VMA 2013 recap
If the MTV Music Video Awards are about the scandals, interruptions, awkward and spontaneous, last night’s show put it back in the game.
The VMAs, perhaps the biggest award show not actually about the awards, is the one “ceremony” where celebrities entertain by being completely outrageous and off-the-wall without having to apologize for it.
The show started off with a bang, instantly excelling it beyond previous years but still tame in comparison to some of the most memorable moments in VMA history (which is a rather common blog topic so we know it’s a thing).
Remember when Michael Jackson kissed Lisa Marie Presley at the 1994 VMAs? Or when Madonna kissed Britney and Christina at the 2003 VMAs? Or when Kanye West
kissed interrupted Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs? Moments like those are why people tune in.
There’s a reason why MTV picked Lady Gaga to open the show with her new single Applause. Because people expect her to be a hot mess. Only she wasn’t, and I think that’s why people were disappointed with her performance because it was only “a little bit weird” but genuinely pretty decent. Tame by Gaga standards and not her best but still decent.
No. The performance that got people talking was Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke‘s show off of Blurred Lines. And no lines were blurred last night as Miley crossed every single one of them, with tongue hanging out every second she wasn’t singing off key.
Yet, despite Miley’s actions and poor performing skills, she provided classic VMA material. The big question for the next day now that criticisms are pouring in faster than Miley can twerk it is: why isn’t Robin Thicke getting any flack for the performance? Mr. Thicke, who brought his wife to the show, was on the receiving end of Miley’s bottom and, if rehearsals are any indication, welcomed it with open… I won’t go there.
It takes two to tango.
From this moment onward, the show maintained a certain level of entertainment but never really spiked again. Kanye West came to perform Blood On The Leaves from Yeezus before seemingly disappearing quietly. Drake started his bit off with new single Hold On, We’re Going Home before rehashing his hit from earlier this year Started From The Bottom.
Meanwhile, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis with Mary Lambert performed Same Love after they accepted what I seemed like the night’s only award for Best Video with a Message. The performance, the best of the night, also had the only real unexpected surprise when Jennifer Hudson showed up for the final chorus. It would have been more of a surprise if it were someone like Beyoncé, Cher, RuPaul or Eminem (who had ads announcing the release of his new album: out November 5!!) but nonetheless, in a time when everything is revealed days before, I’ll take it.
‘N Sync‘s reunion was revealed about a week ago. Even though Lance Bass denied the rumours on Twitter, the excitement overpowered that because, if we learned anything from Destiny’s Child, don’t believe denials of a reunion.
Yet, what we didn’t learn from Destiny’s Child is that all the reunion talk in the world isn’t going to make it last longer than a minute and a half. With Justin Timberlake as the Vanguard Award recipient, MTV made him work for it by performing an almost 15 minute medley of most of his hits, with merely seconds for ‘N Sync to do a bit of their forgotten hit Girlfriend and even less for their signature number Bye Bye Bye. JT took a page out of the book of Queen Bey.
But maybe the short time allocated to ‘N Sync was due to their apparent lack of preparation to do such a performance. They aren’t exactly regular performers anymore and this reunion was likely only planned weeks ago. Needless to say, this brief performance may dispel any desire from nostalgic fans for a new album from the quintet in the new future.
Later in the evening, Bruno Mars outshined Justin with yet another epic performance of yet another song that isn’t exactly memorable but still shows that he’s the top male vocalist in pop music today. I never really remember what Bruno sings at the different award shows but I always remember him killing it. Every. Single. Time.
Finally, the show closed with Katy Perry performing, for the first time, “the biggest hit of her career” (that came out two weeks ago) Roar.
I understand why Katy was put last. She is on a career high right now and is enough of a draw to keep people tuned in – until she performs and we remember that she’s not the most charismatic performer. I think the performance was fun but I wasn’t blown away by her roar. And maybe it was just me but she seemed a little bored. Maybe she’s already getting burnt out on the song?
Even more fun and noteworthy besides the performers is when the camera pans over the audience. The Family Smith reaction to Miley (featuring Will, Jadan and Willow). Taylor Swift‘s apparent reaction to One Direction (Harry Styles), Rihanna. All perfectly gif-worthy – and they are, if you’re seen Facebook or BuzzFeed at all today.
Daft Punk quietly took the stage to hand out an award – and not perform as we were promised last month when they pulled out of an appearance on Stephen Colbert.
A$AP Rocky was @wkw@rd talking about acceptance for homosexuality while introducing Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – while recently-out NBA player Jason Collins towered next to him.
Ultimately, I think MTV showed real signs of just how out of touch they have gotten with music. The sound quality was terrible for most of the show, they kept referring to Roar as Katy Perry’s biggest hit and they allowed a song released just weeks ago to be permitted for the fan-voted Song Of The Summer, beating out actual summer-long hits like Blurred Lines and Get Lucky.
Obviously it was a cheap attempt to have One Direction, who won the award for Best Song Ever, attend and draw their audience. But what good did it do? They got booed. And Lady Gaga was upset. She found the group afterward, gave her support, and left after saying “I don’t want to stay anymore because I don’t want to be in a room where people would be like that.”
This following a video Gaga released earlier this month acknowledging the comments that plague any blog post or news article about her, which was alluded to at the beginning of her own performance where she was electronically “booed”.
Did the VMAs deliver? The amount of discussion on social media seems to think so. It wasn’t as exciting as I expected based on the list of performers but it wasn’t a snooze either.
Until next year…