Sunday, May 29, 2016

2016 Radio Disney Music Awards Reviewed

Ummm...I literally don't even know how to quote this to begin with.

What is it? The Disney Channel awards presentation show, and the only serious and true competition to the KCAs. Unlike the KCAs however it is not a live event as discussed in detail below.
Where did it air? Well it's the Radio Disney Music Awards so it might have aired on some sort of Disney-owned Channel....
Who stars in it? There are multiple presenters and multiple awards recipients so it's all over the place to the point where it's not even worth contemplating lest you explode your brain. The most heavily advertised and promoted presenters were Katherine McNamara and...I don't even know enough of her name to even look it up, but it doesn't matter because both of them ended up being on the show for literally less than five minutes, what a ripoff.
Why did we review it? Because it's the only thing Disney Channel has ever had that's even remotely close to the KCAs.

So I have to address one thing straight away - yeah, this is almost a whole solid month after the RDMAs premiered - which was back on May 1, and this is already May 28, Memorial Day Weekend. Back when the RDMAs premiered it was actually snowing (at least where I live - yeah I more than kind of want to move to where it's actually warm) and just this morning the neighborhood swimming pool just opened for the first time this season. Part of it's laziness, part of it's things come up and again part of it is that I'm just now finally catching up to not being sick anymore (that whole trilogy review special with Undateabale-Crowded-Grandfathered? That was supposed to happen before the KCAs even. It was supposed to happen the same week as the Mysteries of Laura reviewed to form an actual quartet, not have this one thing over here and then a few months later we get these three reviews and then all of a sudden Criminal Minds Beyond Friggin' Borders thrown in too. Hell there's a lot of stuff actually relevant to the title of this blog you see every time you open it up that we still need to catch up on - more Stuck in the Middle, Backstage, Mako Mermaids, School of Rock, The Loud House, stuff Mike wants to do...yeah it's been piling up.)

Anyway let's pretend it's still May 1 and instead of rushing to the pool and waiting for it to open we're staring out our window and going yup, I wished we lived in a warmer place. 

Now there are awards given to kidcoms and kid-dramas at the "big adult shows" like the Daytime TV Awards and the Emmys and etc., but the KCAs and the RDMAs are kind of seen as the real battleground for which kidcoms and the small handful of kid-dramas fight for recognition. At least in the eyes of the demos they fight for - really, the KCAs and RDMAs really don't strike me as having any real legitimacy with the "adults" that people (whether they be actors, producers, writers, reviewers, what have you) have to go to in turn beg for legitimacy in their craft. And both Nickelodeon and Disney Channel are just fine with that - they're spectacles first and foremost to just keep getting that demo glued to the TV sets, or even more importantly get them hyped for Nickelodeon and Disney Channel-owned properties. Nowhere is this any more blatant than the KCAs, which is nothing more but a two-hour commercial for Nickelodeon shows and movies that Nickelodeon itself either sponsors/produces or in turn have sponsored the KCAs for further exposure and showering Nick's parent company CBS-Viacom for dollars - the sequel to TMNT (I don't know if it's TMNT 2, or 6, or even 5 which is what the stylized TMNT logo itself seems to be suggesting, conveniently forgetting there was a CGI-only movie, although it seems the whole world has forgotten about that anyway) of course being Nick's own property (fun fact: Nick owns TMNT "in perpetuity" along with Power Rangers) of which you can tell by having an admittedly kinda-cool action scene in the middle of their awards show. Of course, on the flip side you have the whole intro action sequence featuring Star Wars, fully owned by Nickelodeon's arch-rival Disney and featuring for the first time in KCA history the KCA's host killing a guy (or woman, which I suppose is within the theoretical now but yeah we all know it's supposed to be a guy in that suit, nor does it take away from the fact that Blake Shelton killed a guy as part of his KCA hosting duties). Of course that happened because Disney is all too happy to dump a bunch of money right at the feet of their own arch-rivals if it means another opportunity to remind the audience of this franchise that literally everybody in the entire world has seen a dozen times over and went online and bought the BB-8 remote control toy which will literally be the only time in their lives they shop from Sharper Image or Sky Mall. 

