Monday, August 29, 2005

Thoughts On The 2005 MTV Video Music Awards

Another MTV Video Music Awards show has come and gone and while I think it was better than last year's host-free show, this year's show proved that it isn't the must-see event it once was.

-The pre-show wasn't that bad and one creative idea gave me a little hope. MTV put a genuinely creative (and literal) spin on award show arrivals with the "showbox." Some stars arrived in their cars and drove up a ramp and onto a large turntable. They would exit the vehicle and talk to an MTV News reporter while the turntable spun and showed off the celebrity's ride. There were some nice cars to be seen. However, a lot of stars drove up in the same type of car...a customized vintage convertible, whether it was a lowrider or not. Artists like The Game, Ludacris, Nelly, and Snoop Dogg all arrived in cars like these. Green Day arrived in the car from their videos for "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" and "Holiday." My favorite arrival, though, belonged to My Chemical Romance. They showed up in the back of an armored truck.

-I knew the show wasn't going to be the best when the show opened up with Green Day doing "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams." This isn't a slam at Green Day. The performance was pretty good. It's just that it seemed like an unusual choice to start the show. Why didn't they start with a more upbeat song? Why couldn't Green Day have started with some of "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" and then have gone into something like "American Idiot" or "Holiday"? The pyrotechnics seemed like some way to try to make the opening more energetic.

-I noticed that most of the celebrities in the audience didn't exactly look all that amused by Diddy's antics as host. They probably had issues with just how obsessed with himself Diddy was throughout the show. There was the ridiculously overdramatic entrance, the silly dance off with Omarion that included a "blink-and-you'll-miss-him" appearance by Miami's own Uncle Luke, the half-hearted tribute to The Notorious B.I.G. with Diddy "directing" an orchestra playing over some of Biggie's verses, and the "explanation" of why he changed his name to Diddy. I did like when he pledged to give $100,000 each to the charities of the two winners of his Fashion Challenge. For once, he did something that wasn't completely about glorifying himself.

-Didn't Bishop Don "Magic" Juan look like he'd had a Maury show makeover when he came out in normal, non-pimp clothing? Didn't it also make you realize how anonymous he'd be if he didn't wear his flashy, colorful clothing? And why was he holding and petting what looked like a cocker spaniel when he came out?

-Another interesting idea for this year's show was having Lil' Jon and Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda compose a score for the show. The beats the two of them crafted weren't that bad and it makes me wonder if this will start a trend. Will we see other popular producers and artists do this for next year's show? Will this lead to someone like Danny Elfman composing original music for the Academy Awards a few years down the road?

-The appearance of Beavis and Butt-head was definitely a highlight for me. Even though I knew that this appearance was mainly publicity for the upcoming Mike Judge Collection Volume 1 DVD, I was quite glad to see some new Beavis and Butt-head material.

-While it seemed like The Game/50 Cent feud had reached a cordial stage (What did The Game mean when he referred to a bunch of "meetings" during the preshow?), the Fat Joe/50 Cent one seemed to heat up again and culminated in the end of 50 Cent's performance. Will another round of diss songs result from this?

-One of my favorite performances of the night belonged to Ludacris. The appearance of African, Caribbean, and Brazilian dancers and performers made it stand out. It also highlighted the lack of surprise in the other performances. This was especially pathetic because of all the artists who were in the audience and did not perform. This included Gwen Stefani, Jay-Z, Destiny's Child, Alicia Keys, John Legend and Common just to name a few. There were so many possibilities that were wasted. Kanye West took the time during the pre-show to mention his G.O.O.D. Music family but none of them were onstage with him during his performance. There were no creative collaborations. I'd rather have seen Alicia Keys and John Legend perform together than have them introduce Kanye West. When some of the most surprising performances come from MC Hammer and Coldplay (with Chris Martin roaming the audience), the show is in trouble.

-Speaking of surprising performances, I don't know what to say about R. Kelly's performance of what is presumably "Trapped In The Closet (Chapter 6)." It looked like something you'd see at a very very bad speech tournament. Heaven help us if R. Kelly ever puts on a full-length one-man show. The director of the show tried to make it look better by attempting to cut whenever R. Kelly changed characters, but it didn't help things. I like the "Trapped In The Closet" songs, but I think R. Kelly should quit while he's ahead. I liked that we get to find out what happened to Chuck, Rufus, and Kathy after R. Kelly's character left in "Chapter 3," but this outing was confusing to listen to. Although I enjoyed this chapter, the conversation between these three characters was a little like listening to an auction caller.

-Overall, I was disappointed with this year's show. While it was better than last year's show (and there were some flashes of creativity), this year showed just how mediocre this show has become. I don't know if Hurricane Katrina put a damper on some of MTV's plans, but other awards shows are leapfrogging over the VMA's in terms of being fun, spontaneous, and entertaining. And if the VMA's are not fun, spontaneous, or entertaining, then there is no reason to watch them, let alone care about them.

No comments:

Post a Comment