A major reason I watch the Billboard Music Awards is because it’s the perfect indicator of how out of touch I am with contemporary pop music.
Each year, the detachment grows. Eight years ago I could have probably guessed every song that was on the Billboard Hot 100 at any given time without looking.
In the years that followed, I tried my best to stay in the loop just because I enjoyed keeping up to date with pop culture.
Now I don’t even care anymore. Pop music has evolved in a way I never saw coming, and it’s totally left me behind.
Until yesterday, I thought Fetty Wap was an item on the Taco Bell menu. Turns out, however, he’s a rapper. I’d mock him more, but I also learned that he has glaucoma and it cost him one of his eyes. So you’re cool, Fetty. Or is it Mr. Wap? Either way, I’ll leave you be.
And while the festivities at last night’s awards show got off the worst foot possible with a hideous Britney Spears lip-synced medley, the show was actually sprinkled with a few poignant and enjoyable performances.
Lukas Graham impressed me with his live rendition of 7 years. I’ve never actively listened to that song, but I’ve somehow heard it at least 20 times. And yet, he sounded really good live.
But the show clearly belonged to Celine Dion, who was honored with the Icon Award, and delivered a powerful performance of Queen’s The Show Must Go On, an appropriate choice considering that her husband, Rene Angelil, died just four months ago.
Celine doesn’t get enough love for having one of the best voices in the world. And yeah, I’ll admit it, I keep My Heart Will Go On on my iPod at all times, because you just never know when you’re going to want to listen to it. You just never know. So I play it safe.
Arguably the biggest surprise of the night was when Ke$ha — the mastermind behind Tik Tok and We R Who We R, who has been caught up in a whirlwind lawsuit of alleged abuse from her producer, a case that’s gotten so much media attention that it actually earned my sympathy — performed a solemn, stripped down version of Bob Dylan’s It AIn’t Me Babe.
And let’s be real — the performance wasn’t anything extraordinary. But it was an organic, honest and raw performance from a girl singing from her heart. And that’s all you can ask for in music. She ditched the Auto-Tune, and showed the world she has a capable singing voice.
Last time I apologized out of sympathy. This time, I apologize out of sincerity. So much so that I will hereby drop the money sign from your name, Kesha. That’s how much you’ve won me over. Nicely done.
And finally, the show was wrapped by a tribute to Prince in a way that tributes should be done — simple and genuine.
There was no Lady Gaga busting out nine different David Bowie songs in five minutes. Rather, it was Madonna singing Nothing Compares 2 U, and then joined by Stevie Wonder for a duet of Purple Rain, two of the late musician’s most recognizable songs. Another job well done.
So despite having to tolerate Ludacris, who has the personality of an unsharpened No. 2 pencil, as host of the show, I actually .. enjoyed … watching the Billboard Music Awards this year. At least some of it.
Mainly because Fetty Wap really caught my eye this year.