But for all the blatant commercialism, to the point where it's obvious even to the youngest, most naive viewer that they're watching a two-hour commercial for the very network that's hosting it, for all of Blake Shelton killing a guy, you can't deny the KCA's have panache. It's the one thing they're really known for, it's the one thing they're really good at, it's the one thing that makes the KCAs otherwise stand out and even make dignified actors and actresses with a boatload of awards big enough they can actually go out and buy a boat like Emma Stone and Robert Downey Jr. revert to their tween and teenaged selves and let their inner child completely take over and realize that there's something about this carefree nostalgia where, yeah, being a teen isn't a cakewalk but there's a ton of fun about being a kid too. Mike especially, and I a little bit, talked about the KCA's glory days when we reviewed the '16 model.  In fact I really should bug Mike to do a full-blown essay about it. Yeah, sure, the '16 awards may have phoned it in but the KCAs were such a massive spectacle to begin with even phoning it in means bringing something worthwhile to the table if you want to pretend to have any sort of street cred with the demo at all. Yeah, the execs may have a poor opinion about kids, even teen kids and young people in general, and their naivete (I've read some blind items about some ABC/Disney execs meeting with Shay Mitchell and Troian Bellisario and basically asking them why aren't they with their parents, particularly Troian's well-established dad, and both of these women are 30 years old - and yeah I should stop randomly name-dropping Troian before it becomes a problem and Patrick J. Adams puts his boot up my ass) but they still realize if you don't bring the slime, you're wasting our time. We got a bunch of slime being shot everywhere. We got, um, some sort of lame slime booth thing that was even lamer than last year's "slime car wash" (remember '13's freakin' slime rodeo?) Weren't we promised some sort of slime drone or something? Well at least we got some Super Mario Bros. thingie with the Game Shakers cast. We got a pretty cool DNCE performance that puts Katy Perry and her left shark to shame (note to self: stop name-dropping Troian Bellisario and stop referencing dank memes). We got a pretty cool live-performance commercial for TMNT Whatever Number It Is Now. We got Blake Shelton killing a guy. My point is, the Nick execs know that they need to put on a show, that the KCAs themselves legitimately constitute a show within itself. It's entertaining to watch even if you don't care about the awards given out, or to whom they're given out. And that phoning it in or not, this is an art they've perfected since well before either Mike or I could even comprehend the visuals and the information going on, particularly in Mike's case since it predates him even being born. The KCAs, for that matter, predate most of its very own live audience and award recipients being born, even the older teens. It predates KCA winners Taylor Swift and Emma Stone being born.

Then you have the Radio Disney Music Awards and even if it tried it can't be much more of such a stark study in contrast. Let's start with how long they've been going at it - the RDMAs were officially established with the 2013 awards - yes, that's right, the RDMAs are barely older than Girl Meets World. It's only six months older than Sabrina Carpenter's entire career on Disney Channel given that she was in that one episode of Austin & Ally - actually, by technicality Sabrina Carpenter's Disney Channel career is actually older as they would've filmed the episode back in February. This is only the fourth RDMA Awards Show period. And unless you were watching the RDMAs on Watch Disney Channel back in '13 (and by that, they had a smattering of performances from the show made available on the app) or you were there as part of the live audience you'd have no idea what was actually going on as they never even bothered to televise it. I simply can't comprehend how bizarre that is, especially given how massively hyped it was on Disney Channel itself. So this makes it only the third RDMA awards show ever to be actually televised. 

And then we have the fundamental difference in how they're even televised. Nickelodeon famously televises the KCAs live, and with no tape delay given that it's produced on the West Coast through a single feed (though I doubt they'd resort to NBC's insanity and do the whole thing over again regardless). So what you see at the KCAs, even on television, is happening "raw" although there are indeed mechanisms in place so that Nick can cut to a different camera and/or host if something upsetting happens (usually upsetting to the wallets of the sponsors or Nick itself). Nick even goes so far as to have a "pre-launch" show that's also live. Perhaps it's a sign of Disney's infamous controlling reputation but the RDMAs are actually filmed the day before - the preceding Saturday, April 30 - and then aired the next day through massive tape delay (at that point becoming no different than a scripted episode already in the can). I remember either last year or the first televised airing they tried a pre-launch show (and trust me, every time I watch I get jealous of how they get to feel comfortable in short-sleeves and v-necks without any coats that time of year) but this year other than reading about the coverage on Just Jared Jr. or Twist Magazine, I don't remember any pre-launch events televised. I certainly would've spotted it on the channel guide and recorded it on my DVR. Maybe it's a minor gripe, but it does feel like it takes away a lot of the "oomph" and even the specialness when you know everything's been pre-recorded, especially given that the KCAs are live. You'll note we covered the KCAs as they aired (or tried to, given how I was sick already back then). With the RDMAs, a lot of the enthusiasm to cover the events as they're televised just evaporated. Most people who care hit the 'net and read about the results and the winners from the RDMA's own website (or most likely from the social media of the nominees they actually care about) right after the actual event back on April 30, or even as it was happening (again, this whole social media thing that apparently Disney Channel doesn't quite understand yet).

