Sunday, September 09, 2007

Anatomy of a Trainwreck: The 2007 VMA's

Discussion points on the annual trainwreck that is MTV's Video Music Awards. This year, though -- the show's first stint in Vegas where they, in true MTV style, rented out the entire Palms hotel -- was tremendously MORE of a trainwreck than previous years:

* First off, cutting the show from 3 hours to 2 yet NOT cutting back the # of "featured entertainers." Bad move. We'll get into that later.

* The Pre-Show:

1) Dear John Norris, WHY DO YOU EXIST? Sincerely, The Earth. Really, is there anyone creepier than the aged MTV news guy who you NEVER see except trying to lamely host the pre-show coverage for one of these award atrocities? Look, John Norris was annoying 15 years ago when his sole job seemed to be filling air time while Kurt Loder went potty. A decade on, he's now rocking dyed hair and what appeared to be EYE SHADOW? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Ick, please go away.

2) Let's put the red carpet on the casino floor of the Palms? Whose bright idea was this? The whole thing just looked like a hot mess. Nobody appeared to have room to move, twirl, or suck up appropriately to the paparazzi. And on camera, it just looked like human chaos.

* BRITNEY. Oh, dear. I mean, really. Look, I'm not going to wax poetic about Britney Spears' troubles of late. We all know what a horrific year she's had, right? But you know the best thing about pop culture? It is hopelessly FORGIVING. If Britney truly wanted to resurrect her career, all she had to do was show up, dance sexy, lip sync, and be her sluttily charming self, and all would have been forgiven. Instead, we got bizarro half-a**sed Britney. Well, if ONLY her a** was half. Instead, it was like a doublewide. Look, I'm a big guy, I know what it's like to be chunky and flabby. I, however, hide it appropriately in baggy pants and oversized t-shirts. Britney, on the other hand, decided to shake her thang wearing little more than a moist towelette. And her thang was a tad too big for that kinda skimpily-clothed shakin'. Add to that her barely-trying dance moves and why-even-bother lip syncing, and what do you get? CAREER SUICIDE. It's over, girl.

* Sarah Silverman. Wow, don't you think MTV was setting Britney up for failure by bringing out Sarah Silverman directly afterwards? Sarah Silverman who earns a living by making the kind of crass, off-color, offensive, hurtful jokes that can instantly wreck a person? The thing is, though, usually Sarah Silverman's funny as hell. Tonight, though, she was just a mess. A couple potshots at Britney that were such low blows that she lost both the crowd AND her timing all at once. It was an ugly crash-and-burn.

* The Neutrogena Party Suite, or whatever it was called. Apparantly Neutrogena, a major sponsor of the show, had some kind of contest where you could win a trip to the VMA's. But instead of actually going to the SHOW, these poor contest winners appeared to be sealed in a hotel suite at the Palms with a food tray, DJ, and karaoke machine, with TV's to watch the event going on above and below them. And Neutrogena kept paying for these ad spots where they broadcast live from this Empty Funless Room of Despair, as if these kids were a part of the action. Granted, the 5 or 6 kids sealed in this room looked like they were having FAR more fun than the people at the ceremony itself, so maybe there's something to be said for Neutrogena. Besides, their room was hosted by Heroes starlette Hayden Panetierre, and there are few other people I'd ever want to be trapped in a hotel suite with. So maybe they really WERE the night's big winners after all.

* So the award show was splintered off two ways. First, you had the main event in the Palms grand ballroom or whatever. But at the same time, 4 of the suites in the hotel were holding "private" shows -- one hosted by Fallout Boy, one by the Foo Fighters, one by Kanye West, and the last, dubbed the "Southern Hospitality" suite, co-hosted by Timbaland and Justin Timberlake. Each of these suite parties looked like a pretty decent time and chock full of great performances... TOO BAD MTV DIDN'T SHOW ANY OF THEM. As a result of basically 5 events going on simulteanously, the network tried to cram coverage by going, "Alright, now let's check in on the Kanye West suite." The cameras would then take us to the suite, where we'd join whatever song was occurring live in progress, get to watch for about a minute, then *poof* coverage returns back to the main room, where there decidedly was NOT a party going on. There was some seriously cool stuff going on in those suite performances. At one point, they send things up to the Foo Fighters room and join the band in mid-song. What's NOT noted, though, is that Pat Smear, who used to play guitar for the band in their early days, was onstage with the guys. That's a pretty monumental occurence, and if you weren't paying careful attention, you wouldn't have even noticed. Guests were omnipresent in the rooms. Gym Class Heroes and Rihanna joined Fallout Boy; Cee-lo, Lemmy from Motorhead, and Serge from System of a Down joined the Foo Fighters; Soulja Boy was performing with Kanye; TI and 50 Cent were onstage with Justin & Timbaland. Heck, one time they cut to the Foo Fighters party and the Foos were nowhere to be seen, it was Queens of the Stone Age playing! And all we got to see was scattered minutes of what may have been legendary performances (with vague promises from MTV that their website would have highlights from the suites that didn't make the show.) WEAK.

