HEAR AND NOW: The Kids are All Right: Youth dominates 2010 American Music Awards
Although the 2010 American Music Awards show was far from unpredictable, it made one thing quite clear: In addition to dominating the airwaves, the current crop of young stars has won the hearts of both the public and music critics. During Sunday's broadcast of the awards, Rihanna sizzled, "Bieber Fever" took over and Taylor Swift debuted a new look.
Twenty-two-year-old Rihanna opened the show with a medley of three songs from her new album "Loud" placing the starlet in the company of past AMA openers, including 2009 performer Janet Jackson, and establishing her as one of the night's stars to watch.
The set called to mind a futuristic tropical paradise in outer space, both capturing audience's attention and suggesting that Rihanna clad only in a very skimpy skirt may have been trying too hard. Her voice was not brilliant, as she strained to get through the medley. I question whether or not Rihanna has what it takes to stay relevant in the years to come all her music is starting to sound the same.
Nevertheless, she walked away with the award for Best Soul/R&B Female Artist a well deserved honor given her status as a radio staple and her status as a young musician.
Justin Bieber, surely the artist of the night, performed his new acoustic track "Pray," from his forthcoming album "My Worlds Acoustic," slated for release Nov. 26. Although the performance was more down-to-earth than what we have come to expect from Bieber, he still maintained the "Bieber Fever" quality that young girls love and the masses respect.
The 16-year-old pop phenomenon started his number singing and playing the piano without the usual auto-tuning or dance moves. This came as a surprise I didn't think Bieber played instruments, let alone wrote his own music.
In "Pray," Bieber laments the struggles young children have to face all over the world and prays for a better tomorrow. These heavy lyrics and the accompanying projected images of starving children and orphanages mark a departure from Bieber's usual M.O. of singing about his young attempts at love. Still, the choir that came out to sing the refrain with Bieber gave the performance an inspirational feel that almost brought me to tears.
Bieber stole the show emotionally and racked up four awards the most awards of the night beating out even Lady Gaga and Eminem. He is the youngest artist ever to win the Artist of the Year award and also received Best Pop/Rock Male Artist award, Best Pop/Rock Album award for "My World 2.0" and the T-Mobile Breakthrough Artist award.
Taylor Swift who last year, while not in attendance, won five awards including Artist of the Year made an appearance Sunday with straightened hair and newly cut bangs, dressed in a metallic mini-dress. The 20-year-old Swift surely looked hot, but still classy and clean-cut, with a splash of her young innocence.
Her performance of "Back to December" was a typical Swift performance subdued, yet powerful. Swift also rightfully won Best Country Female Artist an award that could not have gone to anyone else. Lately, any country award has Swift's name on it, and she will probably be back next year to pick up a few more.
Although this year's AMAs had its share of older winners such as Usher and The Black Eyed Peas the younger artists made their voices heard and their presence known. We have yet to see whether this generation of young stars will continue to dominate award shows, or if even younger stars like Willow Smith will come up and replace them in the future.