. PKP says:

    first of all, #14!! I rewound and replayed them to see if that hair moved AT ALL! fantastic!! Secondly, Chris Brown, please just go away. please. you’re an under educated misanthropic homophobe with the inability to grow up and learn when to shut your mouth. Finally, JLo, honey, we get it: you’re quite fit, but really, at 42, isn’t it time to wear clothes on stage? Actual clothing? If you’re going to be nude, why not get paid by Playboy? Its embarrassing.

  16. Elena says:

    Best of the show: Marc Anthony with Pitbull. What a voice! And allow me to disagree with your #5 point. Marc doesn’t need to “upstage” JLo. He has more talent in his pinky finger than she has in her entire ample body.

    Worst of the show: JLo’s performace and her award. Latin artist of the year? She cannot sing, period! Who votes in these things?

  17. Lisa says:

    Gee, do you think they could have forced more bad Jennifer Lopez promotions on us viewers throughout the entire show?

  18. Lisa says:

    Wow, today’s pop music is really bad. Good thing I taped it so I could blow through all of it. The only good song was the live performance of The Band Perry. Taylor Swift is always sweet and funny.

  19. Lisa says:

    Jennifer Lopez can’t sing for crap. Her award was a joke as was her singing and dancing.

  20. jj says:

    Why has noone commented on the fact that Bieber missed the “stop dancing” cue in the LMFAO number, didn’t know where to go afterwards and ended up confusedly running off the stage? Best moment of the night for me!! I’m still laughing!!

  21. Jane says:

    Anyone get the feeling Katy Perry was singing to a pre-recorded track even though it was a slow acoustic song? It didn’t sound terrible, but if she was trying to prove to people she can actually sing, I don’t think she did such a gangbusters job. I hate the autotune sound of her songs but I think she needs it. It was a weird performance.

    • murley says:

      i just returned from katy perry in concert and it turns out she really can sing. and play the guitar. and has really amazing stage presence.

  22. ChrisGa says:

    Watched long enough to see Kelly Clarkson, who killed it in typically classy fashion and reminded a few folks why she’s virtually untouchable vocally by anyone in today’s musical landscape.

  23. PSun says:

    Aren’t the winners chosen by amount of recordings sold?Then we choose the winners. Don’t like a performer? Don’t buy the CD or download the single. It was a helluva show, with the stars trying to outdo each other with crazy costumes, makeup, and outrageous performances. They sure got us all talkin’.

  24. seattlejohn says:

    the headline read …BEST MOMENTS… and then the blogger itemized 20 wonky observations trashing everybody that left me feeling they hated the show and everyone on it…??????

  25. Winnie says:

    I wasn’t born when Missing Persons had hits, but I know Dale Bozzio’s love of outrageous costumes and White Rain hairspray, so I love that reference (and have often had a similar thought when seeing many recent female pop acts). Two [claps] for you, Glen Coco!