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Eminem's a no show at the American Music Awards

Those who did appear were underwhelming, says Ken Tucker

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Eminem
Eminem: ©Boogaard/Sunshine / Retna

Eminem’s a no show at the American Music Awards

Okay, what was up with Daryl Hannah last night at the American Music Awards? Shambling onstage to present one of the evening’s numerous, interchangeable prizes, she looked, with her ’70s punk/ sleaze/ gonzo outfit and her glazed gaze, as if she thought she still might have a shot at a role in ”Boogie Nights.” I tuned in to the ABC broadcast expecting that the most frightening sight of the night would be Marilyn Manson, but instead that honor was a tie between the forlorn star of ”Splash” and that extremely unnerving kid country singer, Billy Gilman, whose show biz oiliness is chilling.

In what may be a precursor to the Grammys, Eminem lost in all the categories in which he was nominated — the year’s most visible figure in popular music was nowhere to be seen. Instead, this annual Dick Clark produced salute to big record sales made bloodless ”country” singer Faith Hill its biggest winner (she copped three of the pointy statues) and the guy who plays Big Pussy on ”The Sopranos” called Aerosmith ”the most explosive force in the history of rock & roll,” which just goes to show what happens when your lines aren’t written for you by David Chase.

While not nearly as explosive as all that, Aerosmith did have a good new chunk of hard rock to perform, and brought some live snakes onstage to prove that there are thinner creatures in God’s universe than Steven Tyler. Jennifer Lopez lip synched badly to her dreadful new song; I don’t think 3 Doors Down lip synched but they may as well have; and OutKast definitely did not lip synch, which only made the ragged sound system during their performance of ”Ms. Jackson” seem more warm and involving.

The whole shebang (as opposed to SheDaisy, the female country act you book when you can’t get the Dixie Chicks) was hosted by LL Cool J and Britney Spears, whose chemistry was limited to LL urging Britney to take off more of her clothes, which she did, all too eagerly, as the camera panned up from her little pink toes to her little blonde head. It was a moment almost creepier than hearing 12 year old Billy Gilman thank his management team for ”being there from the beginning,” by which I fear he may have meant the moment of his conception.