Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Sunday TV: Commercial Pop vs. Country And Guess Who Wins? (And I’m Not Even a Country Music Fan)


What a sad state of affairs for Top 40 pop music stars. They went head to head with country music all stars on Sunday TV. Guess who won? (Oh come on, guess.)

The pop stars were on the I Heart Awards, an infomercial on TBS for what used to be called Clear Channel Radio and Live Nation. The country stars were on the Academy of Country Music Awards on CBS.

It doesn’t matter who won which award, because all the “winners” were present and planned, especially at the I Heart Awards which were tightly scripted. The ACMS were probably the same, but the contrivance was less pronounced. It also helped that the country stars performed live, or at least what looked like it. The I Heart Awards performers brought lip synching and singing-to-track to new heights.

Knowing these two shows would be going up against each other, there were trade offs. Pop star Katy Perry sang on the ACMs with Dolly Parton. So country star Brad Paisley appeared on the I Heart Awards. Each show got a Jonas brother–Nick was on the ACMs and Joe ate “Cake by the Ocean” on the I Hearts.

In the case of the latter, let me say thank goodness. “Cake By the Ocean” was the only number on that show– with Nile Rodgers on guitar– that actually seemed alive. Others, like Zayn Malik, appeared to be in trances. Justin Bieber was particularly zombie like.

The oddest moment of the I Heart commercial– Bono and the Edge accepting the Innovators Award. They were the oldest people in the room by 50 years. No mention was made of their bandmates Larry Mullen or Adam Clayton. I do think Bono actually said, “Rock the vote,” which made him sound like everyone’s grand-dad. But U2 are signed to Live Nation in a recording/touring deal, so it was a fait accompli.

Meanwhile, Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez sat at the main table like judges in a singing contest, waiting for their turns in the show. At another table sat the I Heart Radio- Clear Channel folks. It was like they were presiding over a bar mitzvah. And for some reason, there were cutaways throughout to sports announcers. Very strange.

Over at the ACMs, I came and went, trying to watch the “Walking Dead” finale. Is Jeffrey Dean Morgan blackmailing a lot of people in Hollywood? He’s on every show. He gave a long boring monologue toward the end of the episode, so I switched back to hear Miranda Lambert sing the heck out of “Tush” with Billy Gibbons and Keith Urban. I also caught Dolly Parton– so much plastic surgery, it feels painful– and Katy Perry sing “Jolene” and “9 to 5.” It was all worth the wait.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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