* Whoever did the seating arrangement for the main party needs to be fired, like, NOW. From what it looked like on TV, fans were either relegated to the back of the main ballroom or were up in one of the 4 party suites, leaving the artists on the main stage to play to what appeared to be a room full of bored record executives. Seriously, no one seated at any of the front tables looked younger than 35. That's not a way for MTV to market themselves. As a result, NO performances got the crowd hype necessarily to make them legendary.

* Chris Brown. Okay, the kid can dance. Like, really, in a jaw-dropping sorta way. But he went to the Britney Spears School of Less-Than-Great Lip Syncing as well. What happened to at least having a live mic to augment the pre-recorded vocals? Even though it was impressive dancing, the whole thing felt like mime without even pretending to sing live. And, inexplicably, in the middle of his performance, Rihanna pops out to do a verse of "Umbrella." And she was singing live. Now, there's a remix of "Umbrella" out there that features Chris Brown, so I was naturally expecting him to do his verse. Nope. It was just a disjointed Rihanna cameo that made NO sense in the set.

* I really don't want to, but I totally like that new Linkin Park song.

* Alicia Keys. Let me get juvenile for a second... WHEN DID ALICIA KEYS GET THAT BOOTY? She took to the stage with a J. Lo sized posterior that seemed to magically have grown out of nowhere. Like, can you get butt implants? That said, Alicia Keys is a TRUE performer and was definitely the highlight of the televised performances, even if she DID bust out a Wham cover (?!?!)

* According to Jennifer Garner, the Best New Artist of the Year is someone called "Gym Class Fallout." If only they existed...

* Apparantly, the highlight of the show happened prophetically during a commercial break, when Tommy Lee and Kid Rock got into a slugfest, presumably over the love of leather-skinned, hepatitic Pammy Anderson. Now seeing THAT woulda been worth my time. Oh, and MAD props to Diddy for his "please stop the violence in rock and roll" ad-libs -- that was THE best moment of the night, and vindication for every hip-hop artist in the audience.

* The awards themselves. Okay, so the MTV Video Music Awards never had THAT much credibility in the first place. I mean, who decides who wins? The marketing dept. at MTV? It's NEVER been explained. But, still, they used to at least go through the motions. This year, the awards were such an afterthought that they followed trend with their movie awards and just started making up stupid categories for the awards. It was like somebody at MTV thought, "Hmm, we should give Justin an award, so let's make a category called 'Most Totally Awesome Performance By A Former Boyband Member Whose Last Name Rhymes With Bimberlake'!" It was ridiculous. The categories were literally that lame.

* What happened to the Video Vanguard award? Or Director of the Year? I suppose there's no point, especially considering MTV doesn't air videos anymore.

So congratulations, MTV, for your absolutely worst awards show to date. I thought it would be impossible to make the show worse than last year's, but hey, you pulled it off. Maybe next year, you should just do away with the awards altogether and call it what it is -- a badly thrown together excuse to get a bunch of celebrities to celebrate themselves.


Anonymous said...

Its a pretty sad commentary on our society when people are saying that Britney looked fat last night. How does that make young girls who may be similar in size (healthy) feel?

-shane- said...

You're missing my point. I'm not calling Britney fat, nor am I calling her unhealthy. Nor am I saying that there's anything wrong with holding some extra pounds (good gravy, look at ME.)

What I'm saying is that her muscle tone was NIL. If you look that way, so be it. I'm perfectly cool with that, and, in fact, I'm not the kind of guy who's drawn to girls who DO look all toned and skinny.

My point, as crass as it may be, is simple: If you're not perfectly toned in that creepy MTV way, perhaps you should not take to the stage using 2 shoestrings as primary clothing. ESPECIALLY if you're Britney Spears.

Emilene said...

Poor, crazy, Britney. I wish I could look that good after giving birth to two kids in the last three years, but she just looked pathetic last night. Kind of sad and desperate. She's still good looking, but she looks like a mom. Thicker around the waist, bigger butt, etc. No one wants to see the hot mom from the toddler playgroup gyrating and moaning, half-naked, on national TV (and I have given birth to great quantities of babies in the last few years myself, so I can say that).

And Sarah Silverman maybe should avoid making fun of babies in the future. It doesn't go over well. (and Britney's kids have problems enough, seriously.) I was so glad to see her flop. You knew she was desperate when she pulled out the diarrhea jokes.

John Norris looks like an evil elf.

Nick S. said...

I don't think i've watched Mtv or VH1 in years. If I want to watch music videos i'll just pull up Yahoo launchcast plus. MTV has become irrelevant. It's really nothing but a 24 hour reality show.
Internet killed the video star.

Anonymous said...

5:23 poster here again.

While you may not have called her fat, a lot of the media types are.

Personally I thought she looked good, even in the skimpy outfit, but it was her attitude/general personality decay that made her seem unsexy.

Anonymous said...

RE John Norris -- 10-to-1 odds says it's a rug.