And there's comparing the events themselves. Again, the KCAs are a legit spectacle in their own right, even if it's still just a two-hour, live-performance commercial. You're going to get a guarantee that slime will be involved. The RDMAs are...a lot less imaginative. Since the RDMAs are strictly a music awards show and no TV series have anything at stake to claim, the focus is on music which means...a lot of live music performances. Some you'll be really enthusiastic about because they're artists you care about. Some...not so much (seriously, how many of us were super-excited about opening number Our House by Flo'Rida?) And, ummm...that's pretty much it. You have your favorite Disney Channel stars like Dove Cameron and Ryan McCartan...stand there and spend ten seconds introducing the next act (Hailee Steinfeld and a medley of her best hits). Or randomly having Allyson Stoner - an actress who doesn't have a job with the network anymore as far as I'm aware given Phineas and Ferb's finale (and they have to go back to mention Camp Rock as her most prominent Disney Channel role) accompanied by Mark Friggin' Cuban for some bizarre reason (Disney/ABC sure loves kissing up to him for some unfathomable reason - perhaps because for some equally unfathomable reason Shark Tank actually happens to be one of their few successful shows that isn't Shondaland or Modern Family. Seriously I saw a few episodes of Shark Tank and my reaction still remains this is somehow considered valid entertainment?) Oh, and Mark sure loves emphasizing how he owns the Dallas Mavericks! 

The only thing even remotely on the level of the KCAs is how they had Mark and Allyson introduce the category Best Fans - and when I was hoping, hey cool, maybe they had a special fan picked out somewhere, maybe this special boy or girl sent in some audition tape or something - but nope, they're going by the broadest of all generalities. The "nominees" are Beliebers (a fandom I was pretty sure was damn near extinct by this point), Directioners (again, a fandom that has pretty much imploded since Zayn left and has slowly been rebuilding), Harmonizers and Swifties - and except for Fifth Harmony and evergreen TayTay, these are all things that strongly indicate Disney, Disney Channel, Radio Disney and the RDMAs really being stuck in a 2013-14 pop culture mentality at best (BTW Harmonizers won and given that I think Camila, Dinah Jane, Ally, Normani and Lauren are collectively the hottest women on Earth and possibly all of history I'm not complaining - but it's still odd for an artist or artist group to go up stage and accept an award explicitly and specifically meant to be awarded to their fandom). You can even tell it's difficult for Dinah Jane to resolve in her very acceptance speech that this is an award for Fifth Harmony and...wait, it's really an award for the fans? But for us too?

It's not an odd category in the slightest - in fact it's a brilliant idea, it's just boggled up so impressively ineptly. What should be an opportunity to pluck a luck fan and bring her or him right onto the RDMA stage is instead just another opportunity for an artist or artist group to yet again inflate an award count, and on something so almost impossibly intangible to boot. 



They also had Rachel Platten introduce a segment about endangered funding for children's arts programs, particularly music programs, and the Give a Note Foundation helping to correct this through outside monetary sources - and about how the foundation has given the task of surprising students at school about the program and its funds to Justin Bieber. Again, this is very 2013-14 thinking (really 2012-13 with Bieber). Rachel Platten herself would've been a much better choice, as is any given member of 5H if not the whole group, or Meghan Trainor, or hell Disney Channel's own Sofia Carson or Sabrina Carpenter. Trust me, Sabrina Carpenter resonates much better with middle and younger high school students than Justin Bieber, whose biggest fanbase is now aging into college or even graduate school at this point (if they're even still fans) and his career arguably being a shadow of what it once was, even if it's on another upswing (and let's face it it's mostly for Love Yourself which I'll admit is a really catchy tune). I mean, seriously, having Rachel Platten go to these schools herself is such a no-brainer. Why is Disney Channel so attached to Justin Bieber? His connection with Selena was severed long ago. Selena's connection with Disney was severed long ago at this point. There are much fresher artists out there that resonate more with the kids these days. Many of these artists were at this awards show. Many of these artists are Disney Channel employees.

