« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

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)

Go MJ Go!! I hope he wins everything - he was a music legend - he had it all as far as talent goes and the (American) press and public ripped him to shreds throughout his life - I hope now he gets every bit of recognition that deserves and more - - - - he was (is) simply the best. I am listening to all of his music and loving every bit of it.

"AMA's go by record sales, people."

Eh.. not really. From the AMA website: "For the third year in a row, winners will be determined by online voting at www.amavote.com and www.mycokerewards.com, which will be live the day of the nominations."

Anyways, I hate to burst anyone's bubble.. but there's no doubt MJ will win. If it's based on voting.. and his immense sheepdom following isn't large enough to convince you, you can be certain his sheep will find ways to vote 5 times each, lol.

His is one rear that will be kissed... affirmatively (evermore).

I don't think he should win, IMO. He's dead, and hasn't contributed any music for about a decade. Yes he made some good songs. Yes, he should have been awarded for his achievements, that's why he WAS awarded, celebrated, etc.

This is now. Not then. The now has artists who are as deserving of spotlight and awards... as he was, ya know?

if he hadn't been victim of a homicide he could be here to present new music. He is so much more representative of the best that the current sellers pale in comparison. Just watch a video and then compare any to anything MJ did.

He isn't in the league of Lady GAGA. rather, gag me with a spoon. What has pop become, weirder and wierder hairdos and gimics, hip hop about drugs street violence. Not music. Not talent.

Actually this is quite unfair, they should have done this while Michael was still alive! He deserved to be honored while he was around to enjoy it! I think it's great that an album released that long ago can still compete with new material, just shows how awesome Michael was!


its absolutely fair since the parameter for this award is records sales. and why is the media always picking on every thing concerned with MJ. why cant the media for once admit that he was a great artist and deserves his due atleast now aftre his death. All the media did when he was alive was bash him, and even now they havent stopped. what happened to fair and responsible journalism?

MJ sold millions of records, broke barriers, influenced artists and pioneered many many firsts in the industry. And again this award is for number of record sales and if MJ's music achieved this then he deserves to be nominated.

There's nothing unfair about it, since it's based on scanned album sales and Number Ones is the top selling album of the year. None of the other artists have the talent and quality that MJ did. Eminem might be the closest, if his lyrics weren't so raunchy. Taylor Swift has a beautiful voice, but she's a lightweight. Lady Gaga is talented, but sounds & dances alot like Madonna, plus one of her videos is a knock off of Bad. If one of the Beatles albums ranked at the top, it would get nominated too. They rank high collectively, but not individually.

Good for the award show and good for publicity that you would write this -- MJ is an icon in American (nay, World) music and think that they should simply provide some honor that is separated from all other artist...because that is what he was to the music world. As to his nominations and the criteria -- well, this has been anything but a conventional year when it comes to awards...and who is receiving them!

MJ is the greatest musician/entertainer of all time and he deserves the spot light given his untimely passing. However, we need to also recognize the many other very talented artists and musicians who have also contributed this year and so I hope he receives some recognition, but certainly not all...

I know some people find it "unfair" for Michael Jackson to be included ..and some have mentioned why not The Beatles . First of all he's in the category of best male Pop artist. And he IS the King of Pop....and should he have lived would have been making a comeback. This takes nothing away from Taylor or Lady Ga Ga. Also as it has been said If he deserves to win...Why shouldn't he? Say what you want but he put alot of work into his music and shows. His videos weren't
just thrown together as most are. Please at least give credit where it is due.

Can you really shaft today's pop stars? And I say that as someone who is young enough to still be a target audience even if I'm on the old end of young. Seriously, Jackson like Joplin, Hendrix, Robert Johnson, Hank Williams Sr. and countless others from all music genres is one of the irreplaceable greats. There will be plenty of pop stars but never another Michael Jackson just like there will never be another Elvis. That's no shaft to today's artists; just the truth. And if they're any good this won't be their only shot at an AMA.

these awards are a bunch of crap anyway, who gives a damn?

