I could do a blogpost about how watching the VMAs made me feel very, very old. (Kids, back in my day one could see Neil Young and Pearl Jam dueting on “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World”! Fourteen years ago! Where’s my cane?) But here are some snarky observations instead.
Why does that MTV VJ have the fakest British accent ever? It’s totally Robin Leach in Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
Paris Hilton is doing philanthrophy? Um. Sway had the line of the pre-show: “Enjoy your freedom!”
Okay, the show started. And Britney Spears just defined “going through the motions.” Seriously. Her “sexy” gyrations resembled someone who looked like she had a headache and just wanted her man to get off and go to sleep.
Camera pans after the performance to Kid Rock, who’s totally thinking to himself, “I’ve seen better strippers in Detroit.”
Sarah Silverman is not funny.
On Britney: “She’s 25 years old and she’s already accomplished everything she’s going to do in her life.” On Britney’s kids: “They are the most adorable mistakes you’ll ever see. They’re as cute as the hairless vagina they came out of.” Cue Silverman turning her face to the side and mimicking, um, a vagina. Yikes.
On 50 Cent: “I think it’s so cute that he’s still alive.”
I think it would be cute if she left the stage.
Pan to the parties in the Palms Resort suites. Kanye West has the “Good Life” party. Justin Timberlake and Timbaland are hosting the “Southern Hospitality” party. Pete Wentz and Fall Out Boy are hosting “Friends or Enemies” party – which apparently means inviting a giant stuffed rabbit and models. Foo Fighters have what I’m calling the “bitching rock party,” as friends from Queens of the Stone Age, Mastodon, as well as Serj Tankian and Cee-Lo Green, are guests.
“Monster Single of the Year” is the category up first. No mention of video, keep in mind. Also, rather craptastic choices: Mims' “This Is Why I’m Hot,” Shop Boyz “Party Like a Rockstar,” Daughtry, “Home.” Slightly better: Rihanna feat/Jay-Z, “Umbrella,” Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend,” Plain White T’s, “Hey There Delilah.” Excellent: Timbaland “The Way I Are,” T-Pain, “Buy You A Drank.”
Winner: “Umbrella”…ella…ella. Rihanna’s dress is super cute. Hot pink, strapless, not Barbie-esque. Also, she has cute hair, love the mini blonde streaks. Go on, girlfriend.
Cue Kanye West doing “Stronger,” with added horns. Where are they coming from? We’re not sure. Love the white microphone and uber-‘80s white-rimmed sunglasses.
Akon’s performing “Smack That,” with Mark Ronson as his backing band. Pretty hot. But why only show about a minute of the song? This is a disconcerting trend.
“Quadruple Threat of the Year.” What? Since when is having a fashion line make you a threat? Argh. Bono, Beyonce, Jay-Z, J-Timberlake, Kanye. Yeah, Timberlake wins! In his party suite, he looks utterly stoked, jumping up and down like a four-year-old eating birthday cake.
His acceptance speech: “I wanna thank everybody at home for watching MTV. I want to challenge MTV right now to play more videos. Are we having a party?” Oh, JT. I heart you.
Why there is a daytrader watching Fall Out Boy’s gig? Also, it’s a mystery how the band has been together for years and hasn’t improved live. “Thanks Fr Th Mmrs,” love the song. But argh. Also, they just destroyed their gear. How punk-rock.
Foo Fighters, killing everyone, playing “Never Surrender,” with a cellist. Is that Petra Haden? I can’t tell.
Kanye and 50 Cent are together announcing “Most Earth-Shattering Collaboration.” GRAMMAR POLICE! ARGH! Also, you can cut the tension between them with a knife. Awk. Ward. Like two people who used to date, it ended badly, and they run into each other in the grocery store and have nothing to say.
Beyonce wins for her duet with Shakira. B’s bizarrely looking non-classy, wearing an olive Greek-like thing that’s unflattering. Disappointing, even though her hair looks great.
A mercifully brief snippet of Maroon 5 “singing” with Mark Ronson. What is up with the man-vests this year? Dear lord. Adam Levine, dumb shoulder tattoos. And where’s the hot first few singles from your record? Why are you singing this random song? Ugh. Painful.