Of course that's going to be sprinkled throughout the show in rather annoying fashion (again, the KCAs would've just lumped this into a single segment). Really, the only other thing that really tries to stand out at the level of the KCAs are the segments right before and right after a commercial break - what's commonly known in the industry as "bumper segments" - where often times they try to cram in "interesting" content to make sure you'll pay attention at least during the first commercial and hopefully pay attention throughout so you won't miss the return bumper (as is what they're doing here) - but also often other times just cram in disposable content to serve as nothing more but a signal that the commercial break is approaching, that this is where you get your fast forward buttons ready. Consequently, a lot of people (both viewers and marketing and advertising execs that run both the advertisement airwaves and, consequently and ultimately, the Nielsen Corp.) also treat it as disposable. And in all honesty - yeah, the content the RDMAs is shoving here is pretty damn disposable. Like they have Pete Wentz and Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy have a little segment before the awards they're nominated for (and yes, as in the Pete Wentz who is also playing himself as a minor recurring character on arch-rival Nick's School of Rock) where they ask him what Ardy (the name for the Mickey Mouse guy in the RDMA statue) is listening to, and Pete Wentz guesses it's a podcast, and all I have to say is Debby did it better.



Or Mark Cuban pretending to be excited about Ariana Grande.

Oh, and they make a big deal of the RDMAs being "hosted" by Shadowhunters stars Katherine McNamara (who, yeah, given she's a redhead I have to admit a strong liking to her and hey she graduated from Drexel University at the age of 17) and Emeraude Toubia (yeah I have an easier time pronouncing and spelling Troian Bellisario) and here we are at the 30 minute mark and both of those two actresses have appeared on the RDMAs so far for a total of less than five seconds as we get just their headshots of them sitting in the audience. In fact at this point it's Jordan Fisher of Teen Beach and Liv and Maddie fame and Sonika Vaid of American Idol hosting, and while they may have been mentioned as being a part of the RDMAs you'd naturally think they'd be both up as nominees given that they're both strongly known for being recording artists (and since I already admitted my liking for KatMac I might as well further admit that Sonika is ridiculously pretty too). BTW they're introducing Freshest New Artist which Kelsei Ballerini won. Oh, and some random guy in a suit shows up right behind Jordan when Kelsei's already making her acceptance speech, makes me wonder if like some sort of threat notice came from nowhere. And then right as soon as Kelsei's done they have Dan + Shay, and again, you're going to assume oh they're nominees but nope they're hosting and introducing again (not an award, Ariana Grande's Dangerous Woman if you're wondering). The actual "hosts" advertised for the awards ceremony are still just watching from the seats like everyone else. I guess it's a minor thing to nitpick, even if all, but again, it just seems so bizarre. Everything about the RDMAs seems so bizarrely and poorly organized and conceived compared to the KCAs, even the laziest of KCAs.

I have to admit though, even sitting here with the weather warm enough to keep the windows open, that fur coat Ari's wearing looks really damn comfy.


You can read the watermark to figure out where this image is from! 

In fact the whole champagne-colored, sparkly-theme contrast with the dark yet sharp colors just makes the whole performance feel very comfy which...I don't know if that's the actual effect they're going for.



