As I couldn’t watch any more Cowboys/Redskins and with next to nothing on the DVR, I turned to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards for my Sunday night entertainment.
As a 32-year-old, I’m not who MTV goes for anymore and I don’t watch anything on the network anymore, not even Jersey Shore. So without any build-up or pretense, here’s my running blog on the proceedings and my attempt to understand just what’s happening in today’s pop music scene.
Be warned. Crotchety early 30s ramblings ahead…
9 PM: We start out with Eminem performing. Is he still relevant in today’s music scene? I guess so? I am still amazed by MTV’s expansive set designs for these shows. Seriously, how many millions do they spend on this shit?
9:03 PM: Is that Rihanna in the white dress with combat-style boots? I can’t be the only one to wonder if she’s alright, can I? Ah yes…I’ve heard this song before, so it is Rihanna. I will learn later this is a surprise of some sorts.
Apparently, it’s unrealistic to think a pop singer would appear at the VMAs. Also, let’s look at the concept of the Video Music Awards. Are videos even pertinent on TV anymore or is this just online that it’s important? These are things I must understand as I’m under the assumption MTV doesn’t play videos.
9:05 PM: Chelsea Handler is the host? She hosts a late night show on E and I’m stunned she’s at the MTV hosting level.She does a backstage skit with lots of black guys (and Lindsay Lohan) smacking her butt. We then cut to the stage and “Bad Romance’ by Lady Gaga comes on. The crowd pops like she’s coming out, except it’s Handler. Gaga is later shown in the crowd with another ridiculous outfit, one of many we’ll see on the night.
During the opening monologue, Handler is actually pretty funny, jumping between a lot of racial and adult jokes. I wonder if the crowd is even trying to get this, but to those that can appreciate the absurdity of today’s music scene, this is good shit.
9:15 PM: The Best Female video is first and Lady Gaga wins for “Bad Romance”. She’s wearing a giant dress with a peacock-style headdress and is crying as she thanks everyone. I feel like that song came out 8 years ago, probably because I’ve heard it played in some fashion approximately 1 billion times.
9:25 PM: The Jackass guys are back…again? A clip is shown of Bam Margera getting hit with a giant hand full of flour. Their 3rd movie is going to be the latest to cash in on the 3D craze. They are introducing Best Rock Video, but these contenstants don’t feel like rock at all.
30 Seconds To Mars wins for “Kings and Queens”. Jared Leto and group accepts, but Leto has somehow transformed into David Bowie.
9:30 PM: Justin Bieber pulls up in a red convertible and plays to an outdoor crowd of screaming young girls who are entirely too into this kid. He lip syncs and dances with a nearly entirely African American backing band and dancers. Apparently that gives him a lot of street cred.
Oh and he can play the drums as well.
9:40 PM: Usher is introduced by the bizarre Kei$sha and the guy that does Tipsy (I think). Usher then partially lip-syncs through a performance that involves scaffolding, an elaborate laser show, an awesome lighted floor and quite a bit of dancing. Honestly, I think if someone can dance, record companies will find someone to provide the vocals Milli Vanilli style and make a star.
That being said, this was pretty awesome. They win.
9:45 PM: Katy Perry and Nikki Menage (some lady with a giant booty) come out to introduce Best Male Video. No surprise that most of this is hip-hop. Eminem wins, but couldn’t hang around for an hour to accept as he’s on a flight back to NY. Some guy in a mouse head completely encased in video is playing DJ into breaks. Should I know who this is? I feel so out of touch.
9:50 PM: Funny backstage skits with Handler hosting a Best New Artist brunch are pretty good. I also just found out that the correct spelling is Nicki Minaj. How could I not know that?
9:53 PM: Florence And The Machine perform live in their VMA debut. I’ve heard of them (her?) in passing. She puts on an earthy presentation with plenty of dancers and such. She has a good voice, but there’s nothing here that would make me believe she has staying power. As we got to break, an unnamed man comes out and starts rapping a song for a minute that I’ve heard before. I later learn this via Google that this is Travie McCoy.
