Gaga’s Oval Office Affair, Miley’s Kitty, and Timberlake vs. Silverman Top List of AMAs’ Most Watchable Moments
photo: Lester Cohen/WireImage
No one would usually describe the performances on the American Music Awards as "a race to the top." Yet for the better part of the three hours, more artists than not seemed determined to keep it classy, including several who've been known for pushing TV's sexual boundaries in the past. There was an obvious reason for that. The attention whores of the decade, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga, were booked to close the show. So while Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera, and J.Lo have all certainly had their controversial moments in the past, they knew better than to risk being knocked for failing to beat the current queens of pop at the shock-value game.
So were Miley and Gaga worth the nearly three-hour wait? And did the 2013 AMAs deserve "Wrecking Ball," or deserve a wrecking ball? Here's a recap of the show's highlights:
1. Lady Gaga and R. Kelly feign political scandal. Gaga must have really liked doing sketch comedy on Saturday Night Live, or maybe she's just a big "Trapped in the Closet" fan. Either way, her "Do What U Want" couldn't have been sillier, as she played Marilyn Monroe to "President" R. Kelly, barging into the Oval Office and telling the least reliable commander-in-chief ever that he was more than welcome to command her.
Weirdly, the segment broke with its presidential theme at the end so that we could see some historical footage of Gaga playing the piano as a preteen. The message: Practice hard, young ladies, and maybe you can grow up to tell a guy famous for facing child-porn charges to "do whatever u want" to you.
2. Miley Cyrus gets catty. Cyrus sang her heart out on the show-closing "Wrecking Ball." But who was listening when there was so much mental parsing to be done of what was happening visually? It wasn't even so much about how little her two-piece left to the imagination. Rather, as Cyrus stood uncharacteristically still, the screen behind her had a computerized cat face mouthing the words of the song.
There was a sort of evil genius at work here. If you were to point out that the image behind Cyrus seemed obviously designed to bring to mind a certain vulgarism for the female anatomy, she could accuse you of being the one with the smutty mind. We wouldn't want that, so let's all agree that Miley's visual design represented a return to "Hannah Montana"-esque — no, pre-"Hannah" — innocence! Whew.