So it wouldn't be entirely accurate to say that everyone who matters in dance music attended the International Dance Music Awards at Dolce last night. But even if Armin Van Buuren and Deadmau5 couldn't make the event, a few high-class yet earth-bound performers made the brief awards show and the long after-party a night to remember.
The night got off to a shaky start when the host, drummer Daniel Glass, took to the mic and referenced the "days of disco" in his introduction. The mostly 35-and-under crowd stared blankly and silently until Glass returned to language they could understand.
"Two million votes from 183 countries were cast this year," he said, before moving to the first awards category, "Best Music Video," which went to David Guetta's "Gettin' Over You." Singer Chris Willis, who was to prove a key player in the awards show as a presenter, a recipient, and a performer, accepted the award on behalf of Guetta.
Next on stage came Wynter Gordon with the first performance of the evening --- a steamy rendition of her hit single "Dirty Talk."
Antonio Piacquadio took the podium next to announce the industry's Best [DJ Equipment] Manufacturer of the year. Pioneer beat out Native Instruments, Apple and others for the win. Technics was awarded Best Turntable, a category which may not exist next year as the vinyl element quickly dies out of deejaying. Scratchpro won for Best DJ Software.
Black Coffee, whose biggest contribution to the awards show was yet to come, introduced Amnesia as the Best Global Club. Ultra was awarded Best Music Festival and Space the Best US Dance Club before pop singer Emii, sporting a goth-style get-up and too much wax in her long red hair, took the mic. She performed "Mr. Romeo," a ditzy commercial number, before handing the stage to presenters Barbara Tucker and Junior Sanchez.
They awarded Afrojack Best Remixer. He also won Best Breakthrough DJ.
Best Radio Station (Global) went to BBC1; Best Compilation to Annual 2010, Ministry of Sound. DJ Dave Dresden and band Jessie and the Toy Boys awarded the Best Alternative Rock Dance Track to The Temper Trap's, Glassnote.
Mya, of "Ghetto Superstar" fame, was next to perform. She sang her dance single "Love is the Answer" as two sexy blonde dancers flung their bodies around her on stage. She sparkled with eyelashes you could spot from the balcony and big pouty red lipsticked lips. The performance was solid, with Mya joining the choreography and still managing to keep her voice full force. "I love Miami," Mya said after her performance. "I am always out running on the beach and getting exercise. Plus the city doesn't really shut down, ever. You can be out partying till 5 a.m. every night," she said.
DJ Chuck Love announced Duck Sauce's "Barbara Streisand" as the quirky, catchy winner in the Best Underground Dance Track Category before the next live act came on. Grace, a fresh-faced Russian pop singer, brought a hot young dance crew that groped at her lustfully, old school Britney Spears or Madonna-style, as she breathily sang her hit "When the Lights Go Down" to a snappy house beat.
Next to be announced were the categories Best Dance Music Specialty Retailer, which went to Beatport.com, and Best Dance Music Website, which went to Beatportal. Best American Dance Record Label went to Ultra Records.
To follow was one of the most remarkable performances of the awards show, to be topped only by his appearance later on in the night. Zakes, a South African beatboxer, scatter, and singer took the microphone, his acid washed jeans, bright red blazer and matching sneakers carving out an interesting visual as he danced, his jerky movements reminiscent of Ray Charles. The crowd put down their drinks and took note with a kind of "Who is this guy?" fascination.
Next, Dave Aude and British dance music diva Katherine Ellis (wearing pink satin gloves and black feathers on her head) presented awards for Best Independent Record Promotion/Marketing (John Suraci, Promo Only) and Best Record Label Promoter or Exec In-House (Mikal Piron of Armada Music).
Chris Willis gave a vocally strong performance of "No Gettin' Over You," before the next --- and last --- batch of categories was announced.
Best Global DJ went to Armin Van Buuren (who did provide a taped video acceptance speech), who also won Best Podcast for A State of Trance. Deadmau5 won Best North American DJ and Best Artist went to Swedish House Mafia. David Guetta's "Gettin' Over You" won Best Commercial Trance Track, Swedish House Mafia got Best Electro Track for "One (Your Name)," and also Best Progressive Track for the same song.
Best Latin/Reggaeton Track went to "We No Speak Americano" by Yolanda Be Cool and Dcup, and Best R&B/Urban Track went to Rihanna's "Only Girl in the World." "Raise Your Weapon" by Deadmau5 was the Best Dubstep/DnB/Jungle Track, while "Alejandro" by Lady Gaga won for Best Pop Dance Track. And "Like a G6," by Far East Movement, featuring Dev and the Cataracs, won Best Rap/Hip Hop Dance Track. Dev and Niles Cyrano Holowell Dhar, one part of the Cataracs, were the closing act of the awards show, performing several tracks, including their winning "Like a G6." Cute and dorky, hipster Niles manned the equipment while Dev, with pixie-cut hair and an all-black get-up, laid down the lyrics.
The crowd grinned, danced and mingled through the afterparty, sipping on bottles of expensive champagne and vodka. When Katherine Ellis' mighty presence took to the stage, they were ready for the electric performance that followed. Her mighty pipes bellowed her three all-time greatest hits, and she commanded the audience to "touch the diva," reaching her pink-gloved hands out for the mesmerized audience to caress.
"It felt triumphant," she said, coming off stage. "I've been making music for 20 years; and in that time I've been lucky enough to have a few huge hits. It was great to be able to sing three of them tonight." She added that she'll be making an appearance at Mynt Lounge (1921 Collins Ave., Miami Beach) tonight.
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SHOW ME HOW
At 1 a.m., Black Coffee took over the turn tables, setting the dancing audience into a groovy, electrified, Afro-trance. Ambient choral music echoed from behind the dance floor as the hypnotized party-people bounced along. Coffee's South African prodigy Bucie, who performed several luscious songs, including her hit "Superman," as she twisted her tight little body, shaking her booty as the guys near the front of the stage all but drooled on themselves.
Afterwards, she confessed that it was her first day ever in the United States, and that she had slept most of it away. "I'm very lazy," she said, disregarding the effects of jet lag. "Black coffee is a great artist to work with," she went on. "He is very good about telling you what he wants you to do in a nice way. Although when he was telling me about Superman, which I wrote, how to sing it, I said, 'hey wait a second, you can't even sing!'" She laughed, taking hold of fruity looking drinks passed to her from the bar, and smiling patiently for cameras flashes from the feverish crowd.
Finally, Zakes came back out to wrap it up, using his song "Shake Your Bum Bum" as a medium through which to teach the audience how to shake their booties "like they do in Nigeria," demonstrating by rotating his round ass in tight, expert circles as he gyrated and jerked away. The dance floor went wild trying to keep up, and the energy of the performance carried the party late into the night.