The 1st Annual Ninnyhammy Awards WinnersPresented on February 15, 2015
Flop Album Of The YearARTPOP
There was no dearth of spectacular failures released in the eligibility period (hello Paula by Robin Thicke), but none of them even comes close to the magnificent floppy grandeur of Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP.
Released to massive hype in November 2013, the set – Lady Gaga’s third studio effort – reportedly arrived with a $25 million promotional price tag. The album did manage to debut on top, but only sold a fraction of what her last album (2011’s Born This Way) sold in its first week.
Embarrassingly, the album’s first single, the self-centered and derivative “Applause,” limped to a No. 4 peak on the Billboard Hot 100, despite desperate pleas from the star to her fans to buy multiple copies and endlessly watch the video online (to pad its streaming tally).
The second single, the R. Kelly-featuring “Do What You Want” did much worse, peaking at No. 13, even after enlisting former nemesis Christina Aguilera for a remix.
As a last ditch effort, Gaga threw literally everything and the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills into the video for ARTPOP’s third official single, the flaccid and charmless “G.U.Y.” That, too, tanked on the charts. ARTPOP then quickly receded into the footnotes of irrelevance.
Flop Tour Or Musical Performance Of The YearLady Gaga’s artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball
Against better judgment, Lady Gaga hit the road and went on tour in support of ARTPOP in 2014. By extension, the tour was also a massive flop, playing to half empty arenas around the world, even after putting tickets on “Buy One, Get One” sales and giving them away for free. The tour grossed an estimated $88.7 million from 84 shows.
The silver lining was that, due to the severely low budget set aside to mount the tour (inflatable stage, cheap DIY costumes, lots of bad wigs, and sub-par backing band and dancers), the tour most likely broke even, even if barely.
Lady Gaga also got to showcase her showmanship and stage presence yet again, silencing critics and reminding everyone what a truly great artist she is in the process.
Best (Ab)Use Of The Elderly To Save A Teetering CareerCheek To Cheek
Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga
After the dizzying one-two punch busted flush of ARTPOP and its supporting tour, the Haus Of Gaga was in disarray and upside down with the wheels still turning. Lady Gaga had to make a quick decision to prevent her career from spiraling further downward. The answer was clear as day: make an album with Tony Bennett.
Having already collaborated previously on a song for Bennett’s Duets II album, Gaga saw an opportunity to turn the tide and dragged the octogenarian out to New York City’s best karaoke lounges to record an album of pop vocal standards, knowing full well that it’s guaranteed to net herself a Grammy Award. You see, the Grammys give one to Bennett whenever he makes an album, basically as a reward for staying alive and remaining a productive card-carrying member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
Cheek To Cheek debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with 131,000 copies sold in its first week according to Nielsen SoundScan, narrowly beating Kenny Chesney’s The Big Revival by a thousand copies (Chesney didn’t beg his fans to buy multiple copies of the album, that’s why). It also won the Best Pop Vocal Album Award at the 2015 Grammys. Without a doubt, the collaboration managed to remove some of the stench of flop from Gaga’s ARTPOP era, but not by much.
Best Vocal Equivalent Of BlackfaceThe New Classic
In a year riddled with racial tensions in America, Australian export Iggy Azalea couldn’t have arrived/been marketed at a more inappropriate time. Affecting a “black swag” that’s about as believable and authentic as Justin Bieber’s, Azalea was ubiquitous in 2014 with her jarring “black” rapping style and accent on such irritating songs as “Fancy (feat. Charli XCX)” and “Black Widow (feat. Rita Ora)” from her debut release, the audaciously titled The New Classic. Azalea is clearly one white girl who has listened to and mimed a whole lot of Da Brat records in front of the mirror, and translating that miming ability into record sales and a legitimate (albeit fleeting) career is an astounding achievement in and of itself. Just don’t ask her to freestyle.
Best Sappy Performance Of A Tom Petty Song
British crooner Sam Smith is like the male, gay version of Adele with a fancy hairdo, and his
remake of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” “Stay With Me” is his very own “Someone Like You.” It was reasonably listenable and easy on the ears when it was first released, but after repeated listens, it became clear how sappy this song (and all his other ones from his debut album) really is. It’s so sappy that even depressed people refuse to listen to it.
Most Exasperating Record Of The Year“Happy”
Pharrell Williams’ contribution to the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack could’ve been a great, classic track that you loved to hear at any time. If only it hadn’t been overexposed and played to death on the radio. Instead, it’s become the type of song that you want to sucker-punch every time you heard it.
Obesity-Promoting Song Of The Year“All About That Bass”
Double up on that extra large Dairy Queen milkshake, chow down on that Triple Baconator With Cheese and wolf down those Krispy Kreme donuts, cupcakes and French fries, because Meghan Trainor is all about that bass and that quadruple bypass.
Annoying New Artist That Hopefully Would Have A Shortlived CareerIggy Azalea
Sam Smith and Iggy Azalea were neck and neck in this race, but the Australian blackface rapper ultimately pulled away and triumphed. Don’t get us wrong. They both annoy us to the ninth ring of Hell, but in the end, one is more annoying than the other. While Sam Smith’s sappy schmaltz can get grating at times, at least he’s singing in his real voice, and his work is coming from an authentic place. Miss Azalea, on the other hand, is not only annoying as all Hell, but she also embodies an insincere fakeness that is simply insufferable.