These Are Not Your Father's MTV Music Video Awards

The MTV-VH1 Music Video Awards were tonight. They sure have changed.

Madonna, looking relaxed, calm and very pretty, opened the show with a quiet and actually quite moving speech in tribute to Michael Jackson. After noting they were born the same year, she mentioned she lost her mother when she was a young girl. But she says Michael he got the short end of the stick: She lost a mother, he lost a childhood. She also talked about how "we" abandoned him, how while he was trying to raise a family, "we all sat in judgment of him." "There will never be anyone else like him again. He was a king." She says she's going to end on a positive note. "Michael Jackson was a human being but he was the King. Long live the King."


They go to Thriller with Michael Jackson on the big screen and dancers, including one playing him, on the stage, in sync. Then Bad and another song, and out comes a stunning looking Janet Jackson, in top form. Michael's on the screen dancing behind her and she's dancing totally in sync matching move for move on the stage. It ends with a picture of them with their arms around each other on the screen. Janet looks emotionally drained at the end.

Then it's Live from New York City, the MTV/VH1 Music Awards.

Joe and Katy Perry do a terrific rendition of "We Will Rock You." Russell Brand is hosting and while he's improved since a few years ago, he shouts his way through the whole thing.

It quickly got very weird. Taylor Swift, the frail looking teen who sings country music, wins the award for best female video of the year. As she's giving her speech, Kanye West comes out, interrupts her, and tells the audience Beyonce should have won. Beyonce, in the audience, looks horrified. Taylor is left standing there speechless and they finally whisk her off stage.

They bring out a couple that can't be older than 12. I feel like I'm watching the child dancers on DWTS. But they are there to introduce Taylor Swift, who is doing her performance live in a subway. This she has to do live, after Kanye dissed her on national tv. And she shines. The first time I saw her on Letterman last year, I thought she was awful. She's really grown in her performance ability. A crowd chases her through the subway as she runs through turnstiles and up those steps in a red cocktail dress with high heels. Then she's on the street outside Radio Music Hall, with a crowd of hundreds around her cheering her, still singing. This is all live while the audience is sitting inside the theater (I guess watching it on the big screen.)

Lady Gaga does her performance. There's a dancer brought out in a wheelchair and wheeled around and (kind of refreshing) a very plus size back up dancer. Lady Gaga struts around, almost Joe Cocker like at times -- at one point I thought she was going to fall over. Then there's red blood all over her body, and she ends it hanging from a rope like a ragdoll, with blood everywhere, including her eye. Fake blood, but you get the point.

When she wins an award later, she goes on stage wearing a red bag on her head with a red mesh mask covering her face and starts giving her acceptance speech. She whips the mask off midway through her speech.

Green Day (who won for best rock video for "21 Guns)comes out and they perform in their trademark high octane manner. Billie Joe starts running around the stage and then invites the audience on stage to join him. It's a mob scene.

Beyonce does her performance. She's sexy, gorgeous, and as flexible as a rubber band -- just an amazing ability to move every muscle simultaneously in different directions.

Then there was Pink. She does a circus performance. Two guys blindfold her and she's whisked up in the air on a rope where she meets a guy on a trapeze. She's unmasked and sings her entire song while doing some pretty incredible acrobatic feats. But still, it had nothing to do with the music.

Then it's hip-hop time. Are there only three hip-hop artists? Every year it's Eminem, Jay Z, Kanye West. Eminem wins this year.

Another bizarre thing: While the performances are going on, there's not only a chiron on the bottom of the screen showing who's up next, but a voice-over announcing things like "Lady Gaga in 8 Minutes." and "Jay Z is in the car, he'll be here in 29 minutes." They do this repeatedly, while the musical group is performing. How rude.

Then they go outside to a breathless young blonde who's following the twitter board. She can't speak in a complete sentence. She screeches a bit here and there and I caught that there were 1 million tweets. It seems like her job is to follow them and report on them, but she's too excited. Still, 1 million tweets during the first 60 minutes of a show that's not even on network (only on cable) is something.

Near the end of the show, Beyonce wins for best video of the year and upon reaching the stage and being handed the award, says how important her first award was to her and calls Taylor out to continue her thank you speech. Very gracious, but again, how bizarre that it was even necessary. Kanye West is a twit.

Finally Jay Z arrives. I guess he is the current king, it was like royalty was arriving, they showed his car driving up for blocks. He goes right from his car onto the stage where he performs with Alicia Keys, who was way better than him. Beyonce, who looks thrilled to be watching hubby Jay Z, gazes at him adoringly from the audience and sings and dances along, next to a pretty motionless Lady Gaga, who is back in the audience with the red bag on her head.

This was the most hyper awards show I've seen yet. I think they all took triple doses of Adderall when they arrived. I'm exhausted just from watching.

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    Made me feel old (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Lysis on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 04:27:21 AM EST
    And I'm only 30. My generation was represented in the first fifteen minutes of the show. So glad Madonna was there as the tribute speaker for Michael Jackson. Those two really defined the early MTV era, and she's the only pop star of the same caliber. Thank God she's still going strong.

