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Michael Jackson's American Music Awards nominations: Unfair?


Music award shows are never the most current barometers of pop music. By the time the big galas get around to airing on television, many of the albums nominated date back to the prior calendar year.

The cut-off period for Grammy eligibility this year was Aug. 31, ensuring that all the major holiday releases, from Jay-Z to Leona Lewis, will not be represented when nominations are announced Dec. 2. But this year's American Music Awards completely throw the concept of an eligibility period out the window.

Michael Jackson's "Number Ones" will compete for favorite album in the pop/rock field against Lady Gaga's "The Fame" and Taylor Swift's "Fearless." Both of the latter have a decent shot at being represented at the upcoming Grammy Awards, but the latter won't feature any albums from Jackson.

That's because his "Number Ones" was released back in 2003. What's more, the album is simply a greatest hits compilation, featuring only a pair of songs actually released this decade. Regardless of retail impact, a 2009 award show should be restricted to albums actually recorded within its recent history. At last check, Jackson has already won plenty of American Music Award trophies for the songs on "Number Ones," including an artist of the century accolade in 2002.

A segment or two honoring Jackson would have been a better way to recognize the King of Pop's contributions to music. The MTV Video Music Awards opened with a tribute to the star, and the 2010 Grammy Awards will surely feature some sort of Jackson memorial. Yet giving the artist posthumous awards, especially when said artist hasn't released an album of new material since 2001, seems an unfair slight to today's current crop of pop stars.

If Jackson wins three or four of his five nominations (Pop & Hiss predicts a sweep), then the entire American Music Awards telecast will feel very much a tribute to Jackson. If reflecting the current sales landscape is purely the objective, then the American Music Awards succeeded at representing what is selling.

And yes, old and new fans are discovering Jackson's music in the wake of his June passing -- his "Number Ones" currently ranks as 2009's bestselling album, according to Nielsen SoundScan -- but an outpouring of sales and appreciation shouldn't come as unexpected after the death of such a legend.(To be fair, the American Music Awards are based on sales and radio data from Nielsen.)

In a fan-voted contest such as the American Music Awards, current pop stars such as Swift and Gaga probably don't stand a chance. Yet if fans thought it was an injustice that Kanye West had the audacity to interrupt Swift accepting a "Moon Man" at the MTV Video Music Awards, then they should be ready to riot if she's now losing awards to artists who haven't had a new song in nearly a decade.

-- Todd Martens

Photos: Michael Jackson at the 2002 American Music Awards. Credit: Getty Images. Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV VMAs. Credit: Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (160)

Haha this is a hater right here haha shows the talent of a genius to get awards for something brought out years ago

Unfair? Yes. But the AMA's are just a popularity contest anyway, and pretty meaningless as awards shows go. So... whatever.

MJ is iconic, yes, and that's because there is mega talent there. All summer I wanted to know how his albums were doing and had to check EU sites because Billboard relegated him to their catalogue albums -- even though he was outselling everything. I'm tired of having to read the fine print to see what/who the top selling albums, songs, artists are in various categories. There are many people only just discovering Michael Jackson. Keep things simple. He's a top selling, popular artist who qualifies for the AMA's. His stunning talent should continue to be recognized. It doesn't stifle others -- it gives them something to aspire to!

AMA's go by record sales, people.

This awards show is based of consumer reports, so therefore if Michael Jackson is awarded then he definitely deserves it. This just goes to show that you simply cannot dismiss the talent and genius behind the music, whether new or Old. His oldest and newest fans whom he loved dearly have spoken.

I love MJ but this is just too unfair. If I had to predict the winner for that category it won't be a surprise. The AMAs is a joke.

"...then the entire American Music Awards telecast will feel very much a tribute to Jackson" - exactly, and this is how it should feel. All the esteem he gets is absolutely deserved.

I say yes for Michael Jackson AKA Prince Charming. Don't people get it, he doesn't have to continue to make new music because what he has already made gets sounds better as time goes on. So his music ALWAYS sale and sound good no matter how old it is, hell I'm still listening to his music when he was 12 and 14 years old. "Who's loving you" 'ain't no sunshine when she's gone" "music and me" they should be up for nominations too. When you listen to his music you just keep falling in love with him.

I would like to see Taylor do a remake of one of MJ's songs and perform it at the award show. She could pull it off and it would be a great tribute.

hahaha give the stoopid award to Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift...who cares, they'll be nobodies next year anyway.
What MJ has done for American popular music there is no award for!
That whole show should just bow down to MJ much like what MTV, BETA, GRAMMYS have done.

