'Twilight' stars, Michael Jackson tributes and Kanye West does it again at the VMAs
Beyonce Knowles had plenty to smile about at the MTV Video Music Awards
Credit: Peter Kramer/AP
11:31: Some immediate post-show thoughts: It was a really fast-moving show, to MTV's credit. Russell Brand is a one-trick pony when it comes to jokes...sex, sex and more sex... to the point that it's insulting to the female artists he kept harping on, like Katie Perry, Lady Gaga and Beyonce. No great peformances, since in my mind, that actually means singing live, but there were three outstanding production numbers: Lady GaGa, Beyonce and Pink. However, all anyone is going to talk about is Kanye West, which is just the way he wants it. I wonder what would have happened if he had been slated to perform? I know they weren't nominated, but where were folks like Justin Timberlake and Black Eyed Peas or Miley Cyrus? MTV is all about marketing, but the "New Moon" trailer and "This is It" promo as part of the show's programming were a bit much.
What are your thoughts?
11:27: Now on to the clip of "This is It," the trailer for Michael Jackson's movie culled from the rehearsals for his tour. It's performance footage, but it's also clips from reheasal of him just hanging out or instructing the dancers. It's clear it was going to be an amazing spectacle. It opens Oct. 28. Russell Brand points out that Jermaine and Joe Jackson are in the audience. And we're out.
11: 23: Jay Z is performing now. MTV has followed his motorcade arriving as if he's royalty, which I guess he is. He's performing with Alicia Keys. Her piano line in the first verse sounds like it's taken from the Stylistics' "Love on a Two-Way Street." They're performing their love letter to New York, "Empire State of Mind." Really, really weak performance although Beyonce seems to be loving it in the way that only a spouse can. Lady GaGa looks like something out of horror movie in her white wrap-around headdress. It's a really nothing song.
11:11: Andy Samberg and Jimmy Fallon, looking like the biggest nerds in the place, imitating Boyz II Men, are presenting video of the year. Will Beyonce finally get a Moon Man tonight? Again, Kanye's name is greeted with boos when "Love Lockdown" is introduced. Beyonce wins. Let's see if she says anything to Taylor Swift--not that she's got anything to apologize for.
How classy is she? Beyonce just said she remembered being 17 at her first VMAs with Destiny's Child and it was one of the most exciting moments of her life and she's like for Taylor to come out and have her moment. Really really sweet, although I'm totally distracted by Lady GaGa's new outfit, which is a white bunch of feathers encasing her head. Really? She must have no peripheral vision. Taylor is now giving her thank you speech and Beyonce doesn't give one. I smell a duet coming in the future. Keep it classy, Beyonce. Nicely done, but I'm still pissed at Kanye. I can't imagine this is how his dear departed mother raised him to be.
11:00: Serena Williams comes out to introduce Pink and makes a joke about "stepping over the line." Too soon? Is this bad behaviour evening? Pink is now performing "Sober" while working through a complete trapeze act without a net (although she has on a harness). Wow. Really impressive, almost asimpressive as the fact that the pasty that she has on her body suit is staying in place despite the fact she's hanging upside down most of the time. Most impressive display of rocking stomach muscles for the night. She's clearly lipsyncing too, based on the amount of panting we heard during a musical interlude. Does it matter at all any more if people sing?
10:58: Lady Gaga wins best new artist. Her face is completely covered in the red lace get up I mentioned earlier. Remember the outfits Go Van Go or whomever they were wore to the Grammys a few years ago? This is basically the same thing. Oh good, she took off the mask. In a completely restrained and normal speech, she thanks the fans and then says this is for "God and the gaze." Huh? Oh... for the "gays." No that makes sense.
10:47: Jenny from the block is presenting best hip hop video. Word...Eminem's "We made You" wins. He's sporting very short hair. He looks great. He also points his Moon Man skyward and says "this one's for you Homey." I don't think he means Michael Jackson...cut to an outdoors shot of Jay Z's motorcade, which rivals Obama's... they've got to be kidding...