    Say it ain't so - NOBODY at TL (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 04:49:25 AM EST
    commenting on the MTV MVAs? Jeralyn you are doing an amazing job of holding down the fort! Totally agree with your take on things (almost).

    WHO is Madonna's dermatologist/surgeon - really? I doubt that it's Dr. Brandt - unless he reserves his best work for celebrities. I know non-celebs who've seen him and the work is maybe a B+.

    Here are a couple of my thoughts. Janet was amazing. Her voice has changed - not that whispery little girl thing - now she's raspy and raw - all for the better - and appropriate to the occasion.  

    I had higher expectations of Lady Gaga's performance. I've seen her live on British TV and she performed brilliantly. But, tonight the belabored reenactment of the music video for "Papparazzi" didn't translate in live performance at Radio City Music Hall. I hate to say it, but she came off a tad like marilyn Manson on a bad day. Her costuming also looked amateurish, imo - altho she sounded really good - if she was actually singing.

    Beyonce is super-freakin-natural - enuf said.

    I thought Pink was the best act of the evening and if you look at the lyrics for the song Sober, the trapeze acrobatics have a meaningful relationship to the song. It's about the fine line between being in and out of control; the vulnerability and risk of maintaining that balance; and the precariousness of depending on someone else to catch you if you fall. Call me a dope, but for a pop song performance, she evaded absurdity and achieved something bordering on quasi-profound. She has a VOICE - I'm assuming she actually sang while doing air-borne acrobatics - she loathes lip-syncing. This LINK may or may not work for video of Pink's performance.

    Thanks for being here tonight Jeralyn!

    I agree with you, (none / 0) (#10)
    by dk on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 10:06:19 AM EST
    Foxhole, that Pink was the best act of the evening.  It was, after all, the video music awards, and how can you top a trapeze act for optics!?

    Also, I disagree with Jeralyn on the Jay Z v. Alicia Keyes comparison.  Jay Z was awesome, and Alicia Keyes was mediocre.  But then, I've never liked her.  She just seems so full of herself.

    But otherwise, I agree with everything that you and Jeralyn wrote.  It was definitely a memorable show!


    This post is a welcome reprieve from (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by DeborahNC on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 05:27:10 AM EST
    all of the political news I've been following. Jeralyn, your commentary was great; I felt as if I were there.

    Thanks to you too, FHA.

    MJ's nosedive a reflection on our shallowness (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Exeter on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 08:02:38 AM EST
    It is rare that, as a society, you know a person almost their entire life, but that was the case with MJ.  Clearly, in the end, whether deserved or not, he was a freakshow. He not only had Elvis's self-destruction in appearance, but, more importantly, he was accused of the most serious thing you can accuse someone of in our society.

    In retrospect I wish we would have given him the same "reverse mortgage" that we give other performers that struggle late in their career.

    MTV (none / 0) (#5)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 05:33:19 AM EST
    still does music videos?  I thought they just did lousy reality shows.

    I wouldn't know. (none / 0) (#7)
    by Fabian on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 08:24:07 AM EST
    If I want to watch music videos, I use YouTube.  

    Swift's performance (none / 0) (#8)
    by MrConservative on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 09:18:14 AM EST
    was pre-recorded.  She was backstage crying hysterically after the Kanye West fiasco.

    I think you are incorrect (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 11:39:19 AM EST
    MTV reports:

    Minutes after having her acceptance speech interrupted by Kanye West, the Best Female Video winner took to the city's subways and streets to perform her song "You Belong With Me."

    Dressed in a brown trench and black beanie, the 19-year-old began her performance busking in the 42nd Street Bryant Park subway station. As her unrequited-love song crescendoed, the country star tossed off her dowdy attire to reveal a knee-length, cherry-red dress, hopping onto the F Train to begin her subway dance party. Flanked by a carful of passengers, the party train docked at the Rockefeller Center stop, where Taylor emerged in front of Radio City Music Hall, ending her performance atop a yellow cab declaring, "I love you, New York!"

    And the dress she wore for her performance in the subway was the same as the one when she came out at the end of the show, but different than the one she wore at the beginning when Kanye interrupted her. Do you have a link to support it was pre-recorded?


    Well to each is own (none / 0) (#9)
    by SOS on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 09:46:34 AM EST
    I was running around in diapers with Miles Davis playing on the "record player", birth of the cool,
    etc, etc, onward to Pink Floyd, then into the Rock Fusion era . .

    Oh The Kayne West thing? . . Sure muscular black gangster male frightens and threatens thin innocent and helpless white girl . . right we're expected to believe this wasn't a stunt?

    doubt it was a stunt (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 11:40:43 AM EST
    He has a history of doing that kind of stuff. One year when he didn't win, he threw a fit during the show.

    gangster? (none / 0) (#11)
    by CST on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 10:30:35 AM EST
    really?  Kanye West is a lot of things.  That's not one of them.  Unless shoplifting from the Gap counts.

    Well played CST... (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 10:56:33 AM EST
    "shoplifting from the Gap"...lol:)