The 2010 ARIA Awards

Gosh that was awkward….

I love award nights for the times when they veer off script. But last night’s ARIA Awards seemed so far off-script I was praying it would get back on it.

FremantleMedia Australia broadcast the 2010 event from the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House. It has previously staged Australian Idol finales there before. Apparently it’s uber-cool. But while it works great for pre-show entertainment and Red Carpet, it just makes me wish they had booked  the Concert Hall instead.

Indoor events on a stage may be very traditional, but they are a lot more focussed than the scary montage I watched last night. A relaxed show also lends itself to moments of chemistry. The only chemistry I saw last night was Myf Warhurst awe-struck by Silverchair’s Chris Joannou.

Now I understand why Jimmy Barnes had criticised the event in the lead-up to the event, likening it to trying to recreate a Countdown concert instead of it actually being about the industry.

Last night the industry was left to wander around sipping a glass in the wind on the steps of the Opera House. Cheers for your year in music, guys. Have another bubbly.

On the positive side, most of the performances were entertaining -and that can’t have been easy in an outside broadcast. Washington turned it on with a performance practically channelling Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamond are a Girl’s Best Friend”. Guy Sebastian’s closing number “I Like It Like That” continues to show his versatility. Dan Sultan was a great fit with INXS.

But the hosts weren’t given enough to distinguish themselves from presenters. Natalie Bassingthwaighte spent the whole night yelling.

And where do we start with the Presenters? Awkwardly staged like gatecrashers, they were frequently shot from low angles with shadows cast everytime somebody moved. Bob Katter (calling them the “ARIARIAs”) took forever to announce a winner. The Church’s Steve Kilbey took longer still, until somebody off camera told him to get on with it. Lara Bingle’s contibution was to ask Jason Derulo “How are you?” The kids from Operator Please seemed a bit dazed by the autocue.

And Jessica Mauboy? Calling “Debut” as “De-butt” was bad enough once. What the hell, let’s do it a second time. The word “rehearsal” springs to mind, Jess…

Things were also awkward when winners had to make their way to a point somwhere in the crowd to receive their trophy. There were issues assembling winners to face the camera. It was worse when people tried to slink away after speeches. A couple of cutaways didn’t help.

Marcia Hines acknowledged the passing of James Freud. What a shame all we saw was a long-distance shot on a screen (not even acknowledging any of his music). Nobody remembered Dame Joan Sutherland and we’re at the bloody Opera House. A crime.

The big winners of the night were Angus and Julia Stone (they thanked their dog… bit of a change from thanking God), Washington, Powderfinger and The Temper Trap who each received two trophies.

After last year’s disappointing ARIAs on Nine, it was a shame this felt more like an ARIAs-progressive dinner. It paled beside ARIAs that were produced by Roving Enterprises, and reminds us how creative some awards can be: Kid’s Choice Awards, anyone?

Finally, Modern Family‘s Eric Stonestreet politely kept up the enthusiasm, but couldn’t help but admit he really wanted to be on the stage of the Sydney Opera House.

We’re with you on that one, Eric.


  1. I just want to say that awkwardness between presenters isn’t unique to last night. It is an intrinsic quality of awards nights and I have noticed this over the years watcing even the Emmys and whathaveyou. Some of the presenters were pretty good including Yumi Stynes, Ruby Rose and James Mathison. However, if all the banter is scripted, how does that explain Lara Bingle? It certainly didn’t help her reputation as a ditzy blonde airhead.

  2. ARIA and it’s voting members (as a whole) have never really been interested in popularity or TV viewers, that’s why most people have never heard of the majority of the nominees, let alone the winners.
    It is a televised industry event and not the other way round, so as much as ARIA like it to make money, as long as it is filled with no-names (and four years in five it will be) it will never score big ratings.
    This year winners, voters and viewers all lost out.
    I think it should just go back to being an industry event and MAX (or similar) can take it.

  3. just a couple points…at one stage a presenter…i cant remember who…presnted an award..then they cut back to Dylan Lewis totalk about something else…and kapow…there was the previous presenter…talk about faster than a speeding bullet… which begs the question..which was pretaped…sure somethings have to be a tape item…but for the love of television…couldnt the floor manager see tht the guy on the tape package is standing behind the presenter..i think giving it 1.5 stars david…you were being nice……. awful tv…

  4. well well well…as many are want to poo poo HHIS, its Producer, Pam Barnes, would have delivered this event in a snap, as she did hundreds of times at Nine. What you saw last night was the MTV generation of producers who are more interested in “celebrity talent” rather than TV talent. As we saw, live TV ain’t a walk in the park no matter how much fake tan you got on.
    Prediction: next year it will be produced by an adult over 40.