Anyway, blah blah blah commercial break blah blah blah a commercial for Captain America: Civil War after the actual commercial break. Then Skai Jackson (who has to be one of the youngest to be a presenter at these things) and Zack Lavine (if you don't know who he is Google it) introduce introduce the Heroes for Change award and Thank God this one actually features young people actually doing things, not the complete and total BS awarding "hero" awards to friggin' Shakira (and Gwen Stefani for this year). And at least they were nice enough to let the kids introduce the next act by Jordan Smith. Oh and speaking of Gwen Stefani winning her whatever for change award, yeah, they really don't explain what it is that makes Gwen Stefani more of someone who's been changing the world for good than any other celebrity or recording artist (like, say, literally everybody else that has been on this awards show so far, and especially to say nothing of Rachel Platten whose song have actually managed to, you know, inspire people). I really don't get what the point of this is, to just give yet even more fawning over not only celebs, but specifically huge-name celebs like Shakira and Gwen Stefani, for giving back to their communities in ways they don't even really tell us about and are super-vague about. That's another clear thing where Nickelodeon has a distinctive advantage over Disney Channel - they've got the HALO Awards which actually recognizes actual teens doing actual things. And yes, the RDMAs did just get done doing that too, but it just seems bizarre if not outright insulting to have these teens (and pre-pre-teen on one case) be recognized and then shove them off so the RDMAs can go, ok, let's all recognize Gwen Stefani for being a hero for, uh, something.

There's another commercial break and then oh hey remember Ashley Tisdale?  Pepperidge Farm remembers, or something. She introduces Sabrina Carpenter, Sofia Carson and Laura Marano in "three of your favorite Disney Channel stars brought together in a way only Disney Channel can," except they're not really together they're just three separate performances just without any interruption in between (except there's actually a pretty clear pause between Laura's and Sofia's performances) and wow that thing Laura is wearing looks kitschy as hell.



It's like the Austin & Ally writers are in charge of her wardrobe now.

And no, your eyes don't deceive you. Those are glowing LEDs on there. Strategically placed glowing LEDs.

Oh hey, remember that they were supposed to be doing something with the Biebs and some high school's music program? Yeah I already forgot about that too. Justin walks into this music class while they're in the middle of a lesson, talks about how their music program is having trouble and apparently the solution to their funding woes is to play "Love Yourself." Yes, I know the program that arranged for it (I already forgot what it is and I'm too lazy to scroll up) will provide actual money but it just seems kind of odd - well, ok, granted the students appreciate it but standing in the middle of class and playing "Love Yourself" isn't going to make money magically appear. 

...at this point the whole damn "review" is just going to be a summary of all of the presenters that are left, and since this review is already in desperate need of some editorial shrinkage I'm just going to shove them over into "Stray Observations" AV Club/Mike-style for those of you genuinely curious. So let's just fast-forward straight to the very last award where finally we have KatMac and...Enuaaaaah What's Her Face, I'm sorry. It literally took me weeks - and a pronunciation/spelling guide that I found on a super-fan's YouTube account - just to be able to say and spell Troian Bellisario. Enuaude...yeah, it's hopeless right now. You know who I mean and deepest apologies for...sigh, What's Your Face. Anyway for all the hype they received for the promos for the RDMAs here they are in very quite literally the last five minutes of the whole damn show, just before DNCE's big finale number. It's...exactly as standard as all the other presenters aside from Laura and Vanessa's transparent attempt at "sibling rivalry" and the Andy Hurley vs. Animal drum solo battle. They're presenting Best Music Group and its won by Fifth Harmony (their first and only legitimate award of the show - I'm sorry, but it's still just cheesy to accept an award for your fandom) and other than having no less than seven extremely and ridiculously beautiful and gorgeous women on stage at the same time it's...exactly as no less or more remarkable than almost all the other award presentations (again, excepting the Andy Hurley vs. Animal drum battle which is the absolute closest this thing ever came to capturing the same spectacle at the KCAs). 

And we have our very last thing, the child cast of Black'ish introducing DNCE for the show's closeout performance of Cake by the Ocean which is exactly how the KCAs closed out this year. Yes, it's one thing to try to be like the KCAs, it's another thing to just freakin' copy them. And yes, I know DNCE is a hot act right now and Cake by the Ocean is a hot song right now (actually, I would personally vote both DNCE as new artist group of the year and CbtO as best new song of the year, believe it or not) so the chances of "convergence of coincidental similarities" is going to be exceedingly high, if not obligatory. The only difference is that at the RDMAs Joe Jonas sung in front of a large screen projection with a bunch of colored blocks going just up and down making for both a very weird and very boring game of Tetris, until it just freezes at the end so you can't tell if that's intentional or a legitimate computer bug, and at the KCAs Joe Jonas sung on top of a giant cake, considering this is a cake-themed song, with dancers hanging from the friggin' air

And that's really what it boils down to. For all its self-congratulatory jerking around and its blatant commercialism, the KCAs at least have to be respected as fun entertainment and something worth looking forward to. It's very legitimately an event in of itself, with unique features to offer for Nickelodeon fans and just fans of kidcoms or youth-oriented entertainment in general (hopefully I didn't just imply that myself being way aged out of that demo is creepy for liking this). You not only get to see your favorite stars, but they network actually throws them into fun and entertaining situations. It really does end up being an episode of a show itself. 

