By Natalya Jones
By County Grind
By Liz Tracy
By Chris Joseph
By Liz Tracy
By Matt Preira
By Jesse Scheckner
By Michael E. Miller
"Some of the musicians coming tonight are bigger and better than Britney Spears," Koss nervously stammered during the awards presentation. "Make sure when you clap that it's with authority, because these people deserve these awards!"
I guess after years of feeling underappreciated, Koss's strange display of affection was better than nothing for the participants. "It's so nice to see we're finally officiated by somebody," beamed singer Juanita Dixon, accepting her award for best female vocalist. Derek Cintron blew a kiss to his mom as he and his bandmates grabbed their trophy for best hard-rock artist, but problems with the sound equipment, he told Bandwidth, kept them from performing. Not sure what to expect, the smiling, shell-shocked Psycho Daisies -- winners of the pop/rock award -- emerged from retirement for a collective back-patting.
In short, it felt like the musical contributions made here were finally legitimized, even under circumstances as sketchy as these. And that felt good -- something everyone wants to see continue. "I was so excited, because it sounded like a really good idea," remembers Ruth Wharton. Actually, it's a great idea, and it's hard to imagine that Koss could have emerged from this year's experience without collecting a whole sack of suggestions on what not to do for next year. But he should take credit for making that night happen at all, especially when nearly every observer was waiting for the worst.
"I wouldn't recommend anybody doing an awards show," winces Jim Hayward, who ran the region's hard-rock-oriented Slammie Awards from 1992 until 1999. "You really have to know what you're doing."
Koss, who clearly didn't know what he was doing, says he's had experience with a small East Coast music award showcase a few years back. Maybe his previous attempts fared better than his Florida Music Awards, but at least he has a whole year in which to make improvements. In retrospect, the last-minute cancellation of the so-called big names just served to better illuminate hard-working talents close to home, even if some of them included teen-pop heroine TMarie and cruise-ship jazzsters Davis and Dow. Koss can make his ballots conspicuously public next time, focus strictly on our portion of the state, and look into the definitions of the terms catering, back line, monitors, and such in an effort to make next year's Florida Music Awards less likely to lack legitimacy.