American Music Awards: Best and worst moments, from One Direction to Coldplay …

23 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Justin Bieber closes American Music Awards 2015.

LOS ANGELES – British boy band One Direction swept the top honors at Sunday’s American Music Awards, while a sorrowful tribute to the victims of the attacks in Paris lent a somber note to a night of otherwise vibrant performances. One Direction was named artist of the year for a second consecutive year, and also won the best pop/rock album for a third consecutive year, with the album “Made In The A.M.” “It’s absolutely incredible to receive this award two years in a row.

Fellow pop star Ariana Grande — who won the award for Favorite Female Artist for the Pop/Rock category — nodded and sang along from the audience, but one familiar fan was missing as the camera panned to the starstruck audience. Bieber, who won best collaboration with Diplo and Skrillex, closed the night with a medley of his hits, including “Sorry,” “Where Are U Now” and “What Do You Mean.” Purple laser lights beamed from the stage as the singer danced and sang for the loud audience. Earlier in the night, One Direction also won in the Favorite Pop/Rock Duo/Group category and performed their new single “Perfect.” The Weeknd won the evening’s first award as his Beauty Behind the Madness took home the Favorite Soul/R&B Album award, a category that was presented by a guitar-toting Prince. The twosomeshowed plenty of affectionon a stroll through Beverly Hills Friday after Bieber serenaded the 23-year-old singer at a hotel bar Friday belting out “My Girl” by the Temptations and his own hit, “Sorry” as Gomez watched front and center at the Montage Hotel. The pop stars showed up to the AMA red carpet separately — Bieber clad in a Nirvana T-shirt while Gomez dressed to impress in a sleek sequins red dress.

Unlike the irreverent antics of MTV’s Video Music Awards and the industry prestige of the Grammy Awards, the fan-voted AMAs offer up the year’s most popular music acts, with a spotlight on performances. “Star Wars” veteran Harrison Ford introduced five-piece a cappella group Pentatonix, who put their vocals to John Williams’ iconic “Star Wars” score, along with a full orchestra on stage. Jared Leto, who introduced Dion, said his band 30 Seconds to Mars recently performed at the Bataclan, the Paris concert hall where 89 people were killed in the Nov. 13 attack. “Make some noise for Prince, ladies and gentlemen,” the singer said after picking up favorite album – soul/R&B for “Beauty Behind the Madness.” Nicki Minaj was also a double winner, taking home favorite artist and album – rap/hip-hop. She encouraged her feverish fans to “find their voice.” “I want to just thank you, the fans, for allowing me to change and have a different voice every time I come back out (with a new album),” Minaj said. “And please find your voice and find your purpose before it’s too late. The Weeknd set the stage on real fire for his performance of “The Hills,” while Coldplay brought out dancing monkeys on a psychedelic stage for “Adventure of a Lifetime,” and Walk The Moon started a dance party with their hit “Shut Up And Dance.”

Love you.” Other girls at the awards show encouraged their peers: Zendaya and Hailee Steinfeld danced excited as Selena Gomez performed onstage; Fifth Harmony and Rebel Wilson sang as Demi Lovato was in strong form with “Confident”; and Gomez sang as Grande performed “Focus” in a shimmery number. The ceremony opened with host Jennifer Lopez and an army of dancers grooving to a 10-minute megamix of 2015’s biggest hits, from Fetty Wap and Taylor Swift to Ed Sheeran and the Weeknd. That was followed by 5 Seconds of Summer’s Duran Duran-inspired “Hey Everybody!,” Selena Gomez’s vampy “Same Old Love” and Nick Jonas’ show-stopping medley. Other highlights included Alanis Morissette performing Jagged Little Pill’s “You Oughta Know” with Demi Lovato, the debut of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ powerful addiction ballad “Kevin” with Leon Bridges, Gwen Stefani sharing her breakup anthem “Used to Love You,” Pentatonix’s Star Wars tribute and Justin Bieber’s ceremony-ending, rain-soaked victory lap.

However, the most moving moment of the AMAs came when Celine Dion delivered a stunning rendition of Edith Piaf’s “Hymne A L’amour” to remember all those killed and injured in the Paris terror attacks. Everything on TV last week retroactively fell under the shadow of what happened in Paris on Friday, which made the weekend shows feel like either a welcome escape or an act of mass commiseration.

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver kicked off with the host addressing the terrorists with, “Fuck these assholes.” Saturday Night Live — coming back strong from last week’s Trump debacle — served up both remembrance and relief, with a touching bilingual nod to France. Oddly — or appropriately — this was actually a good week for small-screen escapism, thanks to kick-ass action from a pair of effects-heavy adventure shows, some long overdue comedy from a beloved duo, and a strange trip into the thoughts of an eccentric movie star.