Chris Brown rules all. He’s 17. Pretends he’s a marionette to open his performance, and proceeds to dance like one – his joints and moves defy gravity. He also leaps across tables. Mimics Michael Jackson – and it doesn’t look cheesy. Makes Usher look passe. He even conjure Rihanna, who steps out of what looks like an MC Escher painting, dressed like an extra from Chicago.
Even J-Timberlake comments after he wins Male Artist of the Year: “I just want to say nobody likes to be reminded that they’re getting older. And whatever Chris Brown just did reminded me of how I’m getting older. Damn. And you know, it’s just exciting to see a new generation of artists doing it, and doing it well.
“I think music is in a great place right now. Thank you for this award, MTV. Play some more damn videos. We don’t want to see the Simpsons on reality television.” JT, I HEART YOU AGAIN.
Cue Cee-Lo with Foo Fighers doing Prince’s “Darlin’ Nikki.” Why won’t MTV show the entire damn song? Can we not handle more than snippets of songs, are our attention spans that bad? This is really annoying, and not making me feel engaged at all in the telecast.
Cue 50 Cent with Justin Timberlake, who just ran back to his party to sing “AYO Technology,” which makes no bones about its intentions: “I'm tired of using technology, why don't you sit down on top of me?"
Fergie wins “Female Artist of the Year” Moonman. She’s not even there. Even Luda doesn’t want to accept on her behalf. Ha ha. Classic.
Kanye’s running around his palatial suite singing “Touch the Sky.” Nice shots from the helicopter, very P. Diddy. He’s still running. Go Kanye, go Kanye!
Pan to the club Rain, where Linkin Park is performing. Why does that dude sound like a Muppet with a nicotine problem? Very ‘90s. Energetic.
Best Group winner is…Fall Out Boy. Pete Wentz just holds up a sign that says “3-Peat.” He says, “We want to thank all the fans who are real fans of music.”
Cue to Foo Fighters with Serj Tankian covering Dead Kennedys’ “Holiday in Cambodia.” OH HELL YES. OH HELL NO – why did MTV just cut off the chorus? Are you kidding me? I suspect that this show is seriously just a big two-hour commercial for their Web site, as apparently all of these performances are available online. I call bullshit.
More bullshit: Rihanna’s in Fall Out Boy’s suite, doing “Shut Up and Drive.” Her backing tracks are rather, um, loudly covering up her voice. Also, she’s wearing a different dress and hey, wait a second, didn’t Fall Out Boy destroy their gear some time back? WAIT A SECOND!
Best commercial contrast: One advocating no sex before marriage, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A few breaks later: One advocating using condoms when are you having sex, starring a young-looking emo-ish couple. Mixed messages much, MTV?
Kid Rock is being interviewed about losing Best New Artist back in the day. He says something incoherent about breakfast, something is bleeped out. Perhaps he is drunk. Perhaps he has just decked Tommy Lee. We aren’t quite sure. (Oh, wait. Oops.)
Alicia Keys, as I noted below, not doing so hot. Covering George Michael’s “Freedom” with a big ol’ choir and orchestra and such. A bit better.
Miss South Carolina is here? She says she’s “from the Internet.” Please shoot me now. Now she’s doing her ditzy act. My inner feminist is about ready to shoot the TV. Why must dumbness be encouraged?
Mary J. Blige – looking classy as ever – is here to introduce…Dr. Dre. Who himself is introducing “Best Video of the Year.” Wait, we’re talking about videos? I’m so confused. Either way, Rihanna’s “Umbrella” wins. Hova isn’t here. But Rihanna accepts, again.
Final performance: Okay, finally something good. Nelly Furtado, sporting her best Madonna ca. “Open Your Heart” beret, black shirt and dance pants. Sounds good. Cut to Timbaland and Keri Hilson, “The Way I Are.” HELL YES. Jam of the summer for me. And then, oh yes – JT comes out wearing a light-gray suit and does his new electro-funk jam “Lovestoned.” And slides and dances – not quite as smoothly as Chris Brown, but he’s actually of legal age, so it’s okay to swoon and think dirty thoughts. Damn.
It’s over? Already? Really? Wow. That was fast. And inconsequential.