ABC aired The American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 24, and the big surprise was that none of the featured pop stars launched into a political diatribe about the horrors of the Trump era. The shock factor was reserved for one of the most vicious assaults on God ever projected by Hollywood.
One of today's most popular singers among teenagers is Camila Cabello, and she performed her song "Living Proof," which suggests God is found in her lover's raunchy moves. "Like a choir singing 'Hallelujah'/ When my body's crashin' right into ya," she sang. "Ooh, there's God in every move/ Ooh, and you're the living proof." In the second verse, Cabello added, "Show your demons, and I might show you mine/ One at a time."
The lyrics were illustrated onstage with a set of male and female dancers around the singer, all dressed in lacy costumes. Some costumes were white lace, and some were black, and they wore implied wings on their backs, suggesting a blurring of angels and demons. But it ended with these spiritual dancers thrusting their bodies into one another while surrounded by flames. The audience got the hint. One tweeted: "Thank you for the giant stage orgy! It was beautiful!"
That, believe it or not, wasn't the worst of it.
Pop star Ke$ha performed her song "Raising Hell," which is loaded with profanity and sex talk: "I'm all f---ed up in my Sunday best/ No walk of shame 'cause I love this dress/ ... Only God can judge this holy mess/ B----, I'm blessed." She begged her lover to "Bounce it up and down where the good Lord split it." She boasted, "mama raised me well/ But I don't wanna go to Heaven without raising Hell."
For the ABC show, Ke$ha brought along rapper Big Freedia, a deep-voiced gay male who dresses like a drag queen and uses "she/her" pronouns. While Ke$ha skipped the Federal Communications Commission-discouraged profanity, she sang in front of rainbow-colored stained-glass windows, suggesting a pro-LGBTQ vibe. Her troupe of dancers wore hot pink pajama-like outfits with Roman collars, as if the performance were an Episcopalian-priest disco slumber party. And she began the performance by saying, "Welcome to our Sunday service."
The Hell theme continued with 17-year-old songstress Billie Eilish, who offered her song "All the Good Girls Go to Hell." It begins with the words "My Lucifer is lonely."
This dark song is touted as a rant against climate change, but it carries the message that Heaven is a prison: "Pearly gates look more like a picket fence/ Once you get inside 'em/ Got friends but can't invite them." She paints God as a woman who desperately needs the devil. "All the good girls go to Hell/ 'cause even God herself has enemies," she sang. "And once the water starts to rise/ and Heaven's out of sight/ She'll want the devil on her team."
This angry child won two awards including best new artist. American teenagers tend to know more song lyrics than prayers, and that's especially sad when the lyrics of the hottest songs try to tear God into pieces.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is the director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.