The musical performances at the 2011 Video Music Awards were pretty consistently great, if slightly flawed in certain ways. Adele‘s rendition of “Someone Like You” was ever-so-slightly sharp, but still brought the house down. Pitbull, Ne-Yo, and Nayer turned in perhaps the best “Give Me Everything” performance we’ve seen on television, but we’ve seen a lot of them in the nearly six months it’s been a single. Lil Wayne closed out the show with a two-fer of “How to Love” and “John,” the latter of which was probably really good, though we could hardly tell since it was so heavily bleeped. A pair of performances, though, stood above the rest (and two others fell a little short). Presenting the highlights (and lowlights):
Any eyes that weren’t already on Beyonce quickly turned her way when she intimated to photographers on the black carpet that she might be pregnant, and her performance of “Love On Top” was bookended by vocal and visual confirmation of the fact. Even Beyonce’s own pregnancy couldn’t take attention away from her performance, though. In a sequined suit, she cruised through “Love On Top,” perhaps the uncoolest jam on 4 (whoever said it sounds like Jonathan Butler‘s “Lies” was dead-on) and definitely one of our favorites from the album. Beyonce effortlessly hit all the key changes and brought back late 80s R&B in a big way. She’s so good at being “on top” that we almost feel like she intentionally set us up for that pun.?
Lady Gaga flipped the script on those who speculated as to what she’d wear to the 2011 Video Music Awards by spending the entire show in character as Jo Calderone and making a case that when one is expected to wear something particularly outlandish, the most surprising choice is to dress down (albeit in drag). Adopting an accent reminiscent of VMA-infamous Andrew Dice Clay, “Calderone” monologued at length (Kanye, eat your heart out) prior to “his” performance of “Yoü and I.” When she wasn’t laying it on a little too thick (“And then the guys?meaning me; I’m one of the guys“) she was alternately self-aggrandizing and self-mocking, describing a Gaga who wears her heels in the bathtub and never breaks character except at orgasm.
After three and a half minutes, she launched into her performance of “Yoü and I,” first solo at the piano, then at the head of an all-male crew of backup dancers, with Brian May playing guitar behind a pillar until Gaga introduced him for his solo, to the absolute delight of Dave Grohl (to whom the cameras cut away as he grinned and pumped his fists in the air).
“Calderone” got a bit more confrontational when presenting Britney Spears with the Video Vanguard Award. After claiming to have masturbated to posters of Britney in her introduction, she moved in for a kiss, which Britney considered, then declined, remarking, “I’ve done that already.” Maybe Jo had whiskey-breath; cutaways to the audience showed Gaga, glass in hand, all night.
Today would have been the 53rd birthday of Michael Jackson, one of the greatest entertainers this world has ever known. Sadly, though, his life was cut short back in 2009 after he overdosed on Propofol (a case that has yet to see a full resolution). Still, his legacy lives on and, in many ways, has taken on an even greater significance since his passing.
In order to celebrate his remarkable life and his achievements, we took a cue from one of our favorite Tumblr sites, Awesome People Hanging Out Together. We crawled through almost 40 years worth of archive photographs to find these pictures of Michael Jackson hanging out with people from every profession and walk of life: his fellow musicians, actors, directors, politicians, diplomats, and even an inanimate object or two! So as you fire up your favorite MJ tracks today, take a look through our gallery and relive some of his most famous (and most random) celebrity encounters.
Pink Friday is nearly a year old, and its biggest single, “Super Bass,” was a bonus track, but the Nicki Minaj album still has legs. Witness “Fly” (featuring Rihanna), the newly minted single whose video just premiered during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards pre-show. A late-breaking entry in the “Music Video with a Message” pantheon (whether that brand-new VMA category will return in 2012 remains to be seen), “Fly” witnesses Minaj, first in her Bride of Frankenstein guise, then with a pink pixie haircut and white-rose-print-and-chiffon dress, then with leopard-print hair, and finally suited up in padded white garb to fight off hater-ninjas. The all-grey-everything airplane-fuselage landscape feels a little unreal, like she and Rihanna have wandered into the Resident Evil town somehow. Worry not, though: it gets better, as evidenced by the vines and flowers blooming by video’s end.
Nearly every truly iconic music video since 1984 has been nominated for at least one Video Music Award in its year of eligibility, but in the twenty-seven years that the ceremony has been held, only ten individual music videos have won five or more Moonmen. (This year, Adele‘s “Rolling In The Deep” and Katy Perry‘s “E.T.,” featuring Kanye West, could potentially join the club.) These videos got the attention and praise of everybody in their respective years of release. But do they stand the test of time? What about their competition? Here’s our look at the ten most-lauded videos in VMA history.
Madonna, “Ray of Light”: Five VMAs (of eight nominations)
Concept: Madonna raves on fast-forward all over the planet.
