The 2020 American Music Awards on ABC were a ratings disaster, no surprise. The show scored 4.4 million viewers in its first hour and then dropped like a rock to 3.8 and then just 3.1 million as viewers tuned out and left for “The Undoing” on HBO, football on NBC, and test patterns anywhere.
Last year’s show had 6.7 million viewers, it’s about a 45% drop.
The early bigger number was thanks to opening the show with Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes, who sang whining complaints about being rich, famous, and lonely. After that, award after award was a pre-packaged marketing chapter. The Weeknd’s head was covered in surgical tape all night, as if he were having a face lift and rhinoplasty. Why? Who knows?
Taraji P. Henson was an amiable and peppy host, but she was fighting a losing battle in the empty Microsoft Theater.
I’d say this bodes poorly for the real awards shows this winter, the Grammys and Oscars. And even the Golden Globes. This succession of “fake” awards shows has undermined interest in the real thing, that’s for sure.
But this show was particularly awful. Many of the acts lip-synched, most prominently Jennifer Lopez and Maluma, who didn’t even hide it. The few live performances were admirable. I give Katy Perry credit, she just had a baby! Her voice wasn’t perfect, but it was genuine, and she and Darius Rucker were affecting.
The presenters, however, were straight out of US Magazine, low rent, and head scratching about why they were even there. And they looked uncertain, too.
The AMAs, like the People’s Choice Awards a couple of weeks ago, were produced by Dick Clark Productions, owned by the same company as Hollywood trade papers The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, and Variety.