Monday, August 25, 2014

vmas: ladies' night

MTV is not even close to being the arbiter of what's hot in music or pop culture anymore, but it still puts on a pretty good awards show. Maybe because the emphasis is in the right place, as the show was definitely more about the performances than the awards. Does anyone, except the moon man recipient, really care about who wins what or who was nominated? It's all just a chance for musicians to party and dress up and maybe come up with a fun number that people will talk about the next day. And it was all about the ladies last night. And Sam Smith.

Sam Smith gave the best performance of the night with "Stay With Me" at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards.

The kid fell asleep before even one of her idols, Taylor Swift, turned up in an early performance. She was was lots of fun, channeling Hollywood musicals crossed with a goofy Carol Burnett Show skit. She also missed her other heart throbs of the moment, 5 Seconds of Summer, who were (strangely) the only band that played. I don't really remember the song, but she can check it out on YouTube and see what she missed. She, like I imagine most teeny boppers these days, loves the other everywhere-you-look pop product of the moment, Ariana Grande. I try to be nice, but I can't stand listening to her. She doesn't really dance, and the faux '60s go-go girl look isn't even Austin Powers fun. I also can't understand a word she sings — I'm just not a fan.

Last night's show had plenty of water cooler moments, most of them provided by the omnipresent Nicki Minaj. She was on hand for "Bang Bang," Jessie J's song which features blips by Minaj and yes, Ariana Grande. Their performance was a bit weird, with Nicki fighting an obvious wardrobe malfunction, holding her dress together — probably a busted zipper or something similar due to her quick change from her previous "Anaconda" number, which was predictably tasteless and riveting to watch. Minaj also turned up later in the evening in Usher's performance. He was certainly working hard, singing, dancing, playing guitar, on the less-than-memorable song — even bumping up to Nicki's formidable butt.

All hail Beyonce

There were a few quieter moments that caught my attention. Common referencing Ferguson before introducing an award. A very restrained Miley Cyrus who was accompanied by a young homeless kid who graciously accepted her award for video of the year for "Wrecking Ball." One of the most powerful moments of the night came from an ad that ran a slideshow of celebrities — many of them in attendance — smoking — and urging them to not continue to promote their habit via selfies.

The big closer of the night was a tour-de-force performance by a radiant Beyoncé, who was the recipient of the Video Vanguard award. It is undeniable that Beyonce is an amazing performer. It was also sweet and rumor-crushing to see her receive her award from her "beloved" Jay Z and daughter Blue Ivy. Congrats all around.


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