Friday, September 01, 2006

Thoughts On The 2006 MTV Video Music Awards

Back in NYC for the first time in years, the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards featured Jack Black as host, fans voting in the major categories for the first time, and no major surprises. Still, it was a lot better than last year.

-I enjoyed Jack Black as host of this year's show. His opening, in which everything went wrong, was hilarious. While much of his antics were pretty much Jack Black being Jack Black (along with a running storyline involving his Tenacious D partner Kyle Gass), it was pretty fun. Hell, anything that could keep Diddy or Dane Cook from hosting the show would be great. Oh, and seeing Justin Timberlake building shelves in Jack Black's dressing room is easily one of the funniest things I've ever seen on the VMA's.

-It was certainly an interesting idea to have The Raconteurs be the show's “house band.” I wished I actually liked their music, though.

-The performances were pretty decent for the most part, although most of them were lacking the spark they should have had. When the biggest guest stars to appear during performances are a guy from ZZ Top, Lou Reed, Jim Jamursch, and The Pussycat Dolls, things must be pretty bad.

I liked Beyonce's over-the-top performance of “Ring The Alarm.” From the sudden start to the Janet/Michael Jackson-esque dance and the finale on top of a rising platform, it was good stuff. I think some may hate on it, though. Let's face it...she will never top that BET Awards “Crazy In Love” performance, so get over it.

I also really liked Christina Aguilera's anti-VMA performance. Instead of doing “Ain't No Other Man” or one of the many upbeat tracks from Back To Basics, she does a ballad. That made it stand out among a sea of uptempo performances.

The single funniest performance, though, had to be Missy during the Hype Williams tribute. Dressed in the black plastic suit of her video for “The Rain” and stuffed into a Power Wheels Escalade, Missy already looked funny. However, I cracked up when the Power Wheels broke down and Timbaland had to push her off the stage. And I cracked up AGAIN when she couldn't even get herself out of that damn toy.

-Speaking of Hype Williams, I think he deserved that Video Vanguard award although it's probably five years too late. His best videos are creative, stylish, and memorable. I can count his collaborations with Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliott as some of my all-time favorite videos. At the same time, many of his videos helped continue hip-hop's objectification of women. Ultimately, though, the best thing Hype Williams did is help pave the way for directors such as Chris Robinson, Little X, and Bryan Barber to pick up where he left off.

-I don't think Paris Hilton can go anywhere without being the butt of at least a few jokes. Sarah Silverman's “message” to Paris was a slickly vicious slam at her. Pink managed to get a few laughs out of me (and a smile out of Nicole Richie) when she did her best Paris impression while accepting her award for the Paris/Lindsay-bashing song “Stupid Girls.”

-Many of the headlines I've read online about the VMA's mentioned that many winners were “upsets.” Let me just say that that's the biggest load of crap I've read. I think everyone forgot that MTV allowed fans to vote