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September 2007 (UK)  »

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Follows MOBO Awards 2004 (2004) See more »

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Improvement on last year but still only OK (spoilers)
28 October 2007 | by (Birmingham, UK) – See all my reviews

After a roundly terrible show last year, MOBO returned with no clear suggestion that it would shake itself up and deliver in a way that would be significantly different. Indeed the presence of Shaggy as presenter just reminded me of Coolio as their careers in the UK are more or less based around one or two "novelty" hits, albeit very big hits. So it began with Shaggy delivering a standard performance with his hits. His delivery as host is not that great but not bad either. Jamelia fits in beside in her own way – with the heat from her appearance coming out from the screen so good did she look. She isn't as natural as she can be on chat shows etc, which is a shame but understandable given the difference – plus to be honest the outfits meant I didn't really care.

The performances were mixed this year but did come from a solid collection of acts who had a good song out or at least were recent. No really big names but a good spread. I thought it was a shame that Amy Winehouse was introduced by having the "best voice you're likely to ever hear" and then come out to give a performance that was flat at best. Kano was good yet again and I liked his two songs. Mutya was OK but I personally don't have a lot of love for her single, regardless of how big it was. I'd never heard of Robin Thicke but, having now seen him perform his big song, maybe I had heard it countless times because it is so forgettable and bland that I wondered why anyone was cheering him. T-Payne (sp?) is not really my taste and is hot temporarily but the single is catchy and was performed with energy. I've outgrown his type of music myself but must admit that Neo did a good turn to close the show.

The various presenters were mostly solid enough, coming on, doing their job and clearing off. OK most of them do play up to the "yup yup, mic check" stuff but they are all made to look better thanks to a couple of painful turns. Tarantino was the first one, with a shockingly bad attempt at topical humour about Gordon Brown and the lack of audience response just made it worse. Simon Webber of Blue came out with a nice little joke about his height next to a model but then spoilt it by forcing a performance on it while his co-presenter looked on bored. Leon and Amerie were effortlessly the best – sexy, charming and natural – they put the rest entirely in their shadow and, if I had a hand in it I would have approached them to present next year. The MOBO organiser came out after that and dragged things down badly by reading out names and ages of victims of stabbing and shooting like some sort of morbid bingo. It is an important issue and I appreciate them for recognising this, but they need to work out how to do it without seeming to go from 4th gear into reverse in an instance.

The awards themselves were reasonable enough. UK male was a toss-up between Dizzee and Kano, just a shame that Dizzee didn't even send a message for not being there. Winehouse for UK female was a given and was the only one of a thin field that had done much recently. Best song and best R&B went to Neo, the latter was right but I thought the former should have gone to Winehouse for Rehab. West got best video for Stronger and he deserved it but personally I thought Common deserved best hip-hop as he is simpler a better rapper than West. Rhiana was deserved but sadly wasn't here this time. I dislike reggae but even I can see Sean Kingston was a rubbish populist award. African, gospel and newcomers awards I had no real opinion on but it was funny to see Idibia smash his award by accident. I will say it was good to see MOBO had returned jazz as a category and were rewarded with a wonderful collection of nominees and a charming winner in Soweto Kinch, who I will be checking out on cd as a result of this. Westwood was a lively choice for DJ and met the boo-ers head on. No real surprises then but nothing that made me angry with injustice apart from the usual shunning of Common.

Not brilliant as a show though. The usual celebration of ebonics and booty over something less generic and more challenged was a bit depressing but touches of class from the likes of Kinch did help reduce this. The performances and awards were OK while only some of the presenters were terrible. Of course it goes without saying that Jamelia was a treat for the eye, particularly after Yashere last year. An improvement on MOBO 2006 then still has the usual failings despite being solid enough in most areas.


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