We then transition to NERD playing outside and a woman doing something similar to a limbo. That only lasts a few minutes, cementing my theory that our younger society is going to have an attention span almost impossible to compare anything to. We’re actually already there, but shows like this prove it.
Perhaps the best moment of the nite is Taco Bell’s new commercial that is an homage to the old Super Friends series. They are called the Super Delicious Ingredient Force and you can see them here. We’re about halfway through the show and so far, it’s been ok but nothing pushing me toward listening to more pop music.
10:00 PM: Maybe I don’t know Handler’s (seen right) material, but apparently she is really into black guys? More jokes ensue to lead me to that conclusion.
10:05 PM: Some of the Glee peeps come out to introduce Best Pop video. Lady Gaga wins again and is on her 2nd costume change. This ie equally as giant and ridiculous with two people needing to help her get out of her chair. She acknowledges how clunky things are. (Also, isn’t all this music pop?)
10:07 PM: Taylor Swift performs and to open, she plays the video of Kanye West interuppting her is played. Aren’t we over that yet? She performs “You’re Still An Innocent” – a somewhat slower song and a stark difference than everything we’ve heard tonight. I know she’s young, but she just doesn’t seem to fit amongst all this.
10:15 PM: We get a hype video for the Video Of The Year. While there are some new faces (B.O.B., Florence And The Machine), you have to figure a big timer like Eminem or Gaga will take this home. (Am I really evaluating this?) I should mention MTV is pushing its trending on Twitter pretty hard.
Just my opinion, but I think as a communication channel, it’s eventually going to take over Facebook. It’s perfect for this generation.
10:22 PM: Drake w/Mary J. Blige and Swizz Beatz are up to perform. It certainly hasn’t taken long for Drake to become a name in the pop music biz.
10:28 PM: Hey, the VMAs have their own ‘Previously Handed Out Awards You’d Be Bored With” segment as well. I think some people from Tru Blood handed them out, but they didn’t announce who they were. I also am disappointed that I didn’t record this show in HD.
10:31 PM: An unidentified man who I believe is Chris Brown performs as they come back from break. Interesting. In any case, the Jersey Shore kids are introduced on a hot tub on stage as Handler subtly insults them. She then gets into the hot tub with them, which makes you realize how hard the fall from celebrity grace it’s going to be for this gang.
The hot Colombian from Modern Family introduces Best Hip Hop Video. I’m immediately surprised as Jay-Z is up for an award, but has no presence at the show. Eminem wins and she accepts for him. Handler jumps out of the tub and “The Situation” again tries to get his catchphrase over. It doesn’t work…again.
10:42 PM: Another performance as the talented B.O.B. and Paramore’s Hayley Williams perform “Airplanes” which was a pretty big hit this summer. The two get through a few minutes before Williams walks to the back of the stage and performs a slow song with her band. She has a fantastic voice, but this is a weird segway unless it goes back to the original song.
It doesn’t. Meh.
A white girl with bleached blond hair and lots of ear piercings takes us into break. It could be pop princess Robyn, but that’ s probably not accurate at all.
10:54 PM: Bieber wins Best New Artist and apparently can’t figure out how to get up on stage. How cute.
10:55 PM: Linkin Park is at the Griffin Observatory in L.A. performing “The Catalyst.” My DVR shows four minutes left and they haven’t announced the Video of the Year, so I’m guessing that we’re running long.
11 PM: LP wraps at 11 pm and we are promised Video Of The Year and Kanye West’s new song in 10 minutes. My DVR cuts off, so we’re done here. Lady Gaga (seen here) won the Video Of The Year for Bad Romance, by the way.
In conclusion, this was a visually spectacular show but unfortunately those would truly appreciate it aren’t in MTV’s demographic. The 12-24 demographic that the network craves comes to expect the pomp and circumstance, unappreciative of just what they’re witnessing.
At least we still have videos.
Josh Nason is a freelance journalist who has penned pieces for FIGHT! Magazine, Apollo (Australia) Magazine, Manchester Magazine and more. While he loves to write about mixed martial arts and email marketing, blogging about music and observations on life are passions as well. Follow him at Twitter.