Brutal honest reviews of every AMAs 2021 performance including BTS, JLo and Olivia Rodrigo


With a clever blend of senior superstars including Olivia Rodrigo, Mickey Guyton, Meneskin – and Jennifer Lopez and Carrie Underwood, the 2021 American Music Awards set the stage for a multi-generational performance.

In a twist this year, AMAs brought some artists back to their roots, as Underwood and Jason Aldean joined Nashville, where they began their careers and performed at Kane Brown’s home state of HBCU Tennessee State University.

As is typical in the three-hour event, some tasks were captured but others stumbled.

Here’s how all AMA performers performed from bad to worse.

16. Coldplay and BTS, ‘My Universe’

The technical mess of performance. This is the first live performance of Coldplay and BTS on their beloved Sweet Hit, but if they always sound this awful, it will be their last. We knew the vocals were live because they were off-key and beat the rest of the band. Neither the eager frontman Chris Martin nor the disciplinary BTS could save this bouncing wreck, only to be made worse by the stupid jumping as flash pots exploded at the merciless end of the show.

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15. Walker Hayes, ‘Like a Fancy’

The traveling country singer-songwriter made his No. 1 debut. 1 capitalized on the dancing craze with hip-shakers chasing around the stage with a viral hit. Hayes, who paused the word “Who’s” and entered the artist’s room in front of the stage to sing to his wife, made much use of all the elements of the new song.

14. Chloe, ‘Have Mercy’

Chloe performs "Have Mercy."

In a white dress full of cutouts, Chloe Bailey of Chloe x Hawley fame (apparently you graduated to Umlatt after going solo) took the stage with a group of female dancers. He made his debut single at the VMAs in September, but this time he added twerking and splits because he put out a sultry look.

13. Kane Brown, ‘One Mississippi’

Beamed by HBCU Tennessee State University, the newly minted Arena Star presented their single, released last summer, that wraps with more country elements than their crossover work. With violins and applause, the chorus powered the mid-tempo chugger, while Brown, in a splattered-paint pullover and jeans, walked down the walkway to beat fans with lyrics.

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12. Tiny with Bad Bunny and Julieta Venegas, ‘Low Sciento BB: /’

Bad Bunny will display "Sorry BB: /".

The world premiere of Latin music producer Tiny’s upcoming album “Data” took the approach of the future. Bad Bunny sits in a complex-looking contraption, we have an official name, a white hood that closes his eyes with a camera lens, but the face of Venegas appears on the video tablet as she sits behind the piano. Tiny meanwhile, hanging out in the smoke pool behind his nearest keyboard, let out a melody to the song’s stirring groove.

11. Carrie Underwood and Jason Aldean, ‘If I Don’t Love You’

Performing as a soundtrack from Nashville to the two-day professional hometown, the country’s powerhouse has incorporated vocals on their hits from Aldean’s new album, “Macon” (named after him in Georgia). Aldean was seated behind the piano, but underneath her usual enthusiastic belt in an underwood thigh-laced black gown.

10. Tyler, The Creator, ‘Massa’

The rapper stood in front of the house with fake snow, performing in white shorts with socks pulled up. As he dug deeper into his lyrics – “Mom was in the shelter when ” Yonkers’ dropped … when I pulled her out, it was the moment I knew I had done it” – the camera moved closer, allowing viewers to feel his intensity. At the end of the song, he pulled a scooter taken from his new album, “Call Me If You Get Lost,” as Tyler picked up a case, lifted up, and zoomed.

9. Mickey Guyton, ‘All American’

Mickey Guyton performed "All American."

Backstage in the thigh-high black boots, the country star performed the song of her involvement in front of the giant American flag. With her booming voice and charming smile, Guyton played her two backing singers during the song, which is filled with straightforward lyrics about unity. Guyton was genuinely touched to perform as she flashed kisses to the audience and gratefully patted her chest.

