The American public rejected junk pop music last night in a stunning referendum. The American Music Awards scored their lowest rating ever– a 3.4–and lost to everything else that was playing on television. Apparently, even tweens couldn’t make Justin Bieber a hit, let alone the rest of the motley crew that showed up for this second tier awards bonanza.
The ratings were twenty percent lower than last year. And they reflect the fact that aside from Stevie Wonder’s tribute to Dick Clark with two songs, there was nothing for a normal person to watch on that show. Instead it was a celebration of bubblegum pop and bad acts from long ago like M.C. Hammer.
This response should give radio and record labels something to chew on. These young throwaway performers get a lot of tabloid attention, but they aren’t necessarily musicians who people over 21 want to watch or listen to. The constant spectacle of noise and fireworks, special effects and gyrating dancers is a turn off. The AMAs were simply a showcase for style over substance– and they were rejected.
Hopefully the Grammy Awards will include a variety of acts and ages– from Adele to Aerosmith to Janelle Monae and, of course, Justin Timberlake. Also, the AMAs were suspiciously devoid of Gotye and his best single of the year, “Somebody That I Used to Know,” as well as boy band phenom One Direction. But the Grammys also attract a wider following because they feature a little of everything, always mixed and matched by Ken Ehrlich (following the late Pierre Cossette’s lead) into interesting combinations.