VMA Awards 2012: Handicapping the Video of the Year Nominees


  • M.I.A., not caring who wins.

The 2012 VMA nominees are out, and while there are certainly plenty of big names and obvious choices, there are a few surprises buried in there. Frank Ocean gets a nod, as do A$AP Rocky, Jack White and Regina Spektor. But those are curiosities -- Rihanna, Drake, Katy Perry et. al. get the lion's share of the list.

The grand prize nominees are Katy Perry, Gotye, Rihanna, Drake (featuring Rihanna) and M.I.A. Notice anything about that list? IT CONTAINS ONLY ONE AMERICAN! We can't even win at pop music anymore. And on Olympics week, no less. Whoever's on the nominating committee should be ashamed. But there's no going back now, so we might as well bet on the field we've got.

Katy Perry, "Wide Awake" YouTube Views: 41,209,629 Odds: 5 to 1 Sort of a tossed-off leftover, but Katy Perry is too big to fail. Except at the box office.

Gotye, "Somebody That I Used To Know" YouTube Views: 291,261,391 Odds: 10 to 1 How weird is it to be Goyte right now? What is it like playing to thousands of people but 85% of them are disappointed by all but one of your songs? Incidentally, he doesn't have nearly as commanding a lead in the view count as I expected. Seriously? Nearly two hundred million for...

Rihanna, "We Found Love" YouTube Views: 192,848,653 Odds: 7 to 1 Rihanna looks a lot like this year's headline. She's nominated in five categories and her celebrity will probably never be greater than it has been this year.

Drake feat. Rihanna, "Take Care" YouTube Views: 31,035,302 Odds: 20 to 1 Eh, we've all moved on to Frank Ocean. Thanks for paving the way, though, Drake!

M.I.A., "Bad Girls" YouTube Views: 23,408,532 Odds: 100 to 1 Never going to happen, but you have to love the fact that it's on this list at all. Important side note: It's time to re-evaluate Maya. That racket makes a lot more sense today.

The complete list of nominees is on the next page. Did you know there's a Best Video With a Message category?

Follow RFT Music on Twitter and Facebook. Video of the Year Katy Perry, "Wide Awake" Gotye, "Somebody That I Used To Know" Rihanna, "We Found Love" Drake feat. Rihanna, "Take Care" M.I.A., "Bad Girls"

Best New Artist Fun. feat. Janelle Monae, "We Are Young" Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe" Frank Ocean, "Swim Good" One Direction, "What Makes You Beautiful" The Wanted, "Glad You Came"

Best Hip-Hop Video Childish Gambino, "Heartbeat" Drake feat. Lil Wayne, "HYFR" Kanye West feat. Pusha T, Big Sean & 2 Chainz, "Mercy" Watch the Throne, "Paris" Nicki Minaj feat. 2 Chainz, "Beez in the Trap"

Best Male Video Justin Bieber, "Boyfriend" Frank Ocean, "Swim Good" Drake feat. Rihanna, "Take Care" Chris Brown, "Turn Up the Music" Usher, "Climax"

Best Female Video Rihanna, "We Found Love" Katy Perry, "Part of Me" Beyoncé, "Love on Top" Nicki Minaj, "Starships" Selena Gomez & The Scene, "Love You Like a Love Song"

Best Pop Video One Direction, "What Makes You Beautiful" Fun. feat. Janelle Monae, "We Are Young" Rihanna, "We Found Love" Justin Bieber, "Boyfriend" Maroon 5 feat. Wiz Khalifa, "Payphone"

Best Rock Video Coldplay, "Paradise" The Black Keys, "Lonely Boy" Linkin Park, "BURN IT DOWN" Jack White, "Sixteen Saltines" Imagine Dragons, "It's Time"

Best Electronic Dance Music Video Duck Sauce, "Big Bad Wolf" Calvin Harris, "Feel So Close" Skrillex, "First of the Year (Equinox)" Martin Solveig, "The Night Out" Avicii, "Le7els"

Best Video With a Message Demi Lovato, "Skyscraper" Rise Against, "Ballad of Hollis Brown" Kelly Clarkson, "Dark Side" Gym Class Heroes, "The Fighter" K'Naan feat. Nelly Furtado, "Is Anybody Out There?" Lil Wayne, "How to Love"

Best Art Direction Katy Perry, "Wide Awake" Drake feat. Rihanna, "Take Care" Lana Del Rey, "Born to Die" Regina Spektor, "All the Rowboats" Of Monsters & Men, "Little Talks"

Best Choreography Chris Brown, "Turn Up the Music" Rihanna, "Where Have You Been" Beyoncé, "Countdown" Avicii, "Le7els" Jennifer Lopez f/Pitbull, "Dance Again"

Best Cinematography M.I.A., "Bad Girls" Adele, "Someone Like You" Drake feat. Rihanna, "Take Care" Coldplay feat. Rihanna, "Princess of China" Lana Del Rey, "Born to Die"

Best Direction M.I.A., "Bad Girls" Duck Sauce, "Big Bad Wolf" Coldplay feat. Rihanna, "Princess of China" Frank Ocean, "Swim Good" Jay-Z and Kanye West, "Otis"

Best Editing Beyoncé, "Countdown" A$AP Rocky, "Goldie" Gotye, "Somebody That I Used to Know" Watch the Throne, "Paris" Kanye West feat. Pusha T, Big Sean and 2 Chainz, "Mercy"

Best Visual Effects Katy Perry, "Wide Awake" Rihanna, "Where Have You Been" David Guetta feat. Nicki Minaj, "Turn Me On" Linkin Park, "BURN IT DOWN"

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