8. Olivia Rodrigo, ‘The Traitor’

Olivia Rodrigo performed "Traitor."

For their AMAs debut, the rising star kept it simple, playing acoustic guitar on a jagged swift-ion ballad. “It took you two weeks to get out / go out and date her / imagine you’re not cheating / But you’re still a traitor,” Rodrigo sighed, her all-female band kicked behind her. Expressing a lot of pain and emotion, he increased the octaves and, thanks to a simple arrangement, proved why he could be nominated in this week’s Grammy nominations.

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7. Joe Weiss, ‘Girls Like Us’

The 19-year-old German singer, whose music presented the “Song of Soul” moment at the Spotlights show of mental health issues. Banda-clad Weiss gave a heartfelt delivery of a declaration of loneliness and confusion.

6. Jennifer Lopez, ‘On My Way’

Performed by Jennifer Lopez.

The always glamorous multi-hyphenate took the unpretentious route to a new single in her upcoming film, “Marriage.” With the backing of the orchestra and the help of a cool costume tweak behind a massive video screen, Lopez devised a Feel-Good Ballad with Conviction. Her melodic vocals perfectly match the song and its gorgeous bridge marks another glossy hit on her resume.

5. Given, ‘Heart Attack Anniversary’

Given will perform on stage.

Like the modern-day James Ingram or Ne-Yo, the R&B singer, who rose to prominence on the songs of Drake (“Chicago Freestyle”) and Justin Bieber (“Peach”), is a man who knows his way around the senses. A ballad. The audible screams from the crowded women threatened to drown his creamy vocals as he strolled down the sidewalks, hitting some falsetto notes and flashing many killer laughs.

4. Silk Sonic, ‘Smokin’ Out the Window ‘

Bruno Mars and Anderson’s Pet Project .Pack opened the show with their current throwback hit. The pair took turns gliding around the stage – Mars sporting his ubiquitous sunglasses – in his burnt orange velvet suits, accompanied by two backup singers, giving the temptations to the show. Nothing about Silk Sonic is particularly creative, but it’s hard not to appreciate his dedication to being soft.

3. BTS, ‘butter’

Naturally, gliding around the stage in yellow suits, the big winners at the AMAs cheered the crowd – including the very engaged Joe McIntyre – who threw his radio smash without seeming effort. Trading the vocals and spreading across the stage and catwalk, the group glowed with their fluid dance moves complemented by their heavenly vocals. (Megan Thea Stallion was tapped to perform a “Butter” remix with BTS, but quit her show on Saturday, referring to “unexpected personal stuff.”

2. Moonlight, ‘Begin’ ‘

A remake of the 1967 hit of The Four Seasons – giving away their global smash for the first appearance of their US awards – Italian rockers wore snazzy black tuxes for the occasion. With its serrated guitar, glam and more European charisma, the quartet (whose name means “moonlight” in Danish) injected the much-praised rock n roll. Strobe lights flashing with flying hair enhanced the catchy chorus of vintage hits.

1. New version and new kids on the block

In the segment built on nostalgia, two of Boston’s oldest boy band behemoths – New Kids on the Block and New Edition – did not “battle” as advertised, but provided 10 minutes of uncontrollable joy. NKOTB first hit the block with “The Right Stuff”, wearing different forms of black and dancing perfectly. She cleared the stage for a new version, beautifully dressed in colorful fedoras and pea coats, making the sextet groove to “Candy Girl”. Both groups – which included the original members – sounded crisp and well rehearsed. The dance crowd included a shot of BTS, who was definitely thinking, “We’ve been there 25 years.” Transactions between the groups include NKOTB and the silky mashup of “Telephone Man for Mr. New Edition” and “If It Is Not Love”, as well as “Please Don’t Do” and “This Is The End”. No one was surprised to hear that the teaser was a skillfully choreographed stage for a 2022 tour with two pop powerhouses. We all belong.

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