Remember when the EMAs mostly consisted of VJ Simone on the red carpet in some ludicrous latex affair being crushed by various members of Die Toten Hosen? She’d slur something terrifically intoxicating into the camera, it’d cut back to an unawares Ray Cokes having a scratch before finally treating us to Jovanotti and his three hour drumming extravaganza. (Ah Europe! You so crazy!)
How times have changed, whereas once this little ramshackle affair would be packed to its dayglo rafters with all sorts of delightful Eurotrash from the Vengaboys to Ace of Base, Aqua and Dr. Alban lounging around in silver parachute pants, waiting for Robbie or Blur to perform, now you’re lucky if even one award recipient or act can speak two languages (text speak doesn’t count…thanks Jessie J).
Over the years the operation has become more slick, more bland and most definitely more crashingly boring. The ‘E’ in EMAs may as well stand for ersatz now. It’s a tidy affair, using the same cast of empty moon faced characters from this year’s VMAs, rather than drawing on the wealth of talent to be found in the city they’ve decamped to. Would it have killed the ratings if they shoved in a bit of Cashier No.9 for a headspinning ‘whatthefuckwhowerethey’ moment? Or even bloomin’ Two Door Cinema Club live from somewhere exotic with shades on…instead we’re treated to that little known act Snow Patrol singing a slightly different variation of the same drippy song they released five years ago.
Wait…THIS ONE HAS KEYBOARDS!
Even Gary Lightbody looked comatose half way through the performance or maybe that was narcolepsy brought on from all the excitement the new ploppy keyboard solo brings to their tepid dirge.
The main show itself was like a bizarre tribute to the earlier VMAs but with less unpredictable celebs and more awkward silences. Oh look, there’s button nosed Sparkle Motion cutey Selena Gomez hosting (shifting up a gear from her red carpet duties on this year’s VMAs) and there’s her little tufty-headed Romeo, Bieberface doing a twirl. Aw. Neither of them can say ‘Northern Ireland’. CUUUTE. Bieber wisely avoided mentioning his wooden snake this time around lest any Internet crazy claim the reptilian effigy impregnated her in a 30 second backstage tryst. He did however manage to do a performance so inconsequential and utterly forgettable that it actually seemed like we’d moved back through time and were watching a frosted tipped Aaron Carter slip about the stage untroubled by yokel family deathmatch worries, a time where Lindsay Lohan had never been inside a courtroom and Hilary’s surname was not yet a fact.
Alas, this is 2011, an age where the half transmogrified Crow Woman that is Jessie J is able to squeeze her overgrown noggin in everywhere. If she wasn’t jumping out of an exploding safe (oh why wasn’t it locked!) she was gurning up into the camera lens poking her street signs into the eyes of the oldies at home, next she was winding her pipe cleaner body around David Guetta like a hairy piece of chewing gum on a rat-faced tramp, then she was off to have a real, genuine ‘moment’ speaking about her inspiration Amy Winehouse. That scrotey Jive Bunny boy Bruno Mars did Amy’s last ‘tribute’ at the VMA’s and now this? Hasn’t the poor woman’s memory been desecrated enough? It’s as if Jessie is making up for lost time, when she hobbled around the stage at the VMAs suffering the indignity of singing for less than half a second before being faded into an ad break. Now she’s back and will never leave. Ever. Unless someone wants to hire her for a Shakespeare’s Sister tribute act….
Other acts that didn’t include the ubiquitous Ms. J in some way,were the even more annoying version of the Black Eyed Peas, the pathetically monikered LMFAO, who arrived onstage in what could only be described as a giant zebra print toilet, because that’s where the KERAZY party is at kids, down the crapper anointed with the accidental urine of Fergie. Then there was the opening act Coldplay who gamely tried to inject a bit of their Glasto performance into the Odyssey,as the crowd held up their twinkly glo-sticks and Chris Martin did that silly backward hopping dance thing and then, well, nothing happened other than the fact that they looked a bit like a coloured-in Simple Minds with a guitarist that sounds like he’s assaulting a bagpipe. Ho-hum.
The atmosphere went from bad to terminal with the arrival of the aforementioned Bruno Mars, every one’s favourite wedding singer/ex-member of Showaddywaddy. In a just world Mars would have been a S.A.W. one hit wonder; a smoochy, squashed up Nick Kamen who would have disappeared as soon as his pompadour went flat. Unfortunately due to the desolate waste ground of pop he has managed to carve out a career as a sinister little git whose songs are ripped directly from the pages of Cosmopolitan. The type of tunes that Rohypnol-carrying sleazebags serenade a wayward pissed teen with before the black out. He’s even made ‘insecure girl songs’ a genre now, with One Direction tripping over themselves to capitalize on the vulnerable.
The question on every decent pop-lover’s lips was, where were the show-stopping girls? In the past the European award shows usually promoted a variety of close to home talent, so why the absence of Nicola Roberts, Florence or even Cher Lloyd to de-Yankify the proceedings? Perhaps the quota had been filled with Jessie J’s 20 performances. At least Gaga was there, yes? Gaga is always entertaining isn’t she? She usually is, if you can see her. For some infuriating reason, what could have been the performance of the night – Gaga as a human satellite-slave chained to an enormous moon (literally ‘marrying the night’..) – was hampered by the fact that the cameraman decided, as a tribute, to shoot the entire song from the moon looking downwards at the tiny blond speck that was Gaga. Nice shots of the back of the Odyssey though, yeh there was nothing really important going on up there, only the biggest artist of the show (and in the WORLD) trying to shoot some rocket-fuelled fun into the proceedings. We all much preferred looking at the back of some randomers heads. With a mere handful of close ups at the finale she might as well have stayed in her tracksuit bottoms and not bothered to have gone to all that effort.
Thankfully, when the awards were being doled out she stuck around to treat us to a myriad of face covering head ornaments, there was the sexy Ferrero Rocher, the Gramophone, the Lizard Queen and the Orderves Tray. It was no Jo Calderone moment but at least she remembered the pop memo of being outrageous and tried her best, crawling up the stage in a ridiculously tight skirt to a giggling Bar Refaeli and then having to ask her to help her up, it was the Gaga-as-Joan-Rivers moment especially when she turned all ‘New York’ feisty when a nervous Bar forgot to deposit her award. A bit of eye gouging would have been welcome but alas…
For every Gaga moment there was an award show clanger, like the dubious pairing of WWE wrestler Stephen Farrelly and actress Ashley Rickards which was straight out of the Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood school of cringemaking presenting but none was more tragic than the fake streaker that ran across the stage during Hayden Panettiere’s speech, hardly Sir Iggy jumping into the unsuspecting Dublin EMA crowd with his wrinkly knob on display that’s for sure. If you have to fake controversy the show is over – just ask Louis Walsh.
Thankfully it finally was with the most outmoded, bloated ending to a disjointed night of yawn inducing deja vu. Yes, the award show for the youngest and hippest of kids ended with Queen featuring Adam Lambert…it was as if the Brit Awards from 1987 had quantum leaped into the Odyssey to make sure that the night went out with a predictable cliché bang. See you next year…