The RDMAs on the other hand, well...they really are geared towards the super-fans. And not necessarily the super-fans of the network, but of whatever artist or actor you happen to like. You tune in to see him or her, see if they win (or cheat by checking out social media) and then you can just tune out. Yes, it's got entertaining performances, but I wouldn't blame you if you just decide seeing the Vevo upload of the original music video on YouTube is the exact same experience. Other than that...it's every bit as, well, boring as the Oscars (I seriously don't get Oscar buzz, I'd much rather just wait for all of the winners to be immediately spoon-fed to me on the morning talk shows. I don't have time to spend, what, two, three hours doing nothing more but watching a bunch of names being announced and a bunch of tributes that I can either watch later or quite frankly just don't care about). 

Given that this is an awards show, and that unlike the KCAs it's playing the whole awards show angle very, very straight, it's kind of hard to grade on any sort of semblance of fairness. Given that, I've said my piece on the RDMAs vs. the KCAs, I'll see if I can get Mike to chime in, and you can read about other miscellaneous observations and if you're curious about all the other presentations, performances and awards below.

But I guess I can still give an MVP?

Awards MVP: Believe it or not Ariana Grande because I liked how cozy her performance was. Maybe even Gwen Stefani as a runner-up.

Stray Observations

 - some things I didn't think were important enough to mention in the main body, which was already in desperate need of a trim and shrinkage - two artists (it's not that I don't know who they are it's just that I forgot who they were, I remember one of them is actually someone I follow on Twitter) introduced the Radio Disney Country Music Awards (yes Radio Disney has a separate country music station now) and Maddie and Tae won both best Country Music Artist and Best Country Music Song, and Ashley Benson introduced the final Justin Bieber thing if you're also curious about that (and I'm sorry but she was really looking like that spotlight was really shining right in her eye, or something). Also some actresses from Nashville were with some girl who won some "Be a Star" contest from that Star Stable thing introduced a Kelsei Ballerini/Daya mashup. Yeah, that happened - but it was a lot nicer than what I feared it would be, and a lot closer to what I thought the Sabs/Sofia/Laura thing was gonna be. Also I guess Star Stable can't be that bad if it features a secret UFO crash site.Also, there are now two artists (Kelsei Ballerini and Ruth B) who have songs about Peter Pan out at the same time. 

 - Forever in Your Mind (you know, that group that includes Naldo from Best Friends Whenever) introduced Best Female Artist and Selena Gomez won (she couldn't come in person because of her tour so she submitted a video acceptance speech instead. Also she's friggin' holding her Ardy in the acceptance video so it's pretty obvious they knew about this waaaaay ahead of time). 

 - Cameron Boyce and "Latin YouTube Pop Sensation" Sofia Reyes introduced Zara Larsson. And, ah hell, if it's not too sexist to admit Zara Larsson is a hottie.

 - Ben Savage "repped for the dads" and introduced "RDMA additional winners" (yes that's seriously the category, the official "we're not even trying anymore let's wrap it up" category) and there's only one way to describe Ben's introduction:



- As for the "RDMA additional winners" themselves (basically everybody who won the most popular votes for whatever categories online, as described by Ben up there) they include Tori Kelly for Breakout Artist of the Year, Taylor Swift for Bestest Song of the year in the form of Bad Blood (a very odd choice actually considering, well, it's so 2015 and TayTay's come out with a whole bunch new songs for, you know, this actual year); Justin Bieber for Best Lip Sync Song in What Do You Mean?; Becky G for Artist With Best Style; One Direction for Best Crush Song in Perfect; Meghan Trainor for Song that Makes you Happy in Better When I'm Dancing (presented by Goldfish!) "and for a full list of winners go to the RDMA website!" Ok....

