Tuesday, 27 August 2013

VMAs: The Good, The Bad and The Downright Disgusting

On Sunday night, I said to a good friend, "I haven't said this in 10 years, but I am really excited for the VMAs tonight". That's no exaggeration, as I feel like the MTV Video Music Awards haven't been good since about 2003 or '04. What once seemed to be an alternative awards ceremony celebrating the best in the business and those who couldn't get close to a Grammy later turned into a seemingly overreaching spectacle to win viewership ratings. 

This year saw the awards return back to form. Although it wouldn't be the VMAs without a lil' controversy, it was nice to see a strong selection of nominees while also witnessing some incredible live performances. 

Ten of the show's moments have been spread (unevenly) into three categories; The Good, The Bad and the troll-under-a-bridge ugly. I don't think it takes a genius to guess which moments were the ugliest.

5. Lady Gaga's opener - 'Applause'

Yes, Lady Gaga opened the show with 'Applause', the first single off her third album 'Artpop'. While I'm sure some of you found time to cheer her, others were more likely to moan and groan, as after only four years, a lot of people seem to be sick of her already. My expectations for this performance were at a comfortable average to reasonably high, only to be exceeded entirely. 

Why Gaga found it necessary to wear four different costumes and three different wigs is unbeknownst to me at this moment in time, but for now I'll just take it as it was. An incredibly entertaining show opener.

4. The Surprise presenters

Something I didn't see coming were the appearances of Jason Collins, TLC and Lil' Kim this year. Even though Kim herself is a native Brooklynite (where the event was held this year), I never would've guessed that she'd actually turn up, especially since she left me hanging at Lovebox this year. Taking turns to introduce performances by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Drake, and the nominees for Best Rap Video respectively, the three were a pleasant add to the mix among the stars of the new generation, including Iggy Azalea, Selena Gomez and Bruno Mars.

3. Danity Kane's reformation

While a collective 'WHO?!' sweeps this post/nation/the internet, lemme say one thing. Danity Kane are my jam. Those who know me know this. Shannon, Aundrea, Aubrey and Dawn stepped out together as a group for the first time five years, acting like no time had passed at all. The band made famous on MTV's Making The Band released two albums in '06 and '08 before being disbanded by the groups creator, the Ciroc splashing Diddy in '09. Becoming the only girl group in history to have their first two albums d├ębut atop the Billboard chart, the new foursome (the fifth member, 'D. Woods' decided not to return for whatever reason), announced that they're currently readying a new single, titled 'Rage' from their upcoming third album. Sure they've been gone longer than they were together, and most people don't know who they are, but I remain excited.

2. Kanye West's 'Blood on the Leaves'

The most shocking thing that Kanye West can do at the point is act like a normal human being. Which is pretty much what he did the entire time he was on stage performing 'Blood on the Leaves' this year. West made a rare appearance at this years awards to perform a track from his dark, twisted but not so beautiful LP, Yeezus on Sunday night. While performing in front of the backdrop to Steve McQueen's "Lynching Tree", West flailed and wailed to the track which samples Nina Simone's 'Strange Fruit'. So maybe it wasn't exactly normal, but pretty normal for him at least. 

1. Justin Timberlake & NSync's Medley 

How could this not be #1? The recipient of this year's Video Vanguard Award blessed us with a 15 minute medley of almost every song he's ever released.  About half way through Timberlake headed towards the stage to reunite with the best boyband of all time, NSync for 'Gone', 'Bye Bye Bye' and 'Girlfriend'.

The choreography and vocals were air fucking TIGHT. 

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

and most importantly, Exhibit C:

And let's not forget about this:

I need a slo-mo of that:

Everyone, their mother, and Lady Gaga lost their minds:

The Bad

3. Katy Perry's closer, 'Roar'

To be fair, this show had the fewest poor moments since I started watching the show in 1998, so it was quite hard to pick these. So I'm sorry Katy Perry but this one goes to you. Also performing the lead single from her third album, Perry opted for a 'Rocky' themed stage set under the Brooklyn Bridge. The performance wasn't necessarily 'bad' exactly, just a tad slow and dull for a show closer. It probably doesn't help that I also don't like the song at all.

2. Taylor Swift's potty mouth

It's hard to know who she was referring to exactly or whether it was just clever editing, but there's a member of One Direction she clearly can't stand the sound of. Bad in the best possible way.

1. That weird voice Joseph Gordon Levitt was speaking in.

JGL took the stage to present the award for Video of the Year, only to grace us with a really weird 19th Century circus ringleader persona. Although he recognised his own ridiculousness, he was met on stage by the awards recipient, Justin Timberlake also using the same voice...which made it slightly less cringe-inducing. Slightly.

The Ugly

2. Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke's 'We Can't Stop/Blurred Lines/Give It 2 Me'

As this feature is already a lot more image and gif heavy than expected, I'm gonna keep this one clean and short. What the hell was I even watching when Miley Cyrus performed 'We Can't Stop'? From the sad teddy bears, to the backoff slapping, to Cyrus's 'twerking', I don't even know where to begin. At least for the final song we had 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar attempt to save this desperate and unnecessary attempt for Cyrus to shed her child star skin. Call me an old codger but I was kinda disgusted. 

I'm gonna let this image speak for itself and be done with it...


1. Everyone's reaction to it

...Except I can't be cause the reactions are some of the best things to come out of this years ceremony. Of course, the Parents Television Council complained as it's pretty much what they do, but the Twittersphere exploded. In fact, this performance alone produced a gargantuan 306,000 tweets per minute, breaking a record previously held by Beyonce's Superbowl performance in February. Low and behold my favourite tweet o' them all:


So there you have it. With 10.6 million live viewers it was also the most watched VMA telecast in recent years. More importantly there was something for everyone this year.
Unless you're a Chris Brown fan.

Credit to, fuckenamyy, tammygu3, Mashable, @flashinlightsU and MTV, and anyone elses .gifs I used from Tumblr.

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