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Billboard Music Awards 2012: Recap and Commentary

Let’s start with the positive: Billboard Magazine provides an extremely useful and necessary service to the music industry, by compiling the data and crunching the numbers to come up with the music sales and airplay charts. I’d never want to suggest otherwise.

But as far as award shows go…let’s just say Billboard would be better off just crunching the numbers. Billboard Music Awards 2012 was mostly a waste of television air time, serving mainly as a live commercial to promote artists’ current music projects, and little else.

If that sounds a bit harsh, consider the following:

  • The suspense surrounding each “award” is pretty much contrived. There really are no “nominees,” because nobody’s voting. The awards are given according to the numbers (record sales, downloads, radio airplay charts, etc.), and the person with the best numbers in each category gets the award—period. The only exceptions to this are the special awards, like the Millenium Award (given posthumously to Whitney Houston) or Woman of the Year (given to Taylor Swift this year)—and those awards are also predetermined. Thus, if Billboard wants to give awards based on the data, it could have given all these awards in an hour-long show, rather than stretching it over 3 hours—and they’d still have had time for a few performances.
  • The show itself was filled with gaffes and snafus. Examples include Julianne Hough trying to give an award with no microphone, and the even more glaring decision to cut off Natasha Bedingfield’s tribute to Donna Summer and go to commercial break. Granted, they were trying to fit two unexpected tributes into the show (i.e., Donna Summer and Robin Gibb, both of whom passed this week); but the way they chose to handle Donna Summer was tasteless and disrespectful—not to mention unprofessional.

Really, the only redeeming factor in last night’s show was the Whitney Houston tribute, performed by John Legend and Jordin Sparks. Both performances did the late singer justice, and Sparks’ rendition of “I Will Always Love You” was as close to the caliber of Houston herself as any I’ve heard.

As far as the awards themselves, here’s how the numbers crunched this year (and really no surprises):

 

TOP ARTIST: Adele

TOP HOT 100 SONG: “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO (feat Lauren Bennett and Goonrock)

TOP BILLBOARD 200 ALBUM: Adele 21

TOP BILLBOARD 200 ARTIST: Adele (um, isn’t this a bit redundant?)

TOP DUO OR GROUP: LMFAO

TOP NEW ARTIST: Wiz Khalifa

TOP MALE ARTIST: Lil Wayne

TOP FEMALE ARTIST: Adele

TOP TOURING ARTIST: U2

TOP ROCK ARTIST: Coldplay

TOP COUNTRY ARTIST: Lady Antebellum

TOP POP ARTIST: Adele

TOP SOCIAL ARTIST: Justin Bieber

TOP R&B ARTIST: Chris Brown

TOP RAP ARTIST: Lil Wayne

TOP ALTERNATIVE ARTIST: Coldplay

TOP LATIN ARTIST: Shakira

TOP DANCE ARTIST: Lady Gaga

Ironically, most of the awards mentioned above (and a number of others) weren’t even given during the 3-hour-long televised portion of the program. Additional awards were given for top albums in each genre, plus awards for digital downloading, streaming, radio airplay and similar groupings. (If you want the whole list, it’s available at the Billboard Music Awards website.)

That said…between the Grammys, the AMAs, People’s Choice and numerous others, I’d say we’ve got quite enough music awards shows, thankyouverymuch. Billboard retired its awards show back in 2007; it should have left it in the pasture, as far as I’m concerned.


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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

David Tillman is an independent composer/arranger whose primary work involves writing jingles for commercials for radio and television, with several film and television placements to his credit as well. David has a fascination for all things related to the music business and the music industry in general, an obsession which his wife finds to be mildly unhealthy at times. His personal tastes in music are in electronica and industrial rock, and include The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and Nine Inch Nails (he loves that Trent Reznor is writing soundtracks!). When not in his office or in his man-cave, David enjoys skiing, hiking, the occasional game of golf, and sometimes just lounging by the pool. David lives with his wife and three children in Los Angeles, CA.

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