  5. To have that disastrous a ratings drop after Masterchef, this was a complete disaster for Ten, both ratings and production wise and it wasn’t even shown
    live. If they had the Eleven channel already up, that would’ve been the best slot
    for it. Likewise if Nine screen it next time, putting it on Go would be the
    smarter option (as well as showing it live), not on Nine.

  6. I was intrigued by the format and wanted it to work, but as so many have said, it clearly didn’t work right.

    For me the disappointing part was the presenters not handing the mic to winners, hence not giving them the opportunity to give any acceptance speech. In particular I noticed it with Angus & Julia Stone, when they won Single of the Year they were asked how they felt …”nervous”…and then the presenters stared blankly at the camera wondering what to do next, while Angus and Julia were just too polite to ask for the camera. And then when they won Album of the Year, again, they almost wasn’t given the opportunity – until Julia held on to the mic and wouldn’t let go until the presenter gave it up. The main award for the night. Crazy.

  7. I agree with the comments about the ARIA Hall of Fame event screened the previous week-it was respectful, informative and generally terrific entertainment. And so, I tuned into last night’s show. It was so appalling it was embarrassing, I had to switch off. Were the two shows produced by the same company?

  8. LOL @ Steven – I work for an Aussie retailer who as far as I know has nothing to do with the ARIAs. It’s awful when people offer an alternative view isn’t it.

    Come to think of it – if it was all so bad, then why did me, my mates and a few thousand other people stay for it hmmm? Yeah there were (a fair number of) bad aspects but it worked for a lot of people too.

    LOL @ Dave – gonna start using debukkle myself!!!

  9. It was a debacle (or as Jessica Mauboy might say, a ‘debbukkell’). Awful tribute to James Freud and lack of tributes to anyone else. The Hall Of Fame event last week was fantastic. ARIA, please give the event to the same producers as the Hall Of Fame event. Steve Kilbey was great at the Hall Of Fame however was embarrassing last night (I would say he was late call-up due to his terrific speech at the Hall Of Fame).

  10. In a word: appalling! Which I guess reflects the state of Oz music generally as our modern performers seem to be pale imitators of UK or (worse still) US musos. Whatever happened to the distinctive Aussie sound?

  11. They were so bad, I stopped watching. Australian Music is absolute rubbish.. apparently ‘Indies Kids’ are the cool thing at the moment… BS – who do Angus and Julia Stone think they are, Adam and Eve? Seriously.

  12. Obviously JK is either the producer, director or a fremantle production employee trying to save a bit of face. LOL We are a little bit smarter than that JK!!

  13. To be honest, what they did this year Could work. But I think they need to:
    – Refine it/Make it less of a mish-mash. Have set places for the awards to be given and make it easy for the Artists to receive the award.
    – Get some hosts that don’t make me feel ill. *Cough* Dylan Lewis, Nat Bass.. *cough*

    On the plus side – I liked the graphics. 🙂

  14. OK – so I was also at the event last night, and to be honest didn’t think it was the end of the world like everyone else on here seems to. Couple of thoughts…
    – I applaud the decision to change the old and boring as batsh*t format that the naysayers on here think is so amazing. Having the fans near the performers was a great idea. Keeping the music industry exec’s in a tent on the stairs to get plastered is probably the best place for them – I frankly don’t need to sit behind them watching them make fools of themselves as in previous years.
    – That said, having presenters from various parts of the site without consistency was bound to fail – new format + live tv = recipe for disaster. Let’s not try to run before we can walk eh?
    – The stage design and graphic contents was great, as was the nomination package design. The LED towers against the city skyline was inspired.
    – The standard of the presenters was pretty bad sometimes, with some notable exceptions in the form of the excellent Nat Bass. Reherse, reherse, reherse!
    – The preparation of the award recipients was also poor (what award am I winning again?)
    – Give the guys the award on the stage so people can see them, ‘cos lets face it, they didn’t manage to get those video feeds onto the LED screen for the people at the venue to see.
    – By all means, have the DJs to warm up the crowd, but (a) get them on the stage so the bulk of the audience and not just the VIP section could see them and (b) don’t let them play music over people’s speeches.
    – Not like the Brits? Well guess what, this isn’t London, and we don’t have a music industry anywhere near the scale of that in the UK. Go figure!

