Janet Jackson kicked off the 2009 American Music Awards on Sunday, and while she sounded good, the performance as a whole felt just a half-step off.
Jackson ran through a medley of some of her biggest hits, from “Control” to “If I Was Your Girl” and ending with “Together Again.” It sounded good — from this couch, it looked like she was singing live with help from a backing track — and the choreography she executed with her phalanx of dancers was as tight as you’d expect.
But the eight-minute performance also lacked the sizzle we’ve seen from Jackson when she’s at the very top of her game; there wasn’t that palpable energy coming through the screen. You can hardly blame her for that, given the six months she has just gone through, and probably the best thing about it was seeing her beaming at the end of the performance as the crowd gave her a standing ovation.
That smile, in and of itself, was reason enough to cheer. And maybe we had the expectations bar set a little high, all things considered. We were expecting to be blown away and came away only impressed.
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