November 23rd, 2009
02:21 PM ET

American Music Awards: bandages & bondage wear

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Nobody died and dubbed me the arbiter of all things fashionable, but I can spot a "don't" pretty easily, and last night at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles, there were plenty to go around. In fact, there were so many, like J.Lo, you could have tripped on them. Let's take a "trip" down memory lane.

Janet, "Miss Jackson" if you must, looked like a Crate and Barrel couch that had too much bedazzling.

Speaking of bedazzled, Shakira's shorty black number made Janet's look positively dowdy with all the sparkle and glitz. It was sort of a latex, LED tube dress that fit her like a glove. The hips don't lie.

Rihanna is usually lauded for her ensembles, and while I don't always love the '80s outfits she dons, I can appreciate her ability to pull them off. So what happened last night? Rihanna was covered from neck to ankles in what looked like a white velour "onesie." You know, sort of like little kids pajamas. It was offset by horizontal cutouts that looked like tan stripes, which one person described as a glorified Cinnabon and another termed "Ace bandages." She was wearing a short white shrug that looked like football shoulder pads with spikes jutting forth.

Lady Gaga... you expect a dramatic look from her, it's part of the schtick. But her weirdly proportioned nude leotards, oddly wrapped with the accessory of the night, "Ace bandages," offset by a contraption that looked like a ribcage with Christmas tree lights, and very "Alienesque" headgear were beyond the pale. I kept looking at those straps trying to figure out why they were there and what they were hiding.

Carrie Underwood always manages to look extremely pulled together, which is why I was surprised to see her off the mark Sunday night. She wore gold lamé hot pants, with a side drape (think curtains) that did nothing for her figure and made her hips look way out of proportion. Black versions of the "Ace bandage" criss-crossed the lamé from hip to shoulder and she wore silver ankle boots. Silver and gold.

Jennifer Lopez is another woman who normally looks very elegant. In this case perhaps she was channeling her inner borough with the boxing theme. She jabbed her way through the audience wearing a short, silky robe, then dropped it to reveal shorts cut like those you wore in the '70s. You know the ones I'm talking about, with the white piping... they never looked good on anyone. She was no exception: as she sang "Louboutins," I kept trying to figure out what it was about this bizarre "Thunderdome" outfit that appealed to her. Her second costume was borrowed from a page in the Carrie Underwood book, the hot pants blown up into gold stiff bloomers. Then J.Lo slipped, the world "Twittered" and west coasters had to see it on YouTube. Note to J.Lo: don't dance in the Louboutins. They are made for sitting on barstools.

Alicia Keys took the ever-popular black leggings and paired them with a shorty black jacket emblazoned with gold chains that ran from shoulders to hips. Lots of movement and Forever 21. Leggings show off every flaw, by the way.

I'm not asking for the ladies in the house to look the same, and certainly with risk comes reward. But I'm not sure there was a lot of payoff  for what these ladies paid out. Full disclosure: I am sitting here writing this in jeans and a hoodie. I'll remind you that I don't get paid to perform on stage, just write about it. Call me a "hater," but was there anything on that stage that appealed to you last night? If so, I'd really like to hear it.


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soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Scott

    Absolutely on the mark. I think they must have ran out of outfits and raided the first aid cabinet. That's the only plausible reason that these outfits would look so horrible.

    November 26, 2009 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. Cari

    You are hitting the mark on all of these. No one could say it all better. Great job

    November 25, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Barbara

    The worst outfit of the night was Kate Hudson...what was that?? She looked like she had a boys body below her head.....I was embarassed for her. It's ok that she has no chest but come on!! I was so disappointed in Adam Lambert, he didn't have to do that BUT my theory is that he wanted to just get people talking WHICH WE ARE!! Mission accomplished.....now do something good Adam. Rhianna, Whitney, Mary J, & Lady Gaga.....,TERRIBLE. Jay-Z and Alicia were great, also Carrie Underwood sounded pretty good as did Fergie.

    November 24, 2009 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Helen Cramer

    Hooray for all the above comments to which I whole heartedly agree. So happy to know there are still some intelligent folks out there. AMA was a complete nightmare and I'm glad I was able to awake from it all. As for Adam's Debut – what a disgusting introduction. When one has talent they don't need to resort to implicit sex. These folks all call their inappropriate behavior as "pushing the envelope". What's next porn in the flesh? Some role model for the kids. No wonder the kids are all on the wrong track today.

    November 24, 2009 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. denzo

    Shock and Awl!!!! Thank goodness I have a remote with mute! what was the theme of this years event anyway? I thought that the costumes were leftover from a runway shoot that was tossed out to the public to swallow and the designers were in the back taking high fives and sweating bullits. If I ever hear another "rap" song that takes that long to deliver I want to sign up for some waterboarding or a root canal.So,did Rascal Flatts look over joyed when they won their award?? Talk about being out of your element.Run Forrest,run!! Did A-Rod need anymore gum in his mouth?? or did he think he was still in the dug out waiting his turn to bat? What did he have to do with music? Entertainment, I think not.Ican't wait till next year to see what will be used to torture our retinas and make our ears bleed .Where is the Gong Show when we need it?