    People love to bitch, but I think what we saw was the beginning of a good format for the event, but with a lot of execution problems, especially for the audience at the event. Sadly I feel that the baby will get thrown out with the bathwater here and we’ll revert to drop-dead boring again next year which is a shame – we’re meant to be a country that’s progressive, not having an “it’s not like the (insert generic overseas award show name here)” attitude!

  15. Things that were good: The music performances. Superb work from everyone, great sound & deserving winners in the very few categories that were awarded last night.
    But otherwise, our ‘music’ industry may as well not exist.

    A few things that got up my goat: Apparently now, rock music is a ‘genre’ award. Just like hip-hop, world, roots, jazz & classical. All completely relevant & popular forms of music, but which were barely acknowledged last night. (how many awards were actually given last night? 6?7? How many peer voted awards – which is what they all should be?)
    Not doing a proper tribute to James Freud, (though Marcia did her dignified best), Joan Sutherland, Ruby or any other valued music luminaries who passed away in the last year. So disrespectful.
    Natalie Bassingthwaite. Do her presenting skills extend to anything beyond yelling ‘that’s awesome’ and ‘give it up guys’?
    ill-disciplined, under-rehearsed, illiterate ‘presenters’ and the lamest, most crass and insulting ‘comedic’ chats before awards were given. What are we all – imbeciles?
    Fabulous nobodies wandering around in the semi-dark behind presenters and award recipients guzzling beer & wine. Classy.
    Award recipients not even being aware they’d won, or having a set place to go to in order to graciously receive award, or give thanks.

    All in all, a sad, sad picture of our world, (I say ‘our’ because I’m a musician, making me doubly ashamed of last night’s excuse for recognition of our industry), and God help us if that kind of amateur hour schamozzle is held up as our standard. Great performances & deserving winners aside, the rest of the evening was a complete disgrace.

  16. Armchair Analyst

    THe 2010 ARIA awards, hmm, not their best eh? Even though it is hard to find some modercom of praise or positive news their actually was some, from me anyway. I thought that staging it outdoors was a good decision, taking a risk but on that part i think it payed off. I liked the stage design was simple and to the point. If i had been in charge of this i would have put the event in the opera house, in one of the concert halls. The nominies would have been sitting inth e first 2 or 3 rows and the rest family and friends and then fans.Sort of like the Grammys. I defineltly would not have had the dinner tables and the artists and alike sitting geting drunk and constapated, plus it would have looked like a dinner party not a music awards night. THe srt would be simple and effective, also not lecture table of any kind. THe microphones would have had the ARIAS logo branding. As for the categories i would split them on to a list and b list. The A list would hav the current mainstream genres. The B list would have the more neich genres. The A list would be broadcast on FTA in prime time and the B list on Pay TV earlier in the evening. So their you have it a way to fix the ARIAA broadcast.

  17. Well I had the wonderful pleasure of attending the Aria’s last night and from my point of view trying to reinvent the wheel clearly hasn’t worked. The Hosts, Guests and the locations of all the hosting were so shocking and all had poor production values. An awards show needs at least one lectern it’s simple as that. You can do all the intros and all the other fluff from anywhere, including the Moon it’s not hard… if it aint broke, don’t fix it !!!

    The audience was positioned looking at the stage and most of the time the stage was Empty, including the LED screens. Hello !!! The action was happening but not where you could se it. What a waste of time !!!

    David I think that they called in the big guns a little too late, I saw the X factor director walking through the audience with his wife, maybe he should have brought the rest of the crew from Fox ??? Still wouldn’t have helped tho LOL !!! I think there was a mixture of “A” and “B” crew members working on the show, it’s really the front end of the bus whom need not to be working on a show like that ever again. Probably an inexperienced EP and/or producers? FMA still has good people, they still make good shows, but I guess this production has bombed.
    Everyone has had a crack at the Aria’s.

    Slam maybe from your POV you had a good time but I have to say there was no audience warm up and Rebel was not funny, she is a complete hoax !!! the DJ’s played over a hosting. You could not tell if we were on air and you could not tell if the hosts were rehearsing or going live, well unfortunately all the cringe worthy performances were actually going live, Doh !!

  18. I didn’t see it (thank goodness from the sound of things), but Channel Ten are blocking anyone trying to upload YouTube clips of the event. They must think it was so bad that nobody wants to see it again!

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