2014 American Music Awards Nominees: Let’s Celebrate Staggering Mediocrity!

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Now that the Summer has come to an end, awards season is ready to swoop in and create enough buzz to convince the masses of their relevance despite absolute saturation and arbitrary designation. The American Music Awards, no stranger to controversy, has announced its 2014 nominees, with Iggy Azalea leading the pack with six nominations.

Azalea is up for Single Of The Year, Favorite Female Artist – Pop/Rock and New Artist Of The Year. She’s facing challengers 5 Seconds of Summer, Bastille, Sam Smith and Meghan Trainor, and given that none of them have gigantic jiggly asses, we’ll go ahead and assume Iggy’s going to take this one.

Miss “Fancy” is also among the ten artists up for the top honors of Artist Of The Year, with Luke Bryan, Eminem, Imagine Dragons, John Legend, Lorde, One Direction, Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams and Beyoncé rounding out the list.

Speaking of Katy Perry, the “Firework” singer is nominated for five awards, including Single of the Year and Favorite Female Artist – Pop/Rock. This edges out Beyoncé, as Mrs. Carter is up for three awards including Favorite Album – Soul/R&B and Favorite Artist – Soul/R&B.

All that is fine and good, as are the full list of nominees below. But for Favorite Alternative Artist, the selections are Lorde, Bastille and Imagine Dragons. Alongside Favorite Pop/Rock Band (Imagine Dragons, One Direction, OneRepublic) and Favorite Album – Pop/Rock (Lorde, One Direction, Katy Perry), the selections are a bland, milky run of mediocrity that represents the absolute lack of danger, risk or musical evolution in the coprorate-driven musical climate of 2014. 

When “selling out” is a trite historical concept in the free-for-all of 360 deals, big-box artist alignment and a public who has fewer and fewer guidelights in the notion of actually connecting to a piece of music in a viscerally passionate way, this is what we get. We’re left with a wide range of safe, soft artists who serve no arc of longevity, not a hint of artistic innovation to be found. 

Is Bastille going to ever make a worthwhile mark in the industry? Is 5 Seconds of Summer actually a real thing? Are One Direction or OneRepublic on track to be the next U2? Actually, scratch that, we don’t want another U2 – at this point we could do without the one we have. These songs have no meaning, and the artists pushing them are cogs in a machine that looks glossier than ever as the nuts, bolts and springs fly in all directions. The bar has been lowered to a point of mind-numbing mediocrity, where all that matters is the ability to stick a barbed hook in the listener’s mind. And I’ll be goddamned if I ever listen to that “How am I gonna be an optimist abouuuuuuut this?” song again.

We can do better than this. Even the shitty American Music Awards can do better than this. Until then, Bo Burnham’s got this entire game on lockdown:


The show airs live Nov. 23 on ABC.

Check out the full list of nominees on Page 2.