If I came to you and said, "I have an idea. In addition to all the admiration, attention, free gifts, travel opportunities, and oh yeah, money, pop stars receive for having hit records, let's top things off by giving them trophies," you'd call me a genius, right? I mean, really, it's time to put the celebrate back into celebrity. Famous people are so maligned!
Unfortunately, I can't take credit for this wonderfully humanitarian endeavor -- the good people at Billboard thought of it first.
Obviously, the Billboard Music Awards are nothing but a chance to get some publicity for the magazine and sell some ads. Unlike the Grammies or American Music Awards, which pretend that artistic merit (whatever the fuck that means in pop music) plays some role in the selection of awards, the Billboard Awards are advertised as nothing but a popularity contest -- if you top a year-end chart, you get a trophy. It's so simple that even 50 Cent gets it. "Billboard is special to me, actually, out of all the awards shows, 'cause they actually based on the actual performance of the material. It's not a lot of politics and everything else involved," said 50 via cellphone while accepting his Ringtone of the Year Award. A ringing endorsement!
But anyway, since the highest sellers/most-played artists of the year were all rounded up in one room during one two-hour broadcast, the show provided easy access for checking in on the state of pop music. And really, who am I to avoid an easy target?
In order to treat this popularity contest properly, here's a rundown in yearbook-senior-superlative style:
Most Misunderstood: Green Day
"This song is not anti-American, it's anti-war!" said Billie Joe as he and his band opened the show. And then . . .
And furthermore . . .
. . . huh?!?
Great guys, way to get that message out. And who says politics have no place in pop music? Go liberalism!
Most Dramatic: Gwen Stefani
I wish I could hate Gwen as much as I want to, but the truth is, I love her. Well, I lovehate her because she makes being utterly annoying so fascinating. She performed "Luxurious," which is a fluffy little Isley-sampling ballad equating material possessions with decadent love.
Why then, did she look in pain throughout the performance? Is she talking about the payback . . .
. . . or her backdoor?
And I'm not just catching between-expression weirdness:
Really, is it that deep?
Most Clueless: Gwen Stefani!
"Thank you so much to all the fans that went out and bought the, uh, the song," she said accepting an award. The award was for the most downloaded song of the year.
"Honey, go out to the computer and download me a song, please. I'm too tired."
Cutest Couple: LL Cool J and Amaury Nolasco
Hot like pastrami!
And speaking of pastrami:
What a sandwich!
Seriously, I know that Daddy Yankee is shorter than my cats . . .
. . . but I would not kick him out of bed. He can sleep between my legs!
Most Versatile: Shakira
Why is it that Shakira looks like every celebrity that's ever existed? I see notes of Mariah Carey, Sheryl Crow, Lisa Lisa, Halle Berry . . .
. . . old-school Ruthie Camden . . .
. . . any number of Monchichis . . .
Most Miraculous: Ciara
For wearing this outfit and not once showing signs of cameltoe, Ciara, I salute you!
. . . or should I say, Janet?!?
Class Clown: Nick Cannon
Not 'cause he's funny, see . . .
. . . but because of those damn shoes!
Most Down: Ashlee Simpson
She performed with Pretty Ricky and fit right in.
B.L.U.E.T.A.R.D.s, all of 'em.
I hereby reject the peace offering. It's on, bitch!
Preppiest: Lil Jon
I bet he didn't see that one coming!
Most Likely To Succeed and Be a Total Bitch About It: Mariah Carey
She was all mellow and cool while accepting one of, like, five trophies she won. And not humble mellow. Uppity mellow. Mimi, no one's forgotten about Glitter and everyone's forgotten about Charmbracelet. You can go right back where we put you. Don't get snotty.
Class Crazy: R. Kelly
I love that R. Kelly can perform a faux-reggae sex track in front of pool filled with a gaggle of hoes (and lots of pee, no doubt) . . .
. . . and then, less than hour later, hit the stage for another performance . . .
. . . holding a guitar painted to look like the American flag (is he the Naked Cowboy?) . . .
. . . while interpretive dancers got more dramatic than Gwen. This number was "Let Your Light Shine," one of his inspirational numbers (a la "I Believe I Can Fly") that he wrote in response to the hurricane tragedies.
Just one question: how the fuck can you let your light shine if you don't have electricity?
Thanks for clearing that up, Robert!