Five Good Things:
1. Contortionists handing over the award envelopes. Freak damn.
2. The setup. It's a bit redundant to comment "the venue looked nice" in reference to a music awards show (particularly the EMAs, where the design always ressembles a futuristically-minded Euro-club), but the dome-pod was saturated with neon (reminiscent of the look of Daft Punk's now legendary Coachella show) and the stage was stacked with so much smoke, light, and rapid-fire, motion-heavy camera work that every live performance came off like a ready-to-air music video. A feast for the eyes, to be sure.
3. The host. Justin Timberlake was snarky, arrogant, conceited, backstabbed his friends and touring partners (remarking "sorry, I fell asleep for a minute there" after Xtina's absurdly long and boring taped acceptance speech), foul-mouthed (at home with Snoop and Justin), and rude ("who's sexier, me or the Hoff?"). In short, he was quite brilliant.
4. Rihanna. She took "Pon de Replay" (a nothing song with a nothing tune and a nothing vocal) to #2 on the sole basis of a Jay-Z rub. Then it was all "to hell with the nouveau Caribbean chic", replaced by more conventional R&B singing/production and a "Tainted Love" sample. Voila, "SOS" was deservedly a huge #1 hit. The KISS principle applies here.
5. Depeche Mode winning for Best Group ... but I have to deduct points for Andy Fletcher's acceptance speech. I mean, there was nothing wrong with what he said, but come on -- ANDY FLETCHER? That's like advertising an appearance by Aerosmith, and having one of the non-Joe Perry/Steve Tyler members show up. I like AF, but his top qualities don't include acting as the face of the band. So now we need one more "good thing" ...
5a. Snoop and Pharrell pimping out in audacious fur for their outdoor performance of "Drop It Like It's Hot". Snoop belongs on every awards show. Maybe we can even digitally insert him into past awards shows.
Five Bad Things:
1. Who the fuck are the Kooks and why are they winning awards for being the best band in the UK + Ireland? And does Poland have nothing better to offer than Blog 27 (worst name ever, plus it's 2006, surely there are better idols to have than Shampoo)?
2. The "Free Your Mind" campaign ... good intentions, terrible execution. Amateurish video clips where your favourite celebs look un-airbrushed and sloppy, while pushing a catchphrase that is distantly related to the issue at hand makes for a campaign that will go down in flames worse than "Vote Or Die" did.
3. "Maneater" ... awesome track, but Nelly's rock-soaked, tattoo-laden performance screamed "Pink was a no-show".
4. "Crazy" winning for best song. Let's review. First, the song was considered underrated, with people wondering why it wasn't a huge hit and when it would finally be released as a single in the US. Then it received a wide release and became the year's most overrated underrated track, essentially the musical equivalent of World Series go-go-Clutcheroo David Eckstein these days. Then it became overrated, as I tried my best to convince myself that it was ever a good song to begin with. Now it's just an ordinary song that I really don't need to hear ever again. I'm sure it'll be all over the radio in the lead up to the Grammys though.
5. 2006 Eurovision winners Lordi "tearing down the house" in the most embarrassing attempt at scary/freaky rock as the close of an awards show since White Zombie's ramshackle performance at the American MTV awards several years ago.