- Oh God they actually called Alli Simpson an "Australian Social Media Influencer." If you want to know what a "Social Media Influencer" is read this, this or if you happen to side with Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel against Gawker and aren't too butthurt about MTV no longer having anything to do with music videos, this. (Alli Simpson is also a radio host for Radio Disney itself, so it's rather odd they don't introduce her as such and instead go with...this). Anyway she's introducing the third and final segment of Justin Bieber going into this school and standing around and playing acoustic versions of his hits, and they try to have one of the girls in the music class try to perform a solo for him. But she gets so choked up about being in the Bieb's presence, and to tell you the truth, it just can't help but be absolutely adorable, especially when Biebs gives her a hug and tries to help her out. Biebs then announces that Radio Disney and the music program thingie they teamed up with will donate $10,000 to the music program - granted, that's enough to keep the program running (for maybe an academic year? A few months?) but it's a drop in the bucket over what's needed long-term. If everybody in the country donated a dime, a shiny-headed Roosevelt, that would be well over $300,000 to put into a music program - potentially enough to keep said program running for all four years of a student's high school experience, or much, much more (I'll admit I have no idea how expensive a typical high school music program is). If everybody in the country just donated a single, solitary dollar, that would be enough to virtually keep any given school music program running indefinitely (or alternatively, build a small-scale school district in its entirety).

 - Ok we finally have Pete Wentz and Andy Hurley presenting and as soon as Pete talks about Andy being the greatest drummer in the world we have this segment with Animal from The Muppets interrupting. BTW, ABC's The Muppets has been canceled, and the world and even franchise itself is better for it. The greatest contribution that show actually gave to the world? It's right here, playing out right now at the RDMAs with a promised drum solo battle between Animal and Andy Hurley - but not before Pete finishes introducing Best "Anthem" Song which is won by Sabs for Eyes Wide Open (admittedly one of the best songs she's done so far). The Andy Hurley/Animal drum solo battle (or "Man Vs. Animal" battle, haha) had some stuff going for it - it was kind of-sort of Guitar Hero-ish, or at least as far as they can make it on this stage, and hey I like the "Man vs. Animal" font. And yeah, I know being a Muppet they probably have the drum solo version of lip syncing to pass for Animal, but hey it's still an impressive drum solo (and really is it any more "fake" than at least some of the performances Disney Channel has pulled in the past, if not at these very RDMAs?) Pete declares the drum battle a tie despite Animal literally smoking himself out. Sabrina actually seems shocked to be sharing the stage with a smoking Muppet.

 - Laura and Vanessa Marano present together introducing "RDMA Hero Award Recipient" Gwen Stefani. They have this sisterly faux-bicker fight before pulling the opps the whole country is watching us including our mom! trope thing over who's actually going to introduce Gwen. At the very least someone managed to get Laura out of that...whatever the hell she was wearing for her "Boombox" performance. Gwen Stefani's actual performance was...kind of weird, with a bunch of random skaters on the stage (which I guess isn't all that weird anymore) and...a bunch of Gwen Stefani heads randomly flying in a tunnel on the big-screen projection. Yeah that's legit creepy, yo. The song itself, I really like - for all my bitchin' and gripin' about why Gwen Stefani just randomly got this Hero award (oh, and it's something that they've loudly advertised well in advance of the awards so itself so it's not like there's even any suspense there) I've been a big fan of both Stefani and No Doubt since back when No Doubt was first blowing up on the charts (man I'm old) although I'm really, really not too fond of when the band just freshly broke up and Stefani was really trying to figure out what her style and genre should be as a solo act (I for one am glad B-A-N-A-N-A-S and Hollaback Girl are all but completely forgotten).

 - What me whip/Watch me Ne-ne has to be the absolute worst song of 2015-16 and a legitimate bane against humanity.

 - Becky G's dropping the code word for the Radio Disney contest, uh, thingie (the contest likely has to be long-over by now) and the codeword for the Play It Forward sweepstakes is...play. Real creative there, but then again I suppose that's the point.

 - Yes, they replaced Cake by the Ocean's "hot damn" with "oh man." Honestly, the change makes zero creative/artistic change whatsoever. 


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