10 Shards: All about the VMAs

Last night was the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. If you ever saw my old blog, 10kdays, then you know that I am very big on music videos. MTV hasn’t had many music videos on lately (except for weekday mornings) but I was feeling nostalgic and decided to watch the festivities. Here are ten thoughts about the 2010 VMAs:

1. Video of the Year

Let me start at the top with the big win for Lady Gaga. For what its worth, the video deserved the win. But let’s look at the competition. Most people have no clue about the video for Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over” and I feel like it was just put on the ballot to make MTV look like it has a shred of relevance. Then there’s the Eminem “Not Afraid” video. It’s a good song but it’s not a great video. Same thing with the “Airplanes” video from B.o.B. & Hayley Williams. These are only a step above the generic performance video thanks to flying Eminem and some colored lights. There was not a lot of music video creativity on display. This year’s field was thin in the biggest category in comparison to other years.

2. Breakthrough Video

Why is this category treated like crap? Look at some of the past winners: “Losing My Religion” (REM), “Tonight, Tonight” by Smashing Pumpkins, “Virtual Insanity” by Jamiroquai, “All is Full of Love” by Bjork,  “Fell in Love with a Girl” by the White Stripes, “The Scientist” by Coldplay. This category has always been a great place for awarding creativity. Now, I may not be enthralled by the Black Keys’ “Tighten Up” video, it’s cute, but they deserved to get some recognition for winning this award. They got nothing.

3. The Video Vanguard Award.

This hasn’t been given out since 2006 and last night was no different. This night was so focused on the spectacle that the music videos took a giant step back. Couldn’t MTV have forgone the drab Linkin Park performance of “The Catalyst” and taken a minute to give some kudos to someone like Samuel Bayer, Devo or Michel Gondry?

4- Hayley Williams

EW may have called this a bore (yet they loved the Linkin Park) but I enjoyed her performance at the VMAs. It was a medley of B.o.B.’s “Nothin’ on You”, B.o.B.’s “Airplanes” and Paramore’s “The Only Exception”. There was a great moment in the medley to transition between the last two songs. They dropped out the music and allowed Williams a brief moment of a capella, which was great in the midst of a world of autotune and lipsynch. In fact, I should also give some respect too…

5. Florence and the Machine

90% of the crowd had no bloody clue who Florence Welch was. She hasn’t got a huge following in the US. She’s had a few top ten hits in the UK but that MTV VMA crowd was probably scratching their head when she came out and started performing on a spinning lazy susan. But she left with a lot of new fans because she showed that she has a tremendous voice.

6. Kayne & Taylor

The subplot of the whole show was the aftermath of last year’s show. Sadly, they didn’t just do a collaboration. I was looking forward to more Taylor rap (“I knit sweaters, yo!”). Both came out and did their own song related to the incident. Taylor did well by playing barefoot, slathering on the minor chords and taking small jabs at Kayne (“32 years old and still growing up”). The song came off a bit like a rape survivor forgiving the rapist for being mentally ill, but it was enjoyable. Kanye West’s song was basically “Sorry, I’m a douchebag.” It was a fun little song because sing-alongs with curses are often fun (see: Mumford & Sons- “Little Lion Man” or Cee-Lo Green- “Fuck You”). The thing that killed me about Kanye’s performance was his li’l Trigger Finger Drum Machine which he played like an 11-year-old just learning what tricks it can do. He basically killed Pusha-T’s part by going “Oooh, look at what I can do with this button”.


He makes the party.

7. Deadmau5

I enjoyed after the DJ with the large alien Mickey Mouse head spinning throughout the show. but they kept doing this weird thing where performances would end and they would seamlessly cut to someone performing with Deadmau5.  It was very jarring to have Florence + The Machine finish only to have Travie McCoy spontaneously break into a rendition of “Billionaire”.

8.  Twitter

It was interesting to see how much MTV pushed the whole twitter aspect of the event, repeatedly reporting on which parts of the event had earned the most tweets. I must say that inspired me to see what people were saying on Twitter as the show went on and it was quite amusing at times. People love hearing other people’s reactions to things. It’s why you’re reading my blog. It’s why we have watercooler talks. Twitter was full of that last night.

9. Chelsea Handler

Russell Brand is a hilarious standup comedian. He was a terrible MTV VMA host. Much the same here. I don’t know what it is about the job but it’s set up for failure. Maybe they should go back to the Miami No Host VMA style. Or not. Those sucked as well. There has to be a solution.

10. The Professional Awards

The most heinous crime of the night in my eyes was the professional awards. These were the awards for direction, choreography, sfx, art direction, editing, and cinematography. They put them on the show. They even got True Blood cast members to present them. The problem was, they announced the winning videos BUT didn’t say who did the work! For instance, Bad Romance won for best director but they never named the director. WTF!

Congrats to Francis Lawrence who won Best Direction for Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”. He’s a great music video director, having done videos for Britney Spears, P.O.D., Aerosmith, Janet Jackson, P!nk, Justin Timberlake and others (as well as the movie “Constantine” which I enjoy). This was his first win.


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