Welcome to the latest TGJ Roundtable!

Over the years, That Grape Juice has established a distinguished voice that – whether loved or loathed – sparks discussion, debate, and on occasion drama!

Though comprised of seasoned writers who share a similar outlook on Urban Pop culture, the idiosyncrasies of the TGJ team members often lend for quite heated debates “behind the scenes” about the hottest topics.

Now, we give you a front row seat to the show. In a format similar to ‘The View’ or ‘The Real’, TGJ editors – Sam, David, Rashad, and Joe – get real in a very candid way.

Today’s roundtable topic asks each anchor their thoughts on the…

2018 AMAs 


Heading into the AMAs, I anticipated to be slayed on the merit of the names lined up to perform. Especially as so many other ceremonies this year really lacked representation balance – whether that be genre, gender, or the tier of talent tapped.

As for what was delivered? The AMAs didn’t meet the benchmark I hoped for holistically – but it did provide a number major moments, most notably from Ciara and Cardi B.

With CiCi, she brought a ‘Dose’ of dynamite that cannot be denied. From the first beat, it was clear she had a dual goal of blazing the stage and reminding the masses of her live gravitas. Suffice to say, her mission was more than accomplished. Missy Elliott was a great touch too.

In some regards, it reminded how criminal it almost is she hasn’t been tapped to perform on platforms of this scale (again) sooner. After last night though, we imagine that’ll be changing. For, she showed and proved that she really was a ‘Level Up’ from pretty much everyone else who performed.

Speaking of upping the ante, Cardi is truly coming into her own as a performer and it makes her overall proposition all the more exciting. She’s showing spark, character, and precision; she also crucially looked like she was enjoying herself, which made me enjoy her offering all the more.

Elsewhere, the usually scorching J.Lo was somewhat lukewarm (the song ‘Limitless’ was not the tea or biscuits). And while it was great seeing Mariah Carey back in the award show mix, I’m gonna need her to bring a lil more. The staging and dancing was a welcome change from her usual, but the reality is that she once again stood still like a vase that folk were afraid to tip over. Also, I’m not convinced any of the songs she’s released from her project thus far lend themselves to huge spectacles anyway. Perhaps something she ought to consider before accelerating full speed.

Camila Cabello, Dua Lipa, Post Malone and co really amounted to one long toilet break. Taylor Swift too.

Thankfully, the Aretha Franklin tribute redeemed in the show’s closing moments. Gladys Knight, CeCe Winans, and Ledisi especially.

All in all, the AMAs saw the seasoned acts bring the most pepper and spice to an otherwise basic tasting show.



How awesome was last night?

If I’m going to be completely honest, the AMAs has always sat beneath the Grammys, BET Awards, and VMAs on my top four list of awards ceremonies. But, after last night, that changed.

To begin with, the evening’s organisers deserve a huge round of applause for the time they allotted for their Aretha Franklin tribute. In the past tributes to deceased icons have felt “thrown together” and disingenuous on other awards shows making their undeniably heartfelt celebration of Aretha’s work a poignant moment.

Top performance of the night for me? That has to go to Cardi B. Unlike a large number of her peers, Cardi has proved that she has enough respect for her songs to arm them with the kind of theatrical live performances music lovers are only used to seeing on stages graced by Pop acts. Hip Hop, though the dominant genre in today’s market, seems to have lost its affinity with awe inspiring creative directors and visuals so seeing Cardi deliver as well as she did was definitely a breath of fresh air.

Another highlight was Ciara. After years of being denied access to major awards show stages the entertainer was finally given the opportunity to remind the world of the power, skill and talent the industry has sometimes been keen to overlook. Put simply, she nailed. Do you agree?



I’ve always considered the AMAs the year’s least exciting big music awards show and last night they ensured my opinion remained intact.

Taylor Swift’s performance was surprisingly engaging and didn’t feature as much of her usual Tinman-tributing dance moves.  Granted, those vocals may have sounded like she was intermittently having a nervous breakdown, but the overall spectacle – including her choreography improvements – was noteworthy. Post Malone and Ty Dolla $ign‘s performance was so lackluster it literally looked like they put it together minutes before they walked on stage.

Jennifer Lopez – usually an awards’ show highlight for me – rendered an interesting showing.  It was not bad by any means, but her emphasis on “singing” lately and lip-syncing long dramatic notes in her live performances is actually more comical than anything.


Highlights, to my surprise, included Camila Cabello whose unique vocal showing still came across convincing and engaging. Ciara, to no one’s surprise, absolutely shut it down.  Her performance was everything that award show needed as a pick me up.  Lastly, the Aretha Franklin tribute was amazing.  Gladys Knight never disappoints!



Ciara, Ciara, Ciara… was there anything as spectacular as CiCi’s showing during yesterday’s festivities? “Not really” is my answer!

This is how you level up, literally. Her performance was the moment ‘Level Up’ transitioned from a viral “moment” to an overall one. The audience seemed to enjoy it as much as I did too. If there is any justice in the music world, then what the entertainer delivered on Tuesday evening should be the beginning of a thriving new chapter in her career.

Cardi B gave it her all for her performance of #1 smash ‘I Like It.’ Though initially not the most able performer, she killed it yesterday. It wasn’t perfect but she committed to the cause in earnest, and her fantastic personality was definitely able to shine through.

After finally expressing her political views a day prior, Taylor Swift took to the stage to give a rousing rendition of the conveniently titled ‘I Did Something Bad.’ Glad to see this song getting the single treatment as it is to me the best on her ‘Reputation’ LP. Also, she has improved leaps and bounds when it comes to commending the stage. Bravo, T. Swizzle!

I enjoyed Ella Mai‘s had a cute little moment with her rendition of summer bop ‘Boo’d Up’ too.

Sadly, nor Mariah Carey or Jennifer Lopez’ showings were memorable enough to match just how gorgeous they were on the red carpet.

The winners list wasn’t anything surprising, echoing a lot of what the charts have been saying for most of the year. Still congrats are in order for Camila Cabello and yet again the unstoppable Cardi B.

All in all it was a decent ceremony. Congrats to all!


Do you agree with our picks? Who was spot on? Let us know your thoughts on the latest TGJ Roundtable and your thoughts on the 2018 AMAs.

[Photo credit: Getty]

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