Stop The Presses!

J.Lo, Christina, and Justin Add Embarrassment and Spice to AMAs

Stop The Presses!

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Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull

No non-publicists will remember three days from now who won any of the American Music Awards -- possibly not even perpetually flabbergasted Taylor Swift, once she comes to her senses after enthusiastically picking up the Entertainer of the Year award for a second time (just a week and a half after getting a trophy of the same name at the CMA Awards).

But what about the unofficial Watercooler Awards, as we like to call them? The odd and inappropriate moments that merit that prize will go down in everlasting infamy, we tell you. (Or at least be good for a half-week's worth of office chatter.) And after an unprovocative start in which even Nicki Minaj seemed unusually tame, we did finally get a few of those memorable tidbits. Special word up to Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera, in particular, both of whose appearances briefly threatened to break Twitter.

J.Lo's medley actually managed to include something to offend everybody, which is quite a feat in this day and age. Folks who weren't bothered by the raunchy, borderline-NSFW sexuality of her bumping and grinding with Pitbull were sure to take issue with the crass commercialism that had her basically hosting a live Fiat commercial. And vice versa.

Lopez first appeared in a long, classy gown mock-crying her way through a sensitive ballad, only to step, give a mischievous you-know-I'm-no-good look, and wait for trip wires to whisk most of her clothing away. She still had another, slinkier dress on when she got into the on-stage Fiat and pretended to drive it into the bowels of hell to which we would soon descend. Exiting the car, she removed the dress and revealed a flesh-toned body stocking, which Pitbull leered at and rubbed up against... shortly before he went over and did a duet with her ex, Marc Anthony.

Even Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher had to be watching Pitbull's twin appearances with the merry divorcees and thinking: What in the living...?

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Christina Aguilera

It's to Aguilera's credit that she managed to cause almost as much of a stir despite only being onstage for about a minute, at the end of Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger." But she may not have gotten quite the reaction she was hoping for. Ever since her appearance at the Michael Jackson tribute concert, fans and detractors have been buzzing about her changing body. If you thought that might cause Aguilera to think twice about flaunting what she's got, her AMAs cameo put a quick stop to any presuppositions that she might dress more demurely for a while. In an extremely figure-hugging white minidress, Xtina was the very definition of... womanly.

But even if you like seeing a woman with hips, there were still doubts to be had about her hair, not to mention layers of makeup that ran even deeper than her cleavage. Martina McBride -- who sang with Aguilera at the last Grammys -- tweeted "Some stylist is gonna get fired tonight," during Aguilera's appearance. You might be inclined to agree if it didn't seem so clear from some of Christina's other recent appearances that that's the way (uh-huh, uh-huh) she likes it.

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LMFAO and Bieber

So let's hear it for the unabashedly intentional comedy of LMFAO's closing "Party Rock." Earlier in the telecast, red-carpet host Vanessa Minnillo had crashed onto the prime-time telecast (in lieu of an actual host, which the AMAs seem content to do without) to promise or warn us that LMFAO's show-capper "might be the best finale you will ever see."

Anyone not suffering from a fast-developing terminal illness can hope Mannillo's prophecy doesn't prove to be true, but it was at least pretty funny, with the two guys doing a sort of variation on "I'm Too Sexy" by flaunting their supposedly sexy bods and hot moves while flanked by some actual hardbodies. And flanked, too, for a few bars, by Justin Bieber, who is nothing if not a good, game sport about joining in ridiculous reindeer games.

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Kelly Clarkson and Newsies

For an actual, unequivocal highlight, you would have to go to Kelly Clarkson's radical rethink of her own "Mr. Know-It-All." Jamming her curves into a tight, floor-length red dress and donning a vintage fishtail hairdo, it at first appeared as if Clarkson might be "appearing in the role of Adele this evening," as they like to say in the theater.