You Know what Michael might not write new songs, but history tells a story. We all one day will die and become history. May be Michael jackson will live forever in the Guinness book of records and on Hall of Fame as his name is there. Don't take him for granted because he has died physically. We his fans love MJ dearly and will always love him forever more. His body decomposes but his soul is in a better place. He endured tribulations, but God loved him more. Even in death Michael Jackson conducts lots of love from his fans. We love the guy. We will all decompose one day ask yourself, when all is done and you decompose where will you be with your hatred? Michael rested gossip and lies against him, but his music we ares till buying and will live forever more bless his heart.

The AMA are following their rules. If they had excluded the best selling album of the year that would have been unfair. The fact that this article is even written proves the hypocrisy of some people. This is not the first time an older album had outsold current material yet that is not mentioned.

If he is eligible he should be included. Maybe hearing his music may inspire some artists to improve the quality of the garbage that passes for creativity that is on the airwaves now.

Why are you suggesting fans riot against a dead man? Semsationalize much?

Personally, I feel that MJ has brought more to the music industry than Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga. It SHOULD be a tribute to Michael Jackson...there will never be anyone bigger than him.

what, is MJs fault that hes selling better than those crappy new artists?? give me a break! everything, everything about Michael Jackson is wrong according to you people, if some white king of rock and roll were the one nominated you would be praising him!!!

I believe it is fair based on how the AMAs rate their nominees. If they go by record sales, then MJ won and thus deserves to be nominated. It just reflects how wonderful and iconic his music is that something he wrote 20 plus years ago beats out the... so-called "music" we're stuck with now.

Love MJ.

Yes, the AMA nominations are fair. I mean GMAFB. Michael Jackson worked his effing ass off for four straight decades to achieve the kind of recognition and fame that he achieved. The man could SING. This is something to be said when you consider some of today's artists who actually have gall and determination, but truthfully CANNOT SING. Not really. Michael actually had A VOICE. Not true of many artists today. He deserves all the recognition he can get. Michael sure had talent. He had a gift directly from God in terms of vocal ability, dance ability, and composing ability. Not many artists of the current decade can claim that with a straight face. Michael deserves every ounce of recognition he can get.

Songs that Michael Jackson released twenty years ago sound alot better than what most people are releasing today!!! His greatest hit albums are selling better than most artist today could even dream of!!! If he wins more awards to add to his collection then he deserves it!!!!!! Rip MJ

It is fair, michael deserves, why wouldn't he?

If the AMAs are based on Neilsen (which sucks @ counting anyways) & radio play, MJ still shouldnt be nom'd. Yes he got alot of radio play in July bc he died in June. Yes he got alot of sales. But for the period of oct 2008-october 2009, did MJ really dominate? Did he? I doubt it. No doubt for that period it was gaga & taylor swift.

A tribute is more than warranted but giving him awards is stupid. MJ EARNED his awards in life. 2 give him awards just bc he died diminishes his legendary ness(i know that isnt a a word).

Also, please add one of those "click here to be notified of reply comments" buttons to this blog please.

The American Music Awards are based on sales and radio data from Nielsen!!!
Michael is the biggest selling artist this year. A CD full of songs from 10, 20, and 30 years ago is out selling artist like The Black Eye Peas, Lady Gaga and many others, it should tell everyone that the current state of music is sad and horrible. And that makes me as a consumer sad as well.

I think the nomination is unfair. Michael Jackson hasn't released an album of new material this year, so he shouldn't be eligible. He has had major success in his lifetime. Since he didn't release any new music to compete, I think it's only fair to give other, more current artists a chance.

_In a fan-voted contest such as the American Music Awards, current pop stars such as Swift and Gaga probably don't stand a chance._

So if fans vote, did fans vote for MJ 2 be nom'd? When were the ballots send out anyways? If fans were to vote I KNOW they woulda voted for gaga & swift & beyonce--not MJ--as their music was what was released.

I dont think it's unfair
AMA is about sales and michael is the best selling artist of the year so far
I can feel the venom seething from this writer
I dont care if the songs are old or not.it is still better than the computer generated tunes by all this young artist moreover mj's music is being rediscovered by young ones.My teenage children loves him more than all your so called new artist that deserves all the nomination.
The media witch-hunted him but they didnt realise he had millions of passionate fans.
I have never voted online for an award but already voted for him and made my husband vote too.

What are you people talking about? How should he get awards for not doing anything in the past ten years?

The Beatles sold a ton of albums this year with their reissues, wouldn't it be a tad strange for McCartney to be taking Get Back and winning an award with it? And this "Number 1" isn't even a reissue. It's a SIX year old album.

Michael Jackson fans can say what they want, but the guy was a weirdo who hasn't had a NEW hit single since the 90's.

It's time for him to get out of the spotlight, which has been caused because HE DIED, not because of what he has contributed to music in the last 15 years.

His family is a bunch of money grubbers too. They tried releasing a 20 year old song that Paul Anka half wrote as a new song from Jackson. Hilarious.

First Obama, now Jackson....the Year of the Joke!

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