Last year’s MTV VMA Awards was a highly entertaining train wreck, one that potentially ruined Britney Spears’ career and gave birth to Chris Crocker’s — and MTV benefited big time by exclusively hosting the Gimme More video. So when MTV announced that Britney Spears would once again be returning to open the show, it became a must-watch event.
However, it turns out that when someone is “opening” the MTV Video Music Awards, it can mean anything. It can mean, like last year, fumbling through the worst performance of your career — or it can mean doing a pre-recorded sketch with Jonah Hill…
Before then standing on a stage and saying hello to all the folks back home.
Really, the entire evening was a brilliant case study in what a live awards show looks like when you take all the spontaneity out of it. Performers barely bothered to hide the fact they were lipsyncing, about five actual awards were given out, and only some 50 people could fit into the studio, which meant that even the best acts were met with tepid applause. Even Russell Brand’s fast and furious banter didn’t raise too many eyebrows — maybe because he was talking too fast for anyone to know exactly when he was making fun of the whole shebang.
The only moment that felt even slightly off-script was when Jordin Sparks, demonstrating a sad inability to understand irony, called out Russell Brand on his mockery of the Jonas Brothers’ promise rings. Of course, the way she put it was, “It’s not bad to wear a promise ring, because not everyone wants to be called a slut.” Great, thanks. Good to know what my two options are.
There were some decent performances, however — including when Kanye West closed the show with a mike, a broken heart, and a whole bunch of drums.
MTV clearly felt badly about the 2007 Britney Spears debacle — last year’s Gimme More performance is no longer available on the MTV website and Spears won three Moon Men last night. How many awards would it have taken for her to sing and dance? Hopefully, we’ll find out next year.