Hours before the VMAs began, another Top Model marathon aired, followed by a repeat of The Hills – proving what we’ve known all along: music videos are no longer the bread and butter of Music Television. They have become a novelty on the network where if you’re lucky, you might catch a few moments of a video on the fledging TRL, or if you’re really lucky, early in the morning, you achieve the bigger rarity of viewing a video in its entirety. With that understanding, it’s no surprise that an awards show centered on awarding excellence in music videos on a network that no longer celebrates the medium to lose its sense of self and face a severe decline in relevance.
Speaking of loss of self and declining relevance, MTV has spent the last days leading into the award show promoting the ‘comeback’ performance of pop queen turned tabloid shrew, Britney Spears. There’s been video posted of her rehearsal posted on MTV.com, articles detailing the performance, and artist advice to Britney on the performance all in an effort to build anticipation for the performance (and give the show its first possible ratings bump in four years).
If only she had listened. Wearing a costume that would have been a perfect fit before the children and addiction to Taco Bell, Britney leisurely executed her choreography in her best impersonation of an intoxicated robot. She also looked heavily medicated; if only she shared her prescription with us. With shots of the audience either looking stunned or holding hysterical laughter in, everyone saw what seems to be sure fire proof that Britney’s career may not ever recover.
Fortunately for Britney, MTV did very little to raise the bar.
I’m not sure if I’m supposed to count the random performances that occurred during the Kanye, Justin/Timberland, and Foo Fighter parties that MTV wrongly assumed we needed to shoot back to every couple of minutes, so I’ll just forgo addressing most of them. I will ask whose bright idea was it to promote a slew of performances and only show a handful in their entirety?
Chris Brown’s performance would have been great if it were on So You Think You Can Dance. When performing a song, it would be grand if you actually took out the time to sing some of it. Points for originality go to him for being the billionth person to try and re-do Michael Jackson’s old moves on an award show.
When Rihanna appeared on stage to strut sex and sing a verse from summer anthem “Umbrella,” during Chris Brown’s set, one would assume that maybe Chris would join her in a duet given his appearance on the “remix.” That would make too much sense, I suppose.
Rihanna, in her best “bad girl” get-up, gave me another reason to call her a wackass by lipping the lyrics to “Shut Up and Drive” with a live band.
The highlight of the lowlights was Alicia Keys. Not a fan of the song, but she didn’t suck, so that alone will stop me from being hard on her. I won’t even talk about her stage attire. Nope. Won’t do it.
I couldn’t tell you who won what award, since they served as a backdrop for the entire show. I did catch Rihanna winning the night’s highest honor for video of the year. Talk about hard times.
I think the show’s only real winners are the advertisers.
Shia LeBeouf got to plug Indiana Jones 4.
Rhapsody very annoyingly tried to get me to log on to their site to pay to watch extra performances online every five seconds.
Curtis and Graduation received even more attention, giving me even more incentive to go out and support Kenny Chesney.
Jive promoted Britney’s album and the “Gimme More” ringtone, which I think took a lot of balls, because after that performance, why bother?
The only other winner I can think of is Christina Aguilera, whose pretty still laughing as I write this.
Last week several articles were written dissecting MTV and its relevance (or irrelevance) in pop culture. For years MTV defined what and who mattered, then somehow managed to find itself a step behind with the short attention span having generation they helped create. The pressure was on for MTV, and its chosen savior, Britney Spears, to deliver a show and performance that would serve as a testament to the durability of both brands.
Both Spears and MTV fell flat on their faces, exposing all of its ugly flaws to a world so ready to write both off into oblivion.
Neither did little to dissuade me from logging on to Youtube to see Britney at her peak and see the growing video site beat MTV at their own game.
Perhaps the network had the right idea with the Top Model marathon.