    November 24, 2009 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  6. LLA

    No doubt 100% dead on awful. All of it. I thought I had just woke up from a coma and something dreadful happened to fashion and music. I know I'm getting old...but there is still such a thing as "CLASS" and "STYLE" and "TALENT". BUT I SAW NOTHING HERE – NOPE, NOT A THING. i actually feel dumber just for watching! You know like when you see a really bad movie? That's what this felt like. I believe this entire show can be summed up with JLo's performance...It's like it just all fell flat on it's ass! I truly tried to be a JLo fan but even her own husband was shaking his head in dissappointment! Ouch! No body stood out with class and style and elegance. No body. Sorry. And just when you thought you'd had enough...adding salt on the wound, adding insult to injury...there was that totaly tasteless act or whatever you want to call it...by Adam Lambert. Boooooooo!!!! Go away!

    November 24, 2009 at 4:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bree

    Rihanna looked really slutty. Hate to say it.
    Carrie Underwood & Whitney- looked good.

    November 24, 2009 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jessica

    That outfit Rihanna is wearing looks like the outfit from The Fifth Element – haha! I saw some of the pictures – What are these women thinking?

    Seriously – they need to hire me to get them dressed. This is all ridiculous – I understand that people want to stand out and sometimes wear something shocking – but what happened to classy? This is almost as bad as when Rose McGown wore that chainy-dress thingy to the MTV Awards and her butt was all hanging out. Ew.

    November 24, 2009 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sharon

    I agree with Chris. I have watched my last AMA show. Adam Lambert was disgusting and I understand they had to edit his performance for the West Coast. To me, the AMA's are no longer about excellent music because I certainly didn't hear much of it last night.

    November 23, 2009 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chris

    I agree with all of you the wardrobes were terrible, as for me I remember watching the AMA and admiring beautiful ladies in beautiful gowns and guys looking handsome in their tuxedos.I know those days are long gone and forgotten for our culture. I also noticed how the true talent has diminished and has become more raunchy as if they know they have little talent ,so they have to practically have sex on stage,and if they have any talent why not use it instead of sex? As for the big winners, Taylor and Michael , perhaps the new generation should take some lessons from those with true talent and class. As for me. I think I have watched the last AMA show last night.

    November 23, 2009 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. runphas7

    This article is toooo funny......true but funny.

    All the money these celebs have and they dress like buffoons!

    They should fire the people that dress them, how embarassing to look so foolish in the public eye.

    November 23, 2009 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Elizabeth

    Thank you Keith Urban! After his perfomance; one of the worst American Music Awards I have ever seen. It felt like an on land version of the movie "Waterworld".

    November 23, 2009 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. J.Lynne

    Not really of fan of the look but if you watched the European Music Awards you saw a lot of the same what I call punk look.

    November 23, 2009 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Shelly

    Pam – no toss up needed...Lady Gaga is ALWAYS the WORST. What was she thinking. I mean, I know she's ugly and all but why make it worse with bad choices in costumes?? Was she on something?...it sure seemed like it. I actually LOVED Rihanna's outfit, especially with the laser lights shooting from her shoulders. I thought it was completely edgy & HOT!!! Besides Lady Gaga's scary self, I thought of the outfits like I think of the Art Deco District in South Beach....SEXY, MODERN & TONS OF FUN!!!

    November 23, 2009 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. D. Cartwright

    I agree with most of what you said above, but I think it's also important to note that some of the MEN should have not worn their outfits as well. Especially Timberland!!! It was too small and too tight.

    November 23, 2009 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Ms. Johnson

    I agree 100% with you, Ms. Kay, Whitney's gut could have been a little tighter, her singing, as well as Mary was great, and J.Lo, what were you thinking??? Heels and stunts do not mix, as you probably figured out AFTER you took a tumble, and Lady Gaga is just being Lady Gaga.

    November 23, 2009 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Cyn Chil

    Nicole Kidman and Paula Abdul looked Fabulous!

    November 23, 2009 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Catherine Newton

    THUMBS UP !
    I am still laughing hysterically at the "glorified cinnabon" comment – spot on for a description of Rihanna !
    I sat there last night thinking that I was turning into a frumpy has-been with no sense of style or fashion anymore...but thank goodness I wasn't alone in my criticism.
    Janet Jackson looked like she was about to run the Iditerod Sled Dog Race...while Lady Gaga looked like she'd just escaped an insane asylum and done ferocious things to her strait-jacket.
    Even Carrie Underwood – so normally high class – had some weird ensemble that did nothing for her fabulous figure and do I need to say anything about J-Lo's shorts...?
    OH, and I too am sitting here in a hoodie and jeans. Just so you know.

    November 23, 2009 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Ms. Kay

    I loved Mary and Whitney, though spanks may have helped her little pudge. But hey, for her first comeback performance, she worked it. Mary looked amazing and she sang beautifully. I think the theme of last night was about truth. These women sang about how they felt at the present moment and you could see it in their eyes! I wasn't really feeling Ms. Keyes performance either. I felt like she moves a little akward when she tries to dance. I think she should just stick with singing. And Lady Gaga was a big no no. Again Beautiful voice, but I don't even know what to say or where to begin on her performance. Was anyone else just as confused as I was. I didn't get it at all and I think that took away from the song.

    November 23, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Pam Buchan

    You are RIGHT ON with your descriptions of last nights AMA wardrobe. I kept thinking we were all getting PUNKED....but they just continueed to get worse and worse as the night progressed. The ONLY two I thought looked NORMAL were Keith Urban and Taylor Swift otherwise its a toss up who was the worst. I guess mirrors are NOT allowed in dressing rooms....HMmmmmm all I can say is in future years they're all going to be saying " How could they ley me go out there looking like that".......

    November 23, 2009 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |

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