One of the minor instant celebrities of last night’s Video Music Awards was Tyler, The Creator‘s mother, who sobbed with pride and excitement when her son won the Best New Artist Moonman. It turns out that her on-camera presence is due in part to an unlikely VMA hero: Nathan Williams of Wavves, who claims on Twitter to have given her his Black Carpet pass. Left Brain of Odd Future seems to confirm this on his Tumblr, describing Williams as “a crazy white kid,” and further noting that Williams “sparked a blunt when [Lil] Wayne was performing and Ron Artest told him to put it out!” All that, and the premiere of I Just Want My Pants Back! featured new Wavves song “I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl,” a wish that apparently came true at the VMAs. [Tumblr]
Tyler the Creator reupped his distaste for Bruno Mars on the Black Carpet at the 2011 VMAs last night. Prompted by Jim Cantiello‘s observation that Tyler was last, behind even Bruno Mars, in VMA Twitter mentions, Tyler remarked, “I’m a f? I’m a failure,” adding, with a bit of hyperbole, “I’m gonna kill myself,” which was also his threat should “Grenade” win Video Of The Year (it didn’t). Why the continuing feud? “I really hate his music.”
He was forced to backpedal later in the show, after seeing Bruno Mars’s bravura performance in the tribute to Amy Winehouse. He tweeted, “F?k I hate Bruno, but that was really good.” Maybe this Odd Belieber will be won over yet.
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.
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
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]
This morning’s announcement of Lady Gaga as a performer at this year’s Video Music Awards is the latest sort-of confirmation of a big VMA rumor that’s been going around since reality-TV production coordinator Johnathan Woodbeck tweeted it the day after the Britney Spears VMA promo, above, premiered. According to Woodbeck’s tweet, the show will contain a star-studded tribute medley with one song from each of Britney’s albums, followed by the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award (presumably the Video Vanguard Award?) by none other than Madonna. The rumored performance lineup (via Lainey Gossip):