Competition: “Ray Of Light” wasn’t the only video with eight nominations: Garbage‘s video for “Push It” had as many nods (though, ultimately, no wins). We’d totally forgotten about “Push It,” actually, and its stocking-masked nun heist/exorcism would be huge today, because it looks like a Lady Gaga video from the 1990s, and if there are two things music fans like these days, they’re Lady Gaga and the 1990s. The year of eligibility for this ceremony was also the height of jiggy rap, but while Diddy‘s five nominations were split among four videos (Puff Daddy and the Family: “It’s All About The Benjamins”; Notorious B.I.G. Featuring Puff Daddy: “Mo Money Mo Problems”; Mariah Carey Featuring Puff Daddy and the Family: “Honey (Remix)”; Puff Daddy & Jimmy Page: “Come With Me”), Will Smith got as many nominations just for “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” (though the video only won one Moonman).
Verdict: While we love “Push It,” the fact that we had to refresh our memory sort of proves that “Ray Of Light” was simply the stronger video that year. As for jiggy rap? Hype Williams was robbed, sure?none of the Best Direction nominees, even, were jiggy rap?but Diddy has gotten his fair share of VMAs over the years (and even hosted one of the ceremonies). HOLDS UP
When we spoke to Sara Bareilles about her upcoming stint as a judge on NBC’s The Sing-Off, she also spilled some details about her upcoming video for “Gonna Get Over You”?most interestingly, that Jonah Hill would be directing it. Now she’s on set and tweeting pictures, and it looks like the Grease theme has been augmented by the accoutrements of a Mexican supermarket, a lot of confetti, and some sort of dance sequence (by five-time Choreography VMA winner Michael Rooney). We officially have no idea what to expect from this video (besides, presumably, soda made from sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup). After seeing these photos (of Bareilles and Hill above, and of her dance teachers posing with a sombrero and an inflatable hula girl in a market aisle below the jump), we’re officially very intrigued.
Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer?s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 Countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.
No lie, I haven?t missed a live viewing of the MTV Video Music Awards in 21 years. In college, when our dormitory only carried three television stations, I even managed to squat out the TV-set in student union for four consecutive years.
As someone who takes their VMA?s very seriously, here are three things I?m hoping will not happen this Sunday night:
1) We Don?t Lose Power in NYC
Not only am I missing two of my favorite shows for the VMA?s this Sunday night?Curb Your Enthusiasm and Breaking Bad?but I?m hoping to keep my VMA streak intact by actually getting to watch them live. If Hurricane Irene hits NYC hard on Sunday, electricity may be at a minimum, which would even negate a DVR viewing of the VMA?s. Yes, MTV will re-air the show, but I want to see it before it?s edited down into a TV-friendly, two-hour chunk.
The Video Music Awards are a celebration of the best music video work that musicians and technical personnel have to offer. They’re also a live event attended by more than a few outsized personalities, all interacting with each other in close proximity. Part of what makes the event so exciting to us is the tension that proximity creates. Sometimes, though, it boils over past professional rivalry into personal beef.
With that in mind, here is a look back at the ten most memorable VMA fights. Will anyone get into it this year? (Pitbull and Lindsay Lohan?) We’ll be tuning in to MTV on Sunday at 9 p.m. to find out.
[Images: Getty Images]
Now that Lindsay Lohan has become an uninsurable pariah in Hollywood, which has all but destroyed her ability to earn income through acting, she is now forced to rely on the legal system to generate the revenue it takes to maintain her lifestyle. To wit, she successfully sued E-Trade for calling her a “milkaholic” (Ed. Note—Our legal system is in severe need of an overhaul), she’s suing the jewelry company that she stole a necklace from, and now she’s suing music superstar Pitbull! The freckled felon filed suit against Pitbull (real name: Armando Christian Pérezin) in New York for defamation, among other things, for mentioning her name “without compensation” in his runaway chart-topper “Give Me Everything.”
Normally, defense lawyers tell their clients to keep their lips publicly zipped when it comes to matters like this, but the always dapper club sensation took to his website, PlanetPit.com, to tell his side of the story. He admits that when he first heard news of the lawsuit, he thought “it was very ironic,” but once he understood the severity of the allegations, he changed his tune. Pitbull claims the whole thing is just a misunderstanding over misheard and misinterpreted lyrics. “I didn’t look to defame, hurt or degrade someone else’s career,” he tells an off-camera honey. Rather, he explains that he was just attempting to keep her “relevant” and, furthermore, it’s considered a compliment to be “locked down” where he comes from. We’re not sure where you stand on this, but after watching Pitbull’s faux deposition, we’re officially on Team Pit on this one.
It has been fourteen days since Gavin DeGraw was hospitalized after being assaulted by a group of men in New York City’s East Village. VH1′s August Posted artist reached out to us last week to let us know that he was recovering, and as a follow-up, he just sent us this video message from Columbia, Maryland, which was recorded yesterday. DeGraw got back on stage yesterday for the first time since his awful assault, an event that he refers to in this video as “my little incident.” He’s currently on tour with Train and Maroon 5, and it’s great to see him fully recovered and back in high spirits.