I remember a long long time ago when the VMAs used to be good. I'm not just saying that because I was in my teens at the time, and OMG Justin Timberlake was SOOOO dreamy! etc etc etc. They really were good. There were legitimate surprises, amazingly creative performances, and oh yeah....people actually showed up.
Remember the days of Christina Aguilera and her on stage romp with Fred Durst? When NSYNC and Michael Jackson took the stage together? When Britney showed up wearing nothing but sparkles? When the dude from Rage Against the Machine climbed up to the rafters? When the hosts were actually funny? When you wondered why the hell Missy Elliot was showing up in every performance but in the end you didn't care because she made them all awesome?
Those days are loooong gone. Last night was I believe, rock bottom.
First, lets talk about the choice in venue. I'm not sure who at MTV believed that it was a good idea to ever take those things out of NYC. You'd think they'd have learned by now that it just doesn't feel the same when they aren't there. Last night, they chose to hold the awards in a room that seemed about as big as my bedroom, and also had padded walls. I understand it was a soundstage, but really it kind of just looked like a giant cell in an asylum.
It became fairly evident early on that almost no one bothers to come to these things anymore, so holding it in a closet turned out to be an okay choice. Russell Brand? Mildly amusing. No further comment.
Since the actual awards portion of this so called awards show is clearly a joke, (I mean, way to kiss Britney's ass and throw her the pity awards MTV - seriously.) let's just move on to the performances, shall we?
It's worth noting that this is the order that the MTV site has them in, not the order they aired in...as if anyone cares.
Rihanna - Disturbia:
I actually liked this one, although I really do generally like Rihanna. She's no superstar vocalist, that's for damn sure.
Jonas Brothers - Whatever the hell that song was:
It really looked like they were sitting on the steps at Sesame Street in the very beginning. Wildly appropriate. It's a minute in, I'm bored. This would be better with Elmo. I would totally be in a band if my job could be to play the tambourine. Oh snap! The walls just opened up and now they're "rocking out" and there are screaming crying girls everywhere. OMG OMG OMG. Does that one dude really not play an instrument? What a rip off. This may possibly be the worst song I've ever heard.
Lil Wayne/Leona Lewis/etc -
I really hate Leona Lewis. Hate hate. Bleeding Love is the most annoying song on the planet, and I hate everything she has done and will ever do based on that, I'm not even going to lie, okay? We're beyond that. Pull your fucking pants up, Lil Wayne. No one wants to see that. Here's the thing, I like rap music. I like GOOD rap music. This is NOT it. There's not even anything good to look at here to redeem these five minutes of my life that I'm losing. Who is this Mad Hatter looking mfer? Man, the MTV stream quality is super crappy right now. Oh, I guess its T Pain...the talent level just keeps on plummeting during this performance. Okay screw this, I'm done.
Paramore - Misery Business
Blah blah blah, nothing is as it seems. Whoooo. Misery Business is a great song, and that little chick with the bad hair has an alright voice, although not here. I love how somehow, the person in the audience who gets the closeup never fucking knows the words to the song. It never fails. OMG MY MIND HAS BEEN BLOWN, THEY'RE NOT REALLY AT THE WHISKY?!?! Who didn't see that coming a mile away, MTV? That guy who I now know is named Josh? His guitar matches Hailey's crazy yellow pants. I got distracted by singing along, but trust me, nothing worth note happened here.
Pink - So What
I'm loving this song these days, and the video is great. This performance had a ton of ideas crammed into one. Pink smashes a mirror, Pink flies down the side of a building Mr and Mrs. Smith style, Pink throws a drill through a window and had a very real shot of almost hitting a poor extra in the head, Pink makes things explode, and now she's on a stage and boy howdy is it a good thing she remembered to put on some pasties. All I remember thinking during this performance is that this is the same lot where they shot the beginning of the RENT movie. I'm half expecting Taye Diggs and Rosario Dawson to appear on a balcony and start trading lines. Pink sings some more, and the backdrop awkwardly falls. Performance over.
T.I. - Whatever You Like
TI is super hot, but this girl he's parading around in the pink dress looks like a Bratz doll. So far this performance is well done, walking through different sets, from store to store and then a club...and then an alley...that's romantic. This song is crazy repetitive, and this girl looks like an idiot walking around LA in a "mink" coat. "Director" yells "cut" and now Live Your Life starts. I think I hate this song just based on that fucking sample. Oh good, there's Rihanna again. She's wearing a half jacket and not much else. Hopefully she didn't forget HER pasties...she keeps holding her half jacket closed, so maybe she did. She looks like some butch military sargent as she towers over little TI.
Christina Aguilera - Genie In A Bottle/Keeps Getting Better
I was really looking forward to this. I love Christina and have nothing but respect for the girl. I really do believe she's got one of the best voices of my generation. So it starts out with a montage of her evolution. New theme every album, we get it! There she is in a mask, behind a wall...lipsynching some rad new arrangement of Genie In A Bottle as she writhes around with her Brooke Hogan bangs and the cat suit she borrowed from Britney's ill fated Onyx Hotel Tour. This is very Madonna. I'm holding out faith that she's gonna actually start singing as the song switches over to a song that sounds exactly like Britney's Radar at first. The men in black come out and dance around while Christina....still lipsynchs. I love this girl and I love this song, but I feel like everyone in the world has done this exact performance before. Somewhere in the middle of this, the guys in the suits lose their shirts...I think they were supposed to look like superheros, but they really just look like they're headed to the gay club. Which would be infinitely more fun than sitting through anymore of this shit.
Kanye West - Love Lockdown
Are you there Kanye? It's me, Maggie...This thing with the drums was better in Beijing.
Oddly enough, the best performances of this whole debacle took place on the side stage, Katy Perry non withstanding. Travis Barker's remixes are good times. He managed to make Wonderwall more interesting than it is, and he and DJ AM's little VMA jam was cut off way too soon!
While I was willing to excuse them for shrugging off Lupe Fiasco and the Ting Tings to a few seconds from the side stage, its a disservice to us all to not allow us to see LL finish out Going Back To Cali. WTF, MTV! And this is supposed to be the 25th anniversary of this sorry show? That song is classic, LL is always worth looking at and I'm just disgusted! That may have redeemed this parade of suck at least mildly.
But don't worry. Britney is in the house, hair combed, dressed, and she has on shoes. MTV rewards this multiple times by throwing her every award she was nominated for. Good Lord someone at MTV feels sorry for this girl. It's not like she never had videos that were VMA worthy. Toxic? Sure. Stronger? Absolutely! Hell, I would have even thrown her a bone for Everytime before Piece of Me. But she trots up to the stage, gives the same speech 3 times and then hopefully Larry Rudolph manages to keep her under control so we don't find her wandering around a gas station at 3 am barefoot, crying, and flashing her vagina all over again.
I do wish nothing but the best for Britney. She looks healthy and happy again, and hopefully everything falls in to place for her and she gets herself back on track. That said....she still doesn't deserve a VMA this year, even if they don't really mean anything.
Edited to add:
I just realized that I forgot to mention the Kid Rock performance. That just shows you how memorable I found that one. Ahahha.
The point is this: the state of music is dire and different, and it's no longer the era of chart dominating pop stars and rappers with unlimited budgets - that much is true. However, I also am firmly aware that MTV is capable of pulling out a witty/interesting/entertaining show. Throw artists from different ends of the spectrum onstage together like you used too, have a respected comedian make the truly controversial jokes (not mocking the poor Jonas Brothers for their virginity), fuck, get Missy Elliot in her blow up trash bag outfit and get her ass back on that stage if that's what you have to do!
You're better than this, and I believe in you. Better luck next year MTV.