10:35: Gerard Butler just introduced Muse, who are performing "Uprising" in a Broadway theater down the road from Radio City Music Hall, and just happen to have a new album out Tuesday called "The Resistance." I dig them, especially, the song "Starlight," from their last album. Am I wrong, however, to think that Warner Music Group may have said, "We'll give you Madge if you put Muse on?"
10:40: Another stupid sketch with Tracy Morgan and Eminem ranting about how Morgan wants to be best new artist. Pointless
10:30: I'm loving this. Diddy just came out to introduce an award and he's talking about the lineage of rappers. He mentioned Kanye and the crowd start to boo and then started chanting "Taylor." I'm not a huge fan of Swift's music, but I've interviewed her a few times and I'm a tremendous fan of how she comports herself and how professional she is. I'm chanting "Taylor" in my apartment. Best male video goes to T.I.... he's in prison, right? This may be the first time that's ever happened. Looks like they don't get to do acceptance speeches from lock down.
10;20: Beyonce just came on to perform in a barely-there leotard looking amazing. She's whipping through "Single Ladies." She's holding a microphone but is not attemping to sing at all, just dance. Okay, she's talking every now and then, but basically, she's surrounded by tiers of "single ladies" in leotards going through an exhausting aerobic workout. Katy Perry just looked at her date and pointed to her ring finger... hmmm. Is there news to be had there?
10:15: Kristin Stewart, Rob Pattinson, Taylor Lautner come out to the biggest screams of the evening to introduce the extended trailer for "New Moon." I love that MTV has basically given "New Moon" completely free ad time. I feel like I'm watching "Entertainment Tonight." Is this MTV's way of admitting that they can't keep people watching, so they have to cede time to "New Moon" to keep viewers or just canny marketing? MTV Films co-produced "Twilight," so I imagine they have a piece of "New Moon" as well.
10:05: Green Day hits the stage, ripping through "East Jesus Nowhere." Don't test me...Billie Joe's now roaming the audience. I swear he looks like he's 12, despite the fact he's got a kid in high school. Oh, he's calling fans on stage. He totally disappears until they lift him up.
10:00 Oh my God. Now they're showing Lady Gaga in the audience dressed all in red lace, including in something covering her face. Russell just rambled about giving Megan Fox a pill because she's mental. Falls tremendously flat. He's just manic, not funny.
Now Nelly Furtado and Kristin Cavalleri are presenting best pop video. i'm so relieved Taylor Swift isn't nominated, for her sake. Furtado is announcing it in Spanish. It's Britney Spears for "Womanizer," who accepts via remote from her tour site. It's not looking like a great night for Beyonce...
9:47: Pete Wentz and Cobra Starship's Gabe Saporta introduce Lady GaGa. She's doing a medley of her hits and looking more and more like Barbara Stanwyck every day. "Love Game" went into "Paparazzi." As she's done several time before, she's reinventing the songs. This time as mid-tempo ballads. Out comes a girl in the "Paparazzi" wheelchair. Nice... Now she's at the piano, with one leg on the keys. Okay, now she's crying, as blood flows down her body.. fake blood. She's taking this way into Grand Guignol territory. Now she's ascending into heaven with blood smeared all over her. This is clearly her statement on fame. I didn't think she could shock me, yet she did..
9:37: Two Disney kids from Wizards of Waverly Place just came out. The little boy, who at way less than Kayne's age has double his common sense and manners, says "Give it up for Taylor Swift" before teasing to a taped performance piece of Swift performing "You Belong with Me" in a subway car. It's more of a video than a performance..... check that, it's completely a video. She's holding a mic, but she's lip syncing. Smart move and an unintended plus so she doesn't have to perform right after that debacle, but, and I want to go easy on Swift tonight, it also helps because she's not the best live singer.
Oh, now she's live...kind of proving my previous point, but I just want to salute her right now... I'm still so appalled by Kanye's actions.
