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AMAs 2011: Swift wins top prize, LMFAO leaves a bad taste

November 20, 2011 |  8:28 pm

LMFAO & Bieber

Taylor Swift was named artist of the year at the 2011 American Music Awards and thanked her fans numerous times before admitting that she "has no idea what to say." Swift had reason to be surprised this time. She wasn't the favorite here, because Adele's "21" is the top-selling album of the year and the AMAs are nothing more than a popularity contest.

Yet Swift won favorite country album for "Speak Now," the second time she's won such an award at the fan-voted proceedings. "I ended up writing lots of these songs at 4 a.m. and on tour buses and wrote it by myself, so the fact that you would honor it like this means a lot," Swift said. Elsewhere on the award tip, male pop chameleon Bruno Mars won favorite male artist, and Adele's "21" was named favorite pop/rock album

Earlier in his performance, Drake didn't spend a lot of time at the American Music Awards. With his album "Take Care" no doubt set to debut atop the charts this week, his performance here was assured and reserved rather than a victory lap. Drake performed "Headlines" and was backed wtih a live band and a stage outfitted in little more than red lights. 

"Headlines" may not be "Take Care's" strongest cut, but it's one in which Drake shows off his swagger more than his emotional turmoil. "I guess it really is just me, myself and all my millions," Drake rapped, an artist who isn't enjoying his hip-hop spoils so much as increasingly becoming a loner because of them. 

Later, Black Eyed Pea will.i.am performed his "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)" with Jennifer Lopez. Each artist was essentially black lighted, but it couldn't hide will.i.am's love 'em or hate 'em silliness, with lyrics in which he claims he will call Jesus to defeat your demon pal and declared that one could work or be the boss, all while electronic effects bounce and squiggle. It all went way south, however, when Mick Jagger was shown on an out-of-sync video attempting to act relevant.

And then there was the grand finale, hyped all night as one not to be missed. Instead, it was little more than reason to never take the American Music Awards seriously. In fact, I practically feel as if I should now apologize on behalf of Pop & Hiss for devoting any space on the Internet to justify a show that did little more except shorten everyone's life by three hours. 

LMFAO, consisting of two of the most privileged boobs in pop music (Redfoo is the son of Berry Gordy and SkyBlu is his grandson), sang their novelty club hits "Party Rock Anthem" and "Sexy and I Know It."

The performances did nothing to redeem the songs, filled with long out-of-date house music trappings, and some of the most offensively inane lyrics ever written (it's super sexy, apparently, to compare love-making to cleaning shower pipes). Justin Bieber came out to dance but only soured his reputation by associating himself with LMFAO, and later David Hasselhoff, who stopped being an ironic joke (his most endearing trait) about a decade ago, was a surprise guest. He stood on stage and shook in his underwear. A coworker, watching because he's a fan of the backing dancers, said, "What the heck is going on?" *Shrug* 

And scene. 

Oh, one other thing happened: Daughtry performed. 


Drake takes cautious approach to stardom

Pitbull: America's savviest party starter?

Critic's Notebook: Adele’s quiet power amid the pop girl riot

— Todd Martens

Image: LMFAO & Justin Bieber. Credit: Reuters