Show creators’ return to sketch comedy. (Seriously, thank you, Netflix.) Comedians don’t get participation medals, however, and the duo’s new show, W/Bob and David, wouldn’t have been so welcome if the old gang weren’t still funny. Yes, not every single gag lands in the series’ too-brief four-episode run, but when the troupe hits on a good idea — a “no-nonsense” TV judge replaced by one who tolerates some nonsense; an anti-police harassment activist encountering a friendly cop — they perform the bit with the precision timing of an atomic clock.

Show career serves him well here, with his richer acting experience bringing more depth to sketches like the one where his “bad cop” is sensitive over what his “good cop” partner says about him to crooks. And in one of the best new sketches, the local news reports on the death of a previously unknown member of the Beatles, as a philosophical man-on-the-street wonders, “If you had an invisible third arm that was paralyzed, would you miss it?” The pairing of Odenkirk and Cross is like that metaphorical third arm. Set in 1979, at a time when the Gipper was on the campaign trail, this week’s episode — “The Gift of the Magi” — brought him to southwest Minnesota, where he delivered a stump speech so heartfelt that it choked up the local anti-government cynic Karl Weathers (played by Nick Offerman).

On some other shows, Campbell might’ve been asked to do a broad, cartoonish Ronnie; here, he’s so convincingly sincere that even lifelong Democrats may wish they could go back in time and vote for him. Fargo’s second season has been telling an intricate story about the waning days of the 1970s, musing about how hippies and down-home crime families alike were steamrolled by the promises of big-time capitalism. The show’s also been exploring the freaky side of this particular time in American history, evoking the prog-rock, UFOs, and macrame fringes of the Me Decade — all by way of explaining how a former Hollywood actor became a viable presidential candidate. Who better then than the physically sturdy, unnervingly square Campbell to play a man who pledged to lead the country into a future meant to reflect our imaginary past?

TV fight sequences have become more kinetic and visceral over the past few years — we’re looking at you, Daredevil and Strike Back — but rarely have top-quality punch-outs and slice-ups been as much of a selling-point as they are in AMC’s new postapocalyptic martial arts extravaganza. The show has a capable lead in American-born Chinese movie star Daniel Wu, and features a suitably out-there premise, about a not-so-distant future controlled by ruthless “barons” and their sword-wielding “clippers.” But while there’s not much here that should disappoint (or, frankly, surprise) genre fans, there’s a reason why each commercial break during the series premiere was preceded by a teaser for the next round of bloodletting.

That’s because the most important name in the Into the Badlands credits doesn’t belong to Wu, or even creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, but to fight choreographer Ku Huen Chiu, who’s previously worked on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the Kill Bill films. HBO gave us Going Clear, Tales of the Grim Sleeper, How to Dance in Ohio, and Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, while Showtime has come through with Mormon bigamist exposé Prophet’s Prey, and now this peek inside the Method actor’s mind.

The latter actually has a lot in common with the Cobain film, in that it too taps the private archives of a pop-culture icon to let him tell his story in his own words. In the case of Marlon Brando, director Stevan Riley had access to caches of audio-tapes of the eloquent, thoughtful actor, who later in his career became more reclusive and more inscrutable. The doc spans the star’s career, giving as much space to his string of 1960s flops and his enthusiasm for Tahiti as he does to On the Waterfront or The Godfather. Pretty much the only voice here is the big guy’s, which makes the movie feel like a frank, personal behind-the-scenes look at what drove an oft-mercurial man.

From the scenes of a handsome-as-hell young Brando hitting on lady reporters to the tapes of him talking about civil rights and showbiz phoniness, Listen to Me Marlon captures what made this actor so difficult to those who knew him intimately, and so beloved to those who watched him raptly from afar. Season Two has required a lot more set-up, with episode after episode of new characters popping by hype up the Machiavellian alternate-Earth speedster known as “Zoom.” All of that finally paid off last week in a long visit from the ultimate rogue and some peak Flash action. Even before the Big Bad zipped over from Earth-2 to pummel our hero into near-paralysis, this was a packed episode: a jailbreak by tragic antagonist Dr. Light; a hilariously awkward Zoom-baiting ruse involving Light’s Earth-1 doppelgänger; and multiple attempts by the newly psychic Cisco to pick up “vibes” from the morally questionable scientist Harrison Wells. “Enter Zoom” sported the brightness, humor, and camaraderie that’s been setting this show apart from its much grimmer DC-derived brethren Gotham and Arrow (not to mention Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D).

But the episode also gave us a lingering look at a seemingly unbeatable foe, which could lead to some nerve-wracking but entertaining complications for Barry Allen and company in the months to come. Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again.

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