9:32: "Do remember what we're celebrating is love," says Brand, as a way to diffuse the situation. Of course, he then goes into a joke about "having" both Beyonce and Taylor Swift. Out come Jack Black, in a fake body suit. he looks basically like an avatar, and Leighton Meester to present best rock video. Black is praying to Satan to give music artists continued success. I have a feeling that may be going over people's heads. Green Day wins for "21 Guns." Far from the best video in the lot, but they're riding a wave and I love them, so no complaint. Billie Joe just called on MTV to play more videos. That's so 1994.
9:22: Shakira and Taylor Lautner are presenting the first award. She looks great, but it's not that flattering an outfit. Lots of jokes plugging her song "She Wolf" fall flat. They're presenting best female video, one of the tightest races of the evening. Winner: Taylor Swift for 'You Belong With Me." That is a shock and finishes the coronation of her overall domination.
Kanye West just hopped on stage and grabs her mic and says he's going to let her finish her speech, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time. Nice. Not only is he a horrible loser when the envelope doesn't have his name, he's a horrible loser when someone else he supports loses. Really, really unbelievable. It's the Serena Williams moment of the VMAs. Just as tennis fined Willams today, West should be fined for unsportsmanlike conduct. Really, really repugnant and offensive in every single way.
Swift looks a little stunned, as people clap and show their support for Beyonce, but as Swift stands there looking aghast, the support turns into a standing ovation for Swift, who stands there for a few more seconds as the VMAs cut to a canned skit of Tracy Morgan rambling about best new artist. They sure as hell don't act rude like that at the CMAs. My heart goes out to Swift who will have to answer questions about this for months to come. Nice way to ruin her moment, Kanye. Asshole. I want to lock him and Joe Wilson in a room together.
9:19: First shot of Lady GaGa. Holy cow... she has some feathered contraption; some kind of Phantom of the Opera mark. Now he's going after the rumors that she's a hermaphrodite. She's laughing, but I doubt she's amused. It looks like Katy Perry got off easy when he make some joke to seeing her privates. He just got in a plug for health care reform. I'm beginning to love him.
9:14: Katy Perry is rocking out to "We Will Rock You," as Russell Brand appears on a rier. That would appear to be Joe perry goig the ferocious guitar solo. Brand is in a very tightly fitted black suit with a black top hat. Katy just grabbed her crotch and stuck out her tongue. Not a good look
9:12: Janet is dancing along with Jackson's video image to "Scream," which is really pretty cool. I think that must be so difficult for her emotionally and I give her credit. She's still mourning her brother. However, that tribute belonged much more to Madonna than it did to Janet. Don't know how I feel about that... kind of like Madonna bogarted Janet's moment...
9:10: We're up to "Scream," which means Janet is about to make her entrance.
9:06 p.m.: The tribute begins with Jackson's "Thriller" video playing on a huge screen as various MJ impersonator's from different eras in his career dance in front of the screen.
9 p.m.: So Madonna is introducing the Michael Jackson tribute. I don't know I've ever seen her in so many clothes. Wow, she's talking about how she lost her mother when she was so little, yet she thinks Jackson got "the short end of the stick" by not having a childhood. I don't know about that. I also don't know if I'd call Jackson a "hero," as she just did. Her speech, now about a dinner they had in 1991, is deeply personal and touching. She also refers to "the witchhunt," clearly a reference to the sexual molestation charges. Now she's seeking some kind of absolution since "most of us had turned our backs on him." Oh please. He was not a saint. He was one of the most talented performers of our generation, of any generation, whose death was tragic, but also, as with any addict, some of his own doing. This deification is stomach-churning. I go on the record declaring myself totally blameless in Michael Jackson's death.
8:55 p.m. E.T: The MTV Video Music Awards start in five minutes. We already know the opening will be a tribute to Michael Jackson, the icon who, in our mind, singlehandedly did more to make MTV the cultural force that it became.
The bigger question is how will this year's show unfold? Last year, British comedian Russell Brand, who returns this year, insulted the Jonas Bros. about their purity rings We'll see at whom he aims his slings and arrows tonight.
There are also some fierce battles shaping up between Lady GaGa, Beyonce and Britney, as well as between Eminem and Kanye West, the sorest loser ever. All we know is that Beyonce looked [sasha] FIERCE on the red carpet.