FearlessRiOT Retro Review: 2011 MTV Video Music Awards

FooFor the second year in a row, Kim Kardashian would be doing something on the VMA’s related to Justin Bieber. This year, it was handing him the Best Male Video award, in which his piano ballad “U Smile” somehow beat Cee-Lo’s “F*** You” and Eminem’s “Love The Way You Lie” to win. Nicki Minaj’s unforgettable “Super Bass” won Best Hip-Hop Video in a field that also included Busta Rhymes (I know “Look At Me Now” is a Chris Brown song, but Busta stole the show on it and I grant him custody), Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and one of my personal favorite Lil Wayne songs. Britney Spears won Best Pop Video and gave the same speech she always give away award shows. Katy Perry and Kanye West got a Best Collaboration moonman off of a song where they sing about alien sex. And The Foo Fighters ruled the Best Rock Video landscape that year with “Walk”, which toppled videos from Mumford & Sons, Foster the People, The Black Keys, and Cage The Elephant. For the record, if Foo Fighters didn’t win, I’d totally want it to go to Cage The Elephant. I really liked “Shake Me Down” at the time.

I have to doc points for 1) Not having a host and having Kevin Hart drive that point into the ground, 2) Having Britney Spears seem like the least important part of her own tribute, 3) Getting Pitbull to perform. However, the show’s redeeming qualities came from Beyoncé’s unforgettable reveal, Adele, Tyler’s speech, and the Amy Winehouse tribute. I appreciated GaGa’s commitment to thinking outside the box, especially since Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj both showed up clearly trying to out-weird her with their terrible costumes. But her staying in-character as Jo Calderone all night instead of just for the performance did get old after a bit. This show is probably more memorable than 2010 was, but that’s only in average territory. It’s disturbing that this is the case for so many ceremony so far. But that’s at least more modest than what I got to say tomorrow.

Coming tomorrow: 2012 MTV Video Music Awards.

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