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.