I haven’t actually seen any of those I used my birth canal before I was economically or emotionally ready to do so shows on MTV, but I do know the network that I used to worship for their music coverage makes far money on those than they do airing videos we only will watch once on YouTube. Most of you have known this, too, for quite some time. So if that is common knowledge why do we collectively feign dismay over the Video Music Awards?
I am guilty of this personally, as I wondered aloud why the cast of Jersey Shore (another show I have never watched) were the first guests for the pre-show. I know that one of them is a DJ for the robot formally known as Britney Spears, but I suppose if she has so little to say about her own music these days why should he even bother? Then came all of these random people I’ve never heard of sounding like strep throat, moving like pharmaceutically-enhanced dick stiffness, or being all around underwhelming.
This is the new tradition of the show, though, which is why I don’t blame MTV for changing their post-VMA show twitcon to an image of Beyoncé clutching her newly confirmed baby bump. If you can’t get music right you might as well highlight a pregnancy. Especially if that’s what your network is increasingly known for anyway.
But alright y’all, I will try to recap this show as best I can because memories of it sleep as I shift my interests towards something items like getting my life together and deciding what items from the Popeye’s menu I shall order in celebrating of Beyoncé bringing new life into the world.
Each year the BET Awards roll around and the usual suspects round out the typical responses. The instant rebranding of the ceremony as the EBT awards. The whining about how the show lost its luster several years ago. Or the wild accusation that the telecast represents the downfall of black America.
Much of this criticism to me is the verbal equivalent of perpetual jock itch. Seriously, folks, if the show is that cheap, so unbearable, and damning to your race do yourself a favor and don’t bother watching. Yes, that is a trite solution but no less trite that what the comments it’s in response to.
Just so we’re clear, though you can find my name around those online parts it doesn’t sway my opinion one way or the other. Trust me. That said, I didn’t find the show to be bad. Initially I held off on doing a review as I wondered whether or not it more enjoyable to me because I was at the venue.
Then I thought about it. and realized some people just like to complain. Sometimes fair, other times because everyone else is doing it. Most know damn well the VMAs haven’t been consistently good since Lauryn Hill cared what you thought and all the other ones aren’t usually worth mentioning at length. Which leaves us here. So everybody, let’s gather ’round and discuss this, shall we?
There comes a point when you have to stop feeling sorry for someone and speak plainly. To wit: Britney Spears the performer sucks now and I wish the mainstream press would give up the act about her already. As soon as I heard word that she would be performing at the Billboard Music Awards, I knew how the post-show headlines would look. Bullshit headers like, “Britney Sizzles With Rihanna on Stage.” If by sizzle you mean draw blank stares from people who can remember Britney before she succumbed to sedation, consider my eyes set ablaze.
Rihanna looked amazing as usual and sounded okay at best per usual. She still danced like she was ready for her shift at the Puss and Boots to end, but at least she sang live. And you know, at least she bothered to move her body at all. Whatever, by now we know what to expect. Loud knocks and that’s enough for me.
Still, Britney Spears made Rihanna look like Tina Turner after being hooked up to an IV of Red Bull by comparison. I like her and find her to be sweet, but seriously what is the point of Britney Spears anymore? If you can’t dance, you should at least sing. And if you can’t swing a pillow with energy maybe it’s best you just go lay on one.
Last nite, all of Appalachia gathered to punish hip-hop for stealing their phrase “knuck if you buck” without paying proper homage by way of Lady Antebellum dominating the 2011 Grammy Awards.
That is, if you are to believe the self-appointed oracles of music that took to Twitter to convey the less than subtle message: “Hip-hop don’t win shit ‘cause you Negroes with an igga don’t buy music.”
The sentiment bears about as much honesty in it as the tapped down crotch of a drag queen, but what does it matter given the Grammys only handed out about 3.5 awards in what felt like a 5.5 hour-long telecast anyway?
If the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences didn’t want to focus on who won what, why should I?
Let’s just move on from that and go straight to the performances.
To that end, let me make one thing clear: This shit was awful. There were some good things – like, uh, the stage crewmembers set up – but overall it was a very dull event and I’ll likely forget most of what I’ve seen tonight six hours after this post is published.
I do have one good thing to say, though: I actually learned a few things from watching this. And when you really think about it, shouldn’t we all take comfort in the fact that I can still learn from a network that’s now known for some loudmouth dwarf named Snooki?
The answer is no, but I’m going to share my musings on this show with you anyway.
Okay kids, let’s dive in so I can off and dream about chicken wings and the death of Sallie Mae.
I don’t think Mo’Nique ever had a problem with being honored by the Academy. It seemed to be more of an issue of whether or not she would bend over backwards to be honored for something she felt should be solely based on merit. She chose not to and based on her comments in recent and not so recent interviews, she’s admittedly about the bottom line. To some people you have to give a little to get more in the long run. To others they want all that you can give them from the jump.
As I contemplate driving up the block, turning on “Toss It Up,” and pop-pop-pop that thang for student loan cash, I can’t be mad at those who select the latter in hindsight.
Rihanna has a history of performing at the same energy level as a sedated Britney Spears. But, to her credit I think she’s trying to do better as evidenced by this performance at the Echo Awards. Has she completely succeeded yet? No, not really, but in this instance I think we should give her an A for effort. If an A is too much, just don’t give her a D for deportation.
Before your eyes shift sideways, let me make my case.
Look at how she opens the performance. She’s actually moving, ya’ll. Like, not just her lips but her actual body. Granted, she’s bending over and busting it open for a Transformer, but I’m sure Jimmy Neutron is somewhere smiling because of it. She gave robot boy hope and potentially a hard on, folks. Does that count for something?
I never get why people insist on repeating every year that the Grammy Awards are boring. That information is about as new as the second letter of the alphabet. Having said that, for a show known for putting people with attention-deficit hyperactive disorder into a mental coma I’d say this year’s Grammys wasn’t all that bad.
Interesting enough to get me to break down the three or 15 hour broadcast? Not even, but I can break it down in ten.
And we’re off:
1. Beyonce is everything, deal with it.
Truthfully, I would have never guessed “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” would net a songwriting award let alone the biggest one of the night. But it did, which just goes to show you how effective both a video and a catchy hook can be. And that Beyonce is respected.
As far as Beyonce’s performance goes, she sounded great and I appreciate her hiring Blackwater troops to back her up for the performance. Better them in LA than Iraq. I’m a bit surprised she worked in the Alanis Morrisette cover from her tour into the act, but she can do whatever she wants. She obviously wants to sing angrier songs sometimes. Why didn’t ya’ll let “Ring The Alarm” be great?
I get a lot of flak from the more sanity-deficient members of B-Unit for not drinking her bath water all the time, but I’m elated the girl scored Best Pop Vocal Category (quite the cue for a black girl) and made Grammy history last night with her six wins.
I know Beyonce still seems to bring out the insecure high school girl in many people, but if the thought of Beyonce winning so much pisses you off to that great extent, grab an ice tray and hit yourself with it.
…now cool off, cool off.
2. Pink and her husband are jackasses.
Here’s Mr. Pink on how to properly convey that you’re jealous and bitter:
The demanding stunt did not impede her singing, she said, adding, “No one ever has another excuse to lip-sync.”
With her tour over, Pink said, “I’m going to go home and cook and get fat.”
Hubby Carey Hart, meanwhile was quick to chime in with a few words of support via Twitter. “Though Pink wasn’t the big winner tonight, she stole the f*ckin’ show! 150 dancers don’t compare to her alone on the stage. Ask the crowd.”
He later added: “Pink, you were amazing, and EVERYONE knows it. No gimmicks [sic], just talent. I love you baby.”
I prefer Pink when she was singing Linda Perry’s life story, but she obviously still knows how to churn out a hit. That said, while I appreciate her trying to be different than her peers I hate the condescending attitude she has towards them.
For her and her husband’s information, giving yourself a bath in a leotard before you swing around an arena like an extra from Cirque du Soleil is just as gimmicky as hiring a bunch of background people for your performance.
Not to mention her incessant need to remind us that she’s completely antithetical to the cookie cutter pop stars of the world makes her seem just as contrived as the people she constantly lashes out at.
From Britney Spears calling her out for sending her flowers one day and thrashing her the very next years back to the way she made it seem as though Kanye West skinned her damned puppy with his bare hands in front of her – Pink can be really bitchy at times.
She sounded good last night and her performance was fine, but just so we’re clear Beyonce sings circles around Pink. Homecoming is over, Pink. You lost. Accept it and move on.
3. It was good to see Rihanna on stage accepting an award.
Last year was Rihanna’s year and it’s sad it was taken away from her. Fortunately, while this year wasn’t as big for her as last year it was good to see her back a year later in good spirits.
See how nice I sound? And I bet you were expecting me to throw an eclipse her way.
4. Michael Jackson Can Outsing You Dead
The tribute was nice and Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson sounded lovely, but that performance reminded me of just how good a vocalist Michael was. I was never a huge fan of “Earth Song,” but he sounds amazing on it. Bless Usher’s heart for trying to hit those high notes.
When he got down to the ground as if he was doing something in my mind I imagined that was simply Michael kicking him.
I still felt it, though.
5. Leave Disabled People Alone
I am still confused by Jamie Foxx’s performance last night, but I do know talking about people with disabilities is not the business. It’s actually a good way to get a stamp and wrist band for the VIP section of Club Eighth Circle. That’s the hottest spot in Downtown Hell for those who aren’t up on game.
6. I Appreciate Country Music Artists
They provide great bathroom breaks.
7. The Grammys still don’t respect hip-hop.
No offense to Stephen Colbert, whom I love, but best comedy album can be presented on-air (which is very rare), but best rap album can’t?
As for Drake/Eminem/Lil’ Wayne’s performance, it could best be described with three words: Beep, beep, beep.
Damn, FCC. Why so serious?
8. Ciara is relentless.
I see this girl will not rest until everyone calls her a fashion icon and sex symbol. Can someone hurry up and tell a white lie so she can go back to doing what made her popular?
9. Lady GaGa was wronged.
Not robbed because she did kick off the show with her long lost aunt and did win two hours, but I didn’t like the fact that GaGa didn’t accept an award on television. She was a main draw to the show so I think it made sense for them to make sure she’d get a chance to win something while the show was airing. They’ve done it countless times in recent years so why not do it for her?
I loved her showing up to the show as Judy Jetson. Look and learn, Ciara.
10. Taylor Swift wants your award…and will get it.
How in the hell did she win Album of the Year? Better yet, how sad is it that they kick off the presentation of the award noting that ten years prior Carlos Santana won the same award ten years prior before handing it to Taylor Swift?
That girl is nice (although I’m over the whole “I’m so shocked I’m still winning every damn award” thing), but I’m just surprised that she’s managed to become as much a critical success as a commercial one.
Before you even say it again, I don’t think Kanye has much to do with it. Yes, he got a large percentage of black people to learn her name and the sympathy of people with every other hue, but she was already slaying the competition in sales so that can’t be it.
You all are so fixated on Beyonce, Jay-Z, and Rihanna kicking it with the demon down under that you might have missed out on the real conspiracy.
When I wrote my review for I Am…Sasha Fierce, I pointed out how skeptical I was about Beyonce’s sincerity over how much she really opened up with her third solo offering, writing:
That’s why no matter how many times she calls it the “most personal album she’s ever done,” I Am…Sasha Fierce is nothing more than a continuation of the same format used to create her solid debut album and even stronger sophomore offering. Try as she might to parade her catchy and often clever songs as something innovative, her sound is usually a representation of what’s hot at the time – only executed better.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but the methodology won’t get Beyonce the respect she wants. Neither will it make the schmaltzy acoustic-driven ballads found on the first half of her double concept album seem any less impersonal than they are.
And last night I find out she nets an Album of the Year nomination for my least favorite album of her collection. Along with nods for Record and Song of the Year, therein getting the respect she wants.
I anticipated the American Music Awards to be an entertaining show given the lengthy list of performers. But, anyone who’s been watching award shoes all decade should know that’s usually nothing more than a set up. Most award shows that don’t feature a performance from Queen Creole usually suck. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Still, you can learn a few lessons from last nite’s show…and I’d much rather focus on those than write about every single boring performance shown last nite.
1. Know When To Hold ‘Em, Know When To Fold ‘Em
Although she hadn’t danced that hard since the Wayans family signed her checks, J.Lo busting her ass while performing a song rejected by Brandy is a sign that maybe it’s time to for her to reconnect with the film world. She’s still in shape, she can still dance, but really, “I’m throwing on my LOU BAH TONS. I’m throwing on my LOU BAH TONS.” I vote no, and apparently so did the shoe that led to her falling on her ass.
P.S. Dear broadcasters, there is no point in trying to edit things out when in the world of instant YouTube recap videos.
2. Some People Will Never Have It
I swear you could bring out Jesus to cover Chris Brown’s portion of the “Umbrella” remix and Rihanna would still find a way to kill the excitement of the performance. To her credit, on the new album she sings with more confidence and judging by her stage attire is still very confident with herself aesthetically. But unless you’re on a pole, in some editorial pages or someone’s bed chances aesthetic beauty only entertains for so much. There are slight improvements, but just not enough yet. It’s been years now. The songs are there but memorable performances are not. When is she going to step it up?
3. You Don’t Have To Sell Ass To Get Asses Out of Seats
Mary J. Blige has never sounded better and she didn’t need all of the theatrics to give a decent performance.
4. But Don’t Trip, If You Shake Ass Correctly It Still Works
I know Damita Jo is in her 40s and last nite’s performance doesn’t move you the way she did a decade prior, but she still did alright and she’s still embarrassing people twenty years her junior. I don’t know if I should be proud about that or start planning a vigil for the recording industry. Better yet, I might just pray for Janet. I know she’s tired of performing these same set of songs. I didn’t need to watch eight minutes of hits to know she hasn’t had a hit in eight years.
5. If You Can’t Dance, Don’t…Please
This means you, Alicia Keys. I don’t know why she’s so adamant about two-stepping and body rolling. She’s not particularly good at either. I’m not even saying that to be mean (no really, not this time). I just don’t find it necessary to see Alicia and her girls dancing like Ciara on a brick wall to a ballad. Hasn’t Mashonda suffered enough?
6. Crazy People Rule The World
Lady GaGa may seem like the type to use WiteOut as her own personal hot sauce, but as long as she can sing and entertain, happy sniffing.
7. Black People, Like White People, Need To Get Over Themselves
I get irritated as hell when those from paler pastures act as if no person exists until they realize who they are. Likewise, I’on particularly care for it when my cousins in colored do the same thing. As for Taylor Swift winning Artist of The Year, yeah, I wouldn’t have given it to her either but based on all that she’s accomplished this year it makes sense. I first learned about Taylor because I wanted to know who the hell was this random girl outselling Beyonce and Britney last year. Then I figured out that she was some teen country star who basically makes more money in an hour than I doall year (for now anyway).
Kanye West brought her to you all’s attention, but look at it like this: Why did Kanye get mad again? Because he beat out Beyonce for an award. The VMAs, like the AMAs, are now voter driven so evidently, plenty of people already knew she was alive.
And with respect to Michael Jackson, what new album did he come out with this year again? I’m not even sure he would want all of these posthumous awards if they weren’t related to new product.
8. Actually, Some Gimmicks Do Get Old
We get it, Hov. We really do.
9. As You Get Older, You Start Becoming Confused
What is a Glorina? When did Shakira become the Columbian Creole? And as far as Adam Lambert goes: Why?
10. Most Artists Really Suck Now
I think I answered my own question as to why Michael Jackson got nominated for artist of the year.
Now if you want a more detailed recap of the show, check my Twitter timeline. Make note of the contributions from Mama Sinick.