MIAMI — Security was tight and artists pleaded for peace, but the mood remained light at Wednesday night's American Dance Music Awards despite U.S. strikes on Iraq the same night.
P. Diddy's preview of his new dance record was the highlight of the second annual event, held literally on the beach, with the stage facing the ocean and its back turned to the noisy Ocean Drive.
The whole show felt like a build-up to P. Diddy's performance. When he finally hit the stage, he appeared from behind a smoke curtain, clad in white pants and shirt, blue-and-white jacket and a Yankees cap, to whisper the lyrics of the single "Let's Get Ill" over bouncy bass. Once the beat got people dancing, Diddy introduced singer Kelis, who took good care of the song's line "I'll be your fantasy."
The track is the first single off Diddy's upcoming dance album (see "Smothered Pork Chops And Couture Weren't Enough: Diddy Now Making Fruity Drinks"). Inspired by a recent trip to Ibiza, P. Diddy teamed up with such hot producers as the Iranian-American duo Deep Dish, Chicago's Felix Da Housecat and British deity Nellee Hooper (Soul II Soul, Massive Attack, Björk, Madonna).
"Let's get up and get ill/ Your dreams will be fulfilled," P. Diddy rhymed to the 3,000 people who had waited on line for more than an hour in order to allow staff members to search them as part of extra security measures in light of the U.S. bombing of Iraq (see "Bush Addresses Nation, Confirms Attack On Iraq Has Begun").
That "other" reality floated around the huge orange moon that dominated the scene at Lummus Park. Quick war chats passed here and there before the show started. The general mood of Miami's annual Winter Music Conference week, however, seems to be way beyond war worries. Still, some of the awards-show presenters addressed the issue.
"We have to pray for peace," P. Diddy said before handing the award for Record of the Year to the U.K. dance trio Dirty Vegas for their song "Days Go By." Steve Smith, Paul Harris and Ben Harris were the big winners of the night, with three awards for the song that, as a voiceover informed the crowd as the group walked onstage for the third time, was recorded in only one day. Dirty Vegas also won Best Video and Best Song in a Commercial for the Mitsubishi ad that used the hit single. Dirty Vegas' live rendition of "Days Go By" at the ADMA included Parliament/ Funkadelic's Bootsy Collins on bass.
Before Dirty Vegas got onstage, Washington, D.C.'s epic house producer BT (a.k.a. Brian Transeau) used his spot as presenter to ask people to take a minute and think about what's going on right now, and suggested that the audience go to peace rallies. "This still is a democracy!" he said.
As for the rest of the speakers, including the celebrity host and hostesses — actresses Juliette Lewis and Roselyn Sanchez, and Grammy winner DJ Roger Sanchez, who also hosted last year's Dance Awards show — there wasn't much else to say about the war.
To Paul Oakenfold, who closed the ceremony with the bombastic single "Ready, Steady, Go," it was more important to dedicate his Best Dance Album award for Bunkka to New York house pioneer Frankie Knuckles, "who is ill in Chicago." DJ/producer David Morales, who was part of the Def Mix team with Knuckles in the '90s, also mentioned him. Morales and executive producer Judith Weinstein got the Outstanding Contribution award also shared by Knuckles, and wished him a "speedy recovery."
Justin Timberlake was selected by online voters (who cast their votes at www.dancestar.com) as Best Chart Act, beating out J. Lo, Madonna, Mariah Carey and Angie Stone. Timberlake was not in town to pick up the award, and neither was Kylie Minogue, whose "Come Into My World" remix, done by New York's Fischerspooner, got the Best Remix award.
Following the ceremony, the DanceStar USA after-show party commenced at Opium Garden, an open-air club with four stages. "The Garden" hosted a tribute to Def Mix's 15th anniversary with David Morales and Satoshi Tomiie. "The Imperial Room" had Madonna's mentor Jellybean Benitez on top of the list. "Opium" featured Saeed & Palash, Robbie Rivera and DJ Colette, the 2003 ADMA Breakthrough DJ. And "Prive," Opium Garden's VIP section, presented an exclusive set by the night's golden boys, Dirty Vegas.
DanceStar 2003 - American Dance Music Awards winners list:
- Best Chart Act: Justin Timberlake
- Best Video: "Days Go By," Dirty Vegas
- Record of the Year: "Days Go By," Dirty Vegas
- Best Remix: Fischerspooner, for Kylie Minogue's "Come Into My World"
- Best New Artist: Metro Area
- Best Song in a Commercial: Dirty Vegas' "Days Go By" for Mitsubishi
- Best Club Night: Danny Tenaglia's Be Yourself (Fridays at the Arc, New York)
- Best International DJ: Tiesto
- Best International Act: DJ Sammy
- Best Dance Album: Paul Oakenfold's Bunkka
- Best Record Label: Ultra
- Breakthrough DJ: DJ Colette
- Best Club Venue: Club Space, Miami
- Best Act: Moby
- Best Event: Delta Heavy