Micheal Jackson was the best all for Micheal Jackson there will Never be another Micheal Jackson he is the KING OF POP and always will be NO one can stand up against Micheal Jackson!

You admitted in your article that the basis of the award is the number of sales and radio play time in the year, so, why are you bitter and whining that Michael Jackson's album was nominated though you agreed he met the mark?

If MJ's album is the highest selling, regardless of when the album was released, it qualifies. Or, are you unhappy that people prefer his 'old' music to the ones of today?

Give credit to Michael Jackson. He is a performer and highly talented even in death.

American Music Awards are based on sales and radio data from Nielsen

Get that into ur brain Todd and stop whinning!

MJ rulesss....hope he will win!

A desperate grab for ratings by the American Music Awards.

I'm amazed that the AMAs, like Sony/AEG and their rush-released "This Is It" movie, aren't being held responsible for this shameful piggybacking on Michael Jackson's tragic death. Whatever happened to a period of respect before cashing in?

Michael deserve these awrads,,,,i vote for Michael Jackson.


Hey Dan! I would like to see you write new songs while being in the mess MJ was put in. I would like to see you put on a jolly smile while being accused of all sorts of horrible things and see people take off with your hard earned money and live the good life!!. Oh yeah and dont't forget all the damage he had to take because he's "weird". Those thiefs don't have to worry about the media and can live on quietly. Not to mention his kids that needed his care...nope I think he did the right thing not going back to showbizz in the last years.

Actually, I think it is fair, but who REALLY missed out on the AMAs this year (and has a similar musical success story to Mr. Jackson) is Whitney Houston. Her new "I Look To You" album was released before Jay-Z "Blueprint 3" album, so she was obviously eligible. Whitney has won more AMAs than any other female performer, so I find this as a shock given it's strong debut and lots of good press. It's a shame; Whitney's new singles from her album isn't crossing over to youth-obsessed Top 40 radio and has little promotion since Oprah, and is focusing on Europe instead; thus limiting her comeback potential. Her album has minimal auto-tune and very good lyrics by 2009 standards! Her Oprah and recent European live performances shows that she can still wow audiences.

UNFAIR?? you kidding me?? Who topped the charts this year?? MICHAEL JACKSON! need I mention all of he's albums were in the TOP 10 chart?this year (!) who's making headlines? MICHAEL JACKSON. don't hate the man coz' his everywhere, You can't blame him if he's the only one who can resurrect buying PHYSICAL ALBUMS, raise TV ratings, magazines and newspapers.

for all I know Michael Jackson has been resurrecting & saving Industries when he's alive and even now that he's gone.

Legends never die and Michael Jackson didn't die he was IMMORTALIZE!

stop whining and complaining that your sick of hearing/seeing/reading about him or other MJ related stuff you can't blame the man and his genius. If you can't handle it then die already nobody would give a damn.

Who could ever replace Mr. Jackson?

Michael Jackson is greater than any new music talent that came out in the last 3 years. Don't kid yourself people. I think it's unfair for anyone to have to go up against Michael Jackson, prepare to be tremendously defeated.

i think its fair..michael is the best...
He's the best forever..n until now..
he have recently released new music too..
"This Is It" and many more ...
i cant wait for his new album!!!
He is the best..

now if the nobel crowd could only follow suit

Michael Jackson would be the star of the nation if he were still alive,his This is it concert would have been the talk of the nation not because he is the KING OG POP but because no matter what Michael Jackson has done he always made it all about the fans. He could have threw in the hat and he could have told everyone to kiss his butt and went off and enjoyed his kids but he didn't he loves his fans and he loved to perform. We let him down we let him go into hiding for so many years believing that he was able to do the things that were being charged against him. The truth is Michael Jackson is the star and he will continue to light up the nation because he may have left us but we have the POWER to keep him alive. So lets vote for him to win them all. He did not have American Idol He was the one and only MICHAEL JACKSON VOTE VOTE VOTE Michael Jackson

I'd really like to see this poll and comments section anywhere outside of L.A. Come on people, this is a joke. MJ doesn't deserve an award for any music released after 1991.

AMA nominations = Corruption

« | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 | »


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Recent Posts

Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: