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Opinion: AMAs show trajectory for music fame in America unpredictable

The 2014 American Music Awards highlighted “the melting pot” that is America. Most every style of music was displayed, and many different nationalities were honored.

Latino icon Pitbull was the host again this year, and he did exactly what you would expect him to do. He called himself “Mr. Worldwide” and “Mr. 305”, said “Dali” a handful of times, and did a huge performance with about 30 scantily clad women. That aside, he did a good job with his hosting duties. He was comfortable speaking and he brought attention to the Latino community, something that often doesn’t get as much attention as it should.

Taylor Swift opened the show with a performance of her current single “Blank Space.” I’m not a big fan of hers, but that doesn’t change the fact that her album “1989” is HUGE right now and it was appropriate for her to open the show. Taylor’s only award of the night was the Dick Clark Award of Excellence, which was introduced this year. It seems convenient that this new award, whose winner is apparently chosen by Clark’s family, went to the girl who is headlining NBC’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” this year. This had to be a strategic move to try and prevent people from saying that T. Swift isn’t qualified to perform.

The person with the most screen time had to have been Aussie Iggy Azalea. She performed a medley of “Fancy” and “Beg For It” and then joined Jennifer Lopez for “Booty.” Iggy was nominated for the most awards, at six, but ended up going home with two for rap/hip-hop artist and rap/hip-hop album. I was turned into an Iggy fan when she delivered her acceptance speech where she said how much it meant for her to win for hip-hop, because hip-hop music is the reason that she wanted to come to America and follow her dreams. This was an even bigger win because she won over rap/hip-hop staples Drake and Eminem in both categories, which I’m sure upset some, but to me Iggy Azalea is what the American Dream is all about.

Girl-of-the-moment Charli XCX delivered a punk-inspired performance, ditching her ‘50s-style prom dress in “Boom Clap” for a tight leather ensemble for “Break the Rules.” Nothing is quite as rebellious as smashing a large candy sucker, which is exactly what Charli did to end the show. New Artist of the Year winner 5 Seconds of Summer kept with the punk theme, doing their rendition of “What I Like About You.”

More stripped-down performances included Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande and Sam Smith, who won for pop/rock male. Selena’s performance of her new song “The Heart Wants What It Wants” was in stark contrast to the dance beat of her last album. She looked very emotional on-stage, close to tears, and mouthed the words “Thank you Jesus” during her performance. She had me wanting to give her a hug and tell her everything would be OK and curse Justin Bieber’s very existence.

One Direction went home with the most awards of the night with three, including Artist of the Year. They also performed their swoon-worthy new single “Night Changes.” I’m a fan of theirs, so I was happy with their wins, but the results are skewed. In all reality, the others nominated in those categories didn’t have a chance because the awards are fan-voted online and One Direction simply has the most active fan base on the Internet.

The show winded down with two girl-power collaborations: “Bang Bang” and “Booty.” Jennifer Lopez then closed the show with a song that most of us have never heard, “Throw Your Hair Back.” This was nothing special, and I wish the show had closed with “Bang Bang” instead because it is more relevant on the charts and on the radio right now.

In this show we saw Iggy Azalea, a white woman from Australia, win awards for hip-hop, and One Direction, a boy band put together on a reality show, win top honors.

We saw emotional performances from Sam Smith, who we hadn’t heard of last year at this time, and Selena Gomez, a Disney star turned serious musician. Pitbull, known for his Spanish accent, and Jennifer Lopez, who is now 45 years old, still manage to stay relevant.

The American Music Awards showed us that there is no formula for what is popular here in America.

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