Air Date: Sunday, August 28, 2011 9/8 c on MTV
In years past, especially during the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s, I would look forward to watching the two hour (with commercials) VMAs on MTV because I got to see some of my favorite artists perform and win the ‘moon man’ for Best Pop Video (Britney Spears nabbed this one), Best Hip-Hop Video (Nikki Minaj scooped this one), and so on. But this year’s 28th Annual MTV VMAs was a convoluted and irksome display of chaos heavily seasoned with bad ad-libs, terrible cue-card reading, and some intensely awkward moments that made me cringe and want to change the channel to avoid further discomfort.
Is it just me or is it redundant to thank both God and Jesus in your acceptance speech? *cough* Justin Bieber *cough* I guess since I’m not religious I don’t understand the need to thank both. One or the other is fine but both sounds really over the top. And he looks so smooth and slightly femme! I want him to man-up, shave and maybe slap on some Aqua Velva, ya know. He needs to lay off the mani-pedis and facials and grow a pair. I don’t get the hype around Bieber. I think his girlfriend Selena Gomez is a cutie pie but two cutie pies in one relationship – I mean, how long can you share your daily cleanser and hair products with a guy before you question his masculinity?
As if we weren’t polluted enough with the craziness at the VMAs, the femme fatales of Jersey Shore, Sammi, Snooki, JWow, and Deena were on hand with the lovable potty-mouthed comedian Cloris Leachman to present Best Female Video. I nearly fell out of my seat when Leachman says, “Well when you get a booty call from Pauly D, you answer it.” And then she says she’s “DTF.” I have no words because I can’t stop laughing. But can I just say Deena’s dress would be the result if a bag of Skittles vomited – it’s a rainbow of color. And Snooki telling Cloris that she’s not a grenade even at 60 is laughable. Cloris is 85!
One of the night’s awkward moments happens when Nicki Minaj, dressed in a very unique and triangular ensemble costume complete with a sort of pink and blonde bee-hive wig, and a newly slimmed down Jonah Hill come out to present the night’s first award. I love me some Nicki but her reading from the cue-card was just awful and Jonah tried too hard to be aloof and dry in order to get some giggles from the audience. In the end, it was a FAIL! I don’t understand the need to wear such elaborate costumes and get-ups to garner attention when your natural talent should be in the spotlight. Insecurity, maybe? I guess there are some people who need to hide behind the façade to cloak their true persona. That goes for you too Katy Perry.
Another very ‘WTF?’ moment happens when Lady Gaga comes out dressed in drag as her male counterpart, Jo Calderone from her video “You and I.” It looked like a mediocre attempt of recreating the greaser guys from Grease. She looked more like Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my Gaga – I love her unapologetic antics and bravery to highlight that we are all born the way we are and to love ourselves— however, when Jo tries to have a little lip-lock with Britney Spears who had been awarded the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, it feels so insanely discommodious that I literally had to turn away for a bit. It’s rumored all of it was unplanned and I actually believe that because Britney looked so uncomfortable being on stage with Gaga/Jo. I wouldn’t have wanted to be her for one minute on that stage – the awkwardness was so tangible, it reverberated through the screen into my living room.
The whole night wasn’t lost, though. There were some tremendously entertaining performances by the ever graceful and talented Adele, who sang “Someone Like You,” from her latest album 21. I get goose bumps just thinking about her performance. She looks fantastic! She’s slimmed down, but not too much. I love her curves! She’s just a beautiful young woman with a beautiful voice. The standing ovation was well earned! She sings with such conviction and passion, I feel the emotions in her lyrics. I admire any singer who can get on stage with only a piano playing in the background and sing a cappella so cleanly. (BTW – In the shower, I swear I sound like Mariah Carey. Although, it could be the rush of water drowning out the sound of my off-key notes fooling me into believing I can actually carry a tune.)
Beyonće belted out an inspired and soulful rendition of her song “Love on Top” from her album 4. She also showed off her baby bump! Yes, Beyonće and hubby Jay-Z are expecting their first child. After she finished the song, she unbuttoned her magenta sequined jacket and rubbed her belly, to which both Jay-Z and Kayne West jumped up and cheered.
It’s so hard to believe Beyonće will be turning 30 this September 4th. Of course, many speculate the star has been lying about her age saying she was born in 1974 not 1981. If you believe the story mills saying someone born in 1974 is only 32, you are in dire need of a math quiz. Just saying. And who cares how old she really is; plenty of women lie about their age. If I could get away with it, I’d say I was 28 instead of 38 all day long! So, who gives a shit? Beyonće is über talented and that transcends any age.
Some notable and interesting things: Chris Brown’s performance on the wires as he sang “Beautiful People.” Despite the negative events of his relationship with Rhianna, Brown is a great performer. He can dance like nobody’s business and he can sing. Hate him if you want because of his behavior but don’t pass judgment on anyone unless you’re willing to have the spotlight on yourself. While I don’t condone any man hitting a woman, we can’t condemn him forever for one mistake. Just my opinion.
My least favorite moment was the Amy Winehouse tribute. Not the actual tribute itself, mind you. I enjoyed Russell Brand making introductory remarks, but I really don’t understand why Bruno Mars was chosen to sing her song “Valerie.”
Honestly, I am so over Bruno Mars. He’s a Michael Jackson/Doo-Wop wanna-be. I wish he would jump on a “Grenade” and get a new angle. The whining songs are killing me. “Sky full of lighters” so we can light up “Grenade” launchers! I don’t know what it is about this kid but his voice drives me nuts!
I don’t really wish him any physical harm. He can sing, sure, but I am so annoyed by the sound of his voice and lyrics, I cringe just at the mention of his name. I think someone like Duffy or Adele or even the broken-legged Jessie J would have been better suited to sing a strong female vocal for Amy Winehouse rather than Mars.
I think Winehouse’s light was snuffed out too soon. She had an incredible voice. I think too many celebrities surround themselves with superficial people who will say “yes” to all their demands when they need to have people who actually give a shit about them and say “NO” sometimes. I must say, “Well done,” to Brand for his honesty when tells us how he knew Winehouse.
“First time I met her, she was kind of like a daft, dopey person, just wandering around a little bit crazy, like a lot of people who are drawn to big cities with a peculiar, unknowable talent….This is not just another London chancer, not just another person milling about waiting to be famous…What is this incredible sound? This timeless sound, like a roar from the guts of humanity; the kind of voice that Billie Holiday sung with; the kind of voice that Ella Fitzgerald sung with.”
Let’s hope next year’s VMAs will be more entertaining and less awkward. I’d love to see MTV focus on the actual music videos and the artists’ interpretations for their songs. It’s enough already on the theatrics of outlandish costumes and comedians trying to be funny when they’re just reading from a cue-card.
Photos © 2011 MTV Networks, © and ™ MTV Networks. All Rights Reserved
© 2011, Judy Manning. All rights reserved.
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