Sunday night, the 9th of September, was to be a night of change for MTV. Formatting adjustments to the VMAs were designed to target the internet/texting/itunes generations of 13-34 year olds, MTVs typical market. The music, which was supposed to be the focus of the show, seemed like merely an afterthought, save for a few stellar performances. The Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas held up the reputation of “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Plenty was happening in Vegas on Sunday, but the aftermath was spread all over the world.
For this year’s show, no host was in charge to guide and direct the viewers attention. Multiple celebrities such as Sarah Silverman, Alicia Keys, Pamela Anderson, Diddy and others, announced presenters and performers. Instead of a 3 hour show, as in the past, MTV cut this year’s down to 2. The titles of the awards were updated, such as the “Quadrupal Threat” and “Monster Singe” awards. A large focus of the show was the concept of showing the viewers how to “Party Like a Rockstar”, a huge single this summer by Shop Boyz. Four suites in the Palms were locations for celebrity parties, each aptly titled for what the atmosphere in the room was to be. Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, Fall Out Boy, Kanye West, and Foo Fighters hosted the Fantasy Suites and many celebrity guests joined the party for spontaneous performances.
The biggest focus of the night were the performances. Outstanding, underwhelming, and unexpected, all describe the “performances” that were given throughout the night. Britney Spears was to give her much anticipated comeback presentation. Speculation has been spreading all week that MTV knew that Britney would fail, yet continued on for ratings sake. Anyone who tuned into the show did not need to be alerted that the performance was one of the worst from any award show in any year. Spears appeared self-conscious, nervous and unprepared. It’s sad to see someone give up in the middle, and not even bother to lip-sync the words to the song. Criticism has been flying around the internet about how awful Spears looked, that she was fat, and a bad dancer. The woman has had 2 children in the last 2 years and has been through some major personal problems, most of which were self inflicted. She deserves the credit for trying, but criticism, at least constructive criticism, should be expected. Britney chose to wear the revealing outfit, and she chose to perform a lackluster performance. The other criticisms are really just uncalled for, even for someone in the public eye. To take it a step further, the Chris Crocker spectacle on YouTube has sent the media buzzing. The dramatic outcry to leave Spears be or deal with Chris has received both attention and comedic imitation.
As if the tragic Britney Spears fiasco wasn’t enough for negative publicity for MTV, Kid Rock and Tommy Lee, both ex-husbands of Pamela Anderson, shared insults and injuries in the middle of the main showroom. Accusations of who gave the first dirty look or verbal attack are leaning towards Lee, but Rock through the first punch and will be landing in a Vegas courtroom later this year.
In the aftermath of the award show, Kanye West has publicly announced his boycott of MTV. Another year has passed with West nominated for 5 awards and walking away with nothing, and he is not happy about it. Kanye West has since the start of his mainstream career portrayed himself as a confident, if not overconfident musician. This boycott is not out of the ordinary for West, and most likely will not be the last.
On a positive note, Chris Brown delivered a smashing display of song and dance with the performance of his hit song, “Wall to Wall.” Other performers included: Akon, Fall Out Boy, 50 Cent, Foo Fighters, Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Rihanna, Gym Class Heroes and Alicia Keys. With presenters including: Eve, Jennifer Garner, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, Robin Thicke, and Shia LaBeouf, the VMAs were in no way shy of major celebrity guests.
And The Winner Is…
Monster Single of the Year: Rihanna featuring Jay-Z with “Umbrella”
Quadrupal Threat of the Year: Justin Timberlake
Best Collaboration: Beyonce featuring Shakira with “Beautiful Liar”
Male Artist of the Year: Justin Timberlake
Female Artist of the Year: Fergie
Best Group: Fall Out Boy
Best New Artist: Gym Class Heroes
Video of the Year: Rihanna featuring Jay-Z with “Umbrella”
FutureSex / LoveSounds
Good Girl Gone Bad