Monday, August 29, 2011

Award Show No-Nos

I guess you could say I'm a glutton for punishment. I sat through last night's VMAs without changing the channel once.

Award shows have always captivated me: from the red carpet interviews to the judging of outfits to the spontaneous moments that can only occur on (time-delayed) live TV. But, this has got to be the absolute worst year for award show fans. First the general ehhh-ness of the Grammys, then James Franco's bizarre I'm-tired-from-working-too-many-jobs/I-smoked-up-too-much-backstage hosting of the Oscars and now the 2011 VMAs mess, which will forever be known as an awkward snoozefest.

This year, MTV decided to forgo paying someone to host the Video Music Awards. It seems the channel also forgot to pay writers to script the show. Kevin Hart's opening rant on being passed over as host was uncomfortable, the presenter banter was painful (Jonah Hill, everyone?) and the skits were confusing. I thought I could count on Will Ferrell, Seth Rogen and Jack Black to revive the night, but their Beastie Boys impression was oddly unfunny. Why oh why was there not an actual dance-off? Afraid to wake up the napping masses?

The worst offender by far was Lady Gaga. Dressed as her male alter ego, Jo Calderone, she managed to single-handedly turn the VMAs into a creepshow. I don't think anyone was confused that she was embodying a male character, but she felt the need to continually explain that she was supposed to be a guy and not "Lady" Gaga. Honestly, nothing Gaga does at this point surprises anyone. The audience could not have been less impressed by her Quasimodo-meets-West Side Story interpretation of masculinity. It was overly theatrical and in the end, just felt like she was beating a dead horse. Britney Spears was so unattracted by her behavior she couldn't bring herself to kiss Gaga during her award acceptance.

Cringe-inducing is the best term to describe what was hyped to be an epic showcase. The only good thing about the night was Adele. Her bare-bones performance not only murdered the other ones, but it exposed the other musicians as frauds who needed to hide behind laser light shows and costume gimmicks. The Amy Winehouse tribute was a nice touch, but Bruno Mars? Eww, couldn't they find anyone more fitting?

MTV as usual demonstrated its lack of interest in promoting musicians by awarding campy show boaters like Katy Perry instead of Adele. In the words of MTV's sole focus these days - the Jersey Shore - someone pulled a robbery. By the standards of this year's show - and let's face it, MTV's disinterest in music video as programming - Adele should be glad she didn't win any of the major awards.

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