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ARIAs: On The Red Carpet

Zeitgeisters,

In the old days awards shows were crazed affairs where the liquor ran freely and substances were abused with impunity. Whether it was a Grammys, an Oscars, an Emmys or even a Logies, you could count on a televised awards ceremony to show you something live and embarrassing. Those days, also knows as the 1970s and 1980s, are sadly passed. The commercial imperative, always one of the reasons for an awards show, has become the sole reason they exist.

The televised part of the Australian Rock Industry Awards have become a staid, polite, split-second affair where musicians, usually the least organised of all entertainers, turn up in their finery (many scarves, ascots and cravats this year) and thank EMI should they win. Pah!

The ARIA Red Carpet Special got off to a rousingly ordinary start as ex-Idol Ricki-Lee Coulter stepped out of a limo and began belting out a song. She walked along the miles of carpet and was met with hot dancers of both sexes all oozing plenty of ‘tude. “D’ya wanna little of this?” Ricki-Lee asked, some at home answered “as little of it as possible” but she carried on regardless.

Finally it just kinda of stopped, and the young audience screamed in appreciation. Actually they screamed for anything and during everything, so it was difficult to distinguish what they did and didn’t like. Idol’s James Mathison was the red carpet host and he popped up in time to throw to Hamish and Andy who discussed the wind factor and how glad they were to not be wearing skirts.

Someone in a control room somewhere hit a switch and suddenly we were watching tape of Ham’ and Andy interviewing the twins known as The Veronicas. It may seem to the more jaded that The Veronicas are incapable of ever saying anything insightful or interesting and this time proved no exception. But they were stoked to be there.

Shannon Noll knew he wasn’t going to win highest-selling single. He admitted to having already done the calculations. Sneaky Sound System were nommed six times but claimed they were going to write their acceptance speech on a napkin once they got inside.

Even though the show proper hadn’t started it was time to hand out the highest-selling single ARIA. It went to Silverchair for Straight Lines. Daniel Johns was a little weird and disconnected as usual and accepted the award in a lacklustre fashion.

Rogue Traders answered Andy’s fairly weak gag about their name attracting tax department scrutiny, with a better one about taking their cues from music honcho Glenn Wheatley (who was recently jailed for tax fraud). Hamish tried to come back with it being officially “too soon” for Wheatley gags but he was just miffed about being gazumped by a muso.

James Mathison interviewed Guy Sebastian who said something that sounded like the he’d been in the US and worked with the MGs of “Booker T and the” fame - and that they were his backing band for his recent recorded album. I assumed I was hearing things. Very bad things.

It was all heavily edited and zipped by without the audience at home having to process anything. We glimpsed Ben Lee, Megan Gale and Wally de Backer (Gotye) but any vibe had already been wiped off to produce a slick video package. Hamish pretended to sell Delta Goodrem’s autograph to some tweenies in the crowd while Andy threw to the ads.

And really it was all about the ads. Big W, Chupa Chups, Toyota Yaris KFC and Olay Total Effects 7 in One (Australia’s award-winning anti-ageing cream). They were in the breaks and sometimes in the show itself as idents and promos spun on and off screen.

Back on the carpet, the pre-show decided to break into a behind-the-scenes video about how tough it was to put on a show such as this at Acer Stadium. Mathison said the ARIAs were six months of hard work and that it wasn’t all about “boat shoes, San Pelligrino and prawn cocktails.”

Phil from Grinspoon said that his nails were done in coral as a tribute to the racing industry’s Gai Waterhouse. It was tenuous and weird, but these rare qualities was beginning to look like a virtue in this very polished environment. There was some Delta chat and then Josh Pyke gagging about lamb on a rocket salad. You could say everyone was on their best behaviour.

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman (pictured), The Grates and Dave Hughes all shuffled by and none of them had anything memorable to say. Then it was Highest Selling Album time and it went to Damien Leith, yet another ex-Idol type. He seemed a little underwhelmed at receiving his award in this way. It was beginning to look like this idea of waylaying an award recipient on the red carpet was a dead-set loser with no atmosphere or buzz generated as a result.

Just as it felt like the Red Carpet Special would end neatly and on time, we were treated to a live performance by The Veronicas. I could say something snarky here, but I shall refrain. Let me just comment that their tween-friendly act was a perfect entrée to the hour of Australian Idol Channel Ten slipped in before the ARIAs-proper were broadcast.

Elevate the Insignificant,

Mr Trivia

Check out the other site for the 2007 ARIA Awards Recap.

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