Set in the glamorous locale of Monaco, the 1993 World Music Awards appeared to be more of an excuse to lure the well-to-do to the famous playground than a bona fide awards show. Although the international flavor provided glimpses at music that is popular outside the United States, program’s blandness could explain why the five-year-old ceremony has never before been broadcast on American TV.
Taped during May 12 ceremonies at the Monte Carlo Sporting Club, the awards honor best-selling artists as determined by the Intl. Federation of the Phonographic Industry in all countries except Germany, Italy and Spain, where winners are selected by a trio of music magazines.
Many of the artist intros consisted of lofty hyperbole, with adjectives like “phenomenal,””astronomical” and “incredible” tossed about like mobile homes in a tornado. Several acceptance speeches featured common-man themes and calls for world unity, topics that seemed out of place among the jeweled and moneyed set that frequents the tony town’s casinos and expensive hotels.
Michael Jackson’s pair of awards, for best-selling world and American recording artist of the year, were met with the expected standing ovation. The IFPI also created an award for Jackson, labeling him the world’s best-selling artist of the era.
Carpenters at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch must be on golden time building cabinets to house all these never-before-presented awards that he seems to be acquiring lately.
Other awards included a nod to country music gatekeeper Garth Brooks, who was awarded the best-selling country artist trophy, and Billy Ray Cyrus, named best international new artist. Both gave taped acceptance speeches.
The opening performance by Tina Tuner, one of the handful of acts who actually performed live, was the program’s high point. Turner also was presented with an award for her lifelong contribution to the music industry, not to be confused with Rod Stewart being awarded for his lifelong contribution to the rock industry.
Stewart reprised his “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You,” which, thanks to his “Unplugged” show and single, must be burned into the world’s psyche by now.
Host Michael Douglas, himself a music mogul of sorts with his Third Stone Records label, did an admirable job as ringmaster of this hodgepodge of musical interests.
Clearly edited for pacing, show was still too lengthy even at roughly half of its original running time.