And that impression didn't entirely go away, as Clarkson sang in more of an R&B style than usual, though the arrangement bore little resemblance to anything Clarkson or Adele would usually do. Her recent single had been turned into a sort of nostalgic jump-blues number, complete with a horn section. The newsboy extras surrounding her were a little, well, Newsies, as many Twitterers pointed out. But "Mr. Know-It-All" actually sounded better in this stylistically wild remake than it did on record, and Clarkson briefly threatened to class up the joint... even if it was clear this inexplicable outbreak of live singing could never last.

To his credit, Bieber also sang noticeably live, though he was a little more wobbly as he ran through his Christmas reggae song. The kid's voice is changing, so we can all cut him a break, right? We're not sure whether to give Justin any credit or not, though, for combining the secular and sacred so unassuredly in lines like "The wise men followed a star the way I followed my heart... Your lips on my lips."

Bieber's girlfriend, Selena Gomez, was responsible for the most engaging duets of the night, even if we couldn't actually hear her and seatmate/BFF Taylor Swift singing along in the front row to every song. Next time, ABC, plant some mics and give us a live feed of the Swift/Gomez background vocals on the website.

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The Band Perry

After all the shots of Taylor and Selena rapping along with Nicki Minaj and other hitmakers of the day, we felt a little sorry for Kimberly Perry, of the Band Perry, when the camera cut to her in the middle of the Gym Class Heroes' number and she was not dutifully singing along. On the other hand, not knowing a Gym Class Heroes song makes us admire Perry a little more than we already did after her stirring rendition of her band's signature song, "If I Die Young." That fluke hit (which recently crossed over from country to top the AC chart) is probably the last song about death that we'll ever hear on the AMAs, unless somebody finds another unreleased Tupac video in the vault.

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Ground control to Katy Perry

We're just sure that Kimberly Perry and Katy Perry had been planning to wear the same hairstyle and outfit to the AMAs, so we're glad Katy won that battle... even if we had a hard time figuring out just what look she was going for. Retro-future Judy Jetson? Mid-period Jobriath? It stood in stark contrast to the starkly acoustic nature of her number, which was probably the whole idea. It wasn't her most galvanizing performance by a long shot, but at least she can claim, as always: Madja look.

A few other highlights, lowlights, and question-mark moments:

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Nicki Minaj

During Nicki Minaj's opening number, were those leafblowers her stilt-walkers were wielding?

Were those giant suction cups she had on her rear end?

Did Minaj's featured co-star, David Guetta, really have anything to do during that number besides jump up and down supportively in a hoodie?

How many itty-bitty bird steps did it take Minaj to make her way across the stage to pick up her award, aided by a bodyguard, in that hilariously constricting dress and high heels?

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Enrique, Ludacris, and choir

If you're going to sing a raunchy song that originally had the F-word in the title, as Enrique did, is it really appropriate to have a local high school choir join you?

Is Adam Lambert still being punished for the events of two years ago? Sure, they let him back on the show... but he had to introduce One Republic.

Is One Republic also bored by One Republic?

When J.Lo was giving an acceptance speech for favorite Latin artist, and the cameras quickly cut to manager Benny Medina as soon as she mentioned him, is there any way the producers didn't have a copy of her acceptance speech ahead of time? Or do they always keep a camera trained on Medina, just in case?

Drake, we love you just as much as the New York Times, but what is up with the glove?

Did Robin Thicke mean to be funny when he said he'd had a conversation backstage with co-presenter Ellie Goulding, then proceeded to mispronounce it twice anyway? Why wasn't she laughing?

Did Beyonce fail to show up because she is incapacitated for travel by her pregnancy, as Goulding stated, or because she is busy promoting her new DVD, as Beyonce herself announced in her taped acceptance speech?

Just how awesome will Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton's Glee-for-old-people movie be?

Should we think less or more of Mick Jagger for Skype-ing in his part on Will.I.Am's song?

Why was Will.I.Am's head disembodied, and should we care how it was done, or what the effect was supposed to be?

And, finally, is "go hard or go home" really the challenge or choice he should be offering anyone toward the end of as long a telecast as this one?

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