The Billboard Music Awards are just the worst. They don’t even make any pretense of handing out awards based on anything other than chart performance, so everyone knows who’s going to win beforehand and winners don’t even bother to act surprised. They rarely get anyone worthwhile to show up to this thing, and they always have completely shitty hosts and nonsensical award-presenter pairings. It’s like the American Music Awards without the class, if you can imagine that. I’m not sure why they hold these awards just a couple of weeks after the AMAs, but they don’t end up looking good in comparison. I watched anyway, and here’s how it went.
8:00: Green Day does a show-opening performance, something they already did this year at the VMAs; the Billboards are straight biting! Does Green Day have time to do anything in between award-show appearances these days? They even showed up at the fucking VH-1 Big in 05 Awards, and nobody goes to that shit.
8:06: Host LL Cool J, wearing a ridiculously shiny purple-on-pink suit, goes the daring route of forgoing jokes and instead just shouting stuff. He also teases performing “Mama Said Knock You Out” and then doesn’t do it. Like an asshole.
8:09: The non-singing, non-rapping members of Linkin Park should not be allowed to read words off teleprompters ever.
8:10: Lil Jon accepts an award for “Lovers and Friends.” He does not apologize for it.
8:16: Since Arrested Development has been cancelled, does the Blue Man Group have any reason to continue existing?
8:18: Three 6 Mafia, in (I think) their first award-show appearance since bringing baby bottles of syrup onstage at the Source Awards five years ago, introduce Ciara and completely flub their lines. This is amazing.
8:20: Ciara looks really stiff and uncomfortable doing Rhythm Nation choreography on her medley of “Goodies” and “1, 2 Step.” She also makes the regrettable decision to actually sing instead of lip-syncing.
8:23: An award show is in trouble when it lets Hulk and Brooke Hogan onstage.
8:32: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Nick Cannon’s ass-ugly plaid golf shorts, but I really don’t know what to say.
8:34: Wacky presenter-pairings don’t get much more awkward than Larry the Cable Guy and Chingy, who try really, really hard to interact with each other. It’s painful.
8:37: Toby Keith’s new single is just as goofy as every other Toby Keith single of the past couple of years. Nice use of a horn section, though.
8:40: The announcer promises a performance that has the internet on fire. Is Dipset here?
8:45: Fox is even more blatant than ABC about installing the actors from its shows as award-show presenters. Emily Deschanel?
8:48: In a truly bizarre moment, Ashlee Simpson and Pretty Ricky collaborate on a song. It’s terrible, but it’s still the best performance of the night thus far just based on pure what-the-fuck novelty appeal.
8:57: Pharrell must’ve done some serious string-pulling to get Gwen Stefani to let Slim Thug onstage with her. She grinds on him and everything! I do not understand how Stefani is any kind of fashion icon; she looks like a clown. This song is garbage.
9:04: A Tom Petty tribute video, complete with sepia-toned stock footage and a British narrator, comes beamed in from some other, more tasteful award show. It’s completely out of place on a show this shrill. Petty is looking like a zombie these days.
9:12: In a banner moment for goofily theatrical decadence, R. Kelly, dressed all in white and smoking a cigar, sings “Slow Wind” next to a pool while steam billows up all around him and like forty women in bikinis grind. Amazing.
9:23: Pharrell doing reggaeton sounds like a bad idea. Guess what! It is a bad idea. At one point, Pharrell says “motherfu,” which is followed by about ten seconds of complete silence. A minute later, the same thing happens when Daddy Yankee is rapping, so maybe he said “motherfu” in Spanish.
9:26: Young Jeezy, Pamela Anderson, and some fat lady present an award together in a truly awkward moment.
9:36: Carrie Underwood gives a performance that would’ve been eviscerated by the judges if it had actually happened on American Idol. Also, she does not sing “Jesus Take the Wheel,” which is a problem for me.
9:46: Kanye West wins Artist of the Year. There’s going to be a whole lot of this for the next month or two. In his acceptance speech, Kanye says something about his grandmother surviving hip surgery, says he still thinks he’s the greatest, and struts offstage. Vintage Kanye.
9:50: In accepting an award, Mariah Carey tells Slash that he’s “so wonderful” before reading a list of people to thank from her Palm Pilot.
9:58: LL promises an all-star singalong on R. Kelly’s Katrina-relief song, but no, it’s just R. Kelly and a gospel choir. Kelly is, however, playing an acoustic guitar painted like an American flag and surrounded by interpretive dancers. At the end of the song, he holds up a lighter while recordings of Katrina victims play, and it comes off way more hokey than it should. The song is really good, though.