As bad as the Video Music Awards can be, the 2011 ceremony was actually pretty watchable. There were only a few moments that made me want to turn off the TV and go to bed (such as Kanye West again putting his foot in his mouth by supporting someone who thinks he immediately deserves forgiveness for assaulting a woman to the point of knocking her unconscious and fleeing the scene and MTV inviting that horrible person to perform live) and the product placement was clear and inoffensive. I’ll take a million screencaps that say something to the effect of “You can download Adele’s new single at Rhapsody” or whoever the sponsor was over really poorly scripted banter any day.
Here are the highlights of the ceremony. Please note they include references to events that weren’t even mentioned on the broadcast. These are the awards that don’t get airtime because the fans don’t vote for them. Shame. They’re normally less offensive and confusing than the big winners.
Adele has Best Made Video of the Year, Still Loses Video of the Year
According to MTVs professional panel of judges, Adele’s music video “Rolling in the Deep” had the Best Direction, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing. This would make it a shoe-in for Video of the Year, right? Wrong. Because the fans voted for that award, the video that most critics and bloggers (and apparently MTV professional voters) predicted would sweep the night didn’t win anything during the live broadcast. Adele lost Video of the Year to Katy Perry and both lost Female Video to Lady Gaga (not nominated for Video of the Year). She also lost Pop Video to Britney Spears, who had to win as she was receiving the Video Vanguard (lifetime achievement) Award.
Beyonce Still Rules the Dance World
Beyonce’s post-apocalyptic musical nightmare “Run the World (Girls)” won one of my favorite categories, Best Choreography. I will admit that the video is well-choreographed. However, I would have picked LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” as the winner. The entire video is choreographed within an inch of its life. Lady Gaga’s “Judas” had more varied choreography than Beyonce’s standard style, going beyond even Lady Gaga’s quirky busted doll poses to something more artistic.
But that is nowhere near as good as this.
Kreayshawn Made a Fan Out of Me
During my Best New Artist prediction post, I said that the problem I had with her nominated song was the beat, not her rap. I stand by that. By I think I like her now. First, she showed up wearing a sequined Mickey Mouse dress. Second, she had a great natural ease about her when working the red carpet. Third, she did a cute and funny sketch as part of the Best New Artist voting bumps where she out-Dougied the band that taught you how to Dougie. Fourth, is that a Goofy tattoo on her right arm? She seems like she’s having the time of her life and I can respect that. Hopefully she gets in with the right producer to guide her to more listenable backing tracks than in “Gucci Gucci.”
ZOMG It’s a Kitteh! And a Puppy!
In a sweet little trio of videos, MTV used cats and dogs to reenact memorable VMA moments from the past ten years. The videos themselves? Total disasters. These animals were not having it. The videos are frantically edited as if someone’s career depended on a usable 40-60 second clip of animals reenacting the Video Music Awards. At least the puppies could do basic commands.
Nicki Minaj is Best Hip-Hop
Looks like I’m not the only one liking Nicki a whole lot right now. To be fair, Nicki’s the only nominee in the category who had a good video. I don’t care if that was intentional to guarantee a win. It means we got to get a nice look at that bizarre costume she wore on the red carpet. I can’t wait until The Fug Girls have at that one.
Best Live Performance, Featured Performance: Lady Gaga “You and I”
This wasn’t even a competition. Adele gave a great vocal but had no stageshow for the VMAs. Beyonce had spectacle and a bad song. Bruno Mars decided that HE was the one who had to pay tribute to Amy Winehouse. Britney Spears has lost her live luster and Lil’ Wayne went way too low-key and sang live.
If anyone had any doubt that Lady Gaga was from Jersey, the first four minutes of her live performance at the VMAs should confirm it. She enters the stage, dressed as her alter ego Joe Calderone, ranting about how Lady Gaga is a fake woman obsessed with the spotlight. She then sits down at a piano to sing the first verse and chorus of “You and I” (You spelled with an umlaut now for some reason). This is the Lady Gaga I love to point out to people. If you think she’s all smoke and mirrors, how does she sit in front of an acoustic piano with a microphone and sound that good? The ability to then hop up and do intricate choreography without missing a note doesn’t hurt, either.
Best Live Performance, Barely Featured: Jessie J
Who knew the girl behind that awful “Price Tag” song could actually sing? Jessie J was put in charge of the live band that plays during the commercial breaks at the Video Music Awards and she absolutely killed it with her foot in a cast. She out-sang most of the other live performers. I think she needs a producer that understands that you don’t downplay a great voice for trendy beats. I’ve never wanted MTV to stream live content before on any of their programs. This is the only exception. You can’t tell me the shut the cameras off during commercial breaks while Jessie J performed.
Best New Artist: Tyler, the Creator’s “Yonkers”
I got that one completely wrong. I assumed that the fans hadn’t seen Tyler, the Creator’s video on MTV regularly, either.
Best Video: Katy Perry’s “Firework”
If I had written a post about Video of the Year, I would have picked Katy Perry’s “Firework” as my personal favorite and outlined a way she could win. Does it matter? She did. Rightly so. It’s a great video. The message is strong and the shots are clear.
What are your thoughts? Who was robbed? Who made a fool of themselves? What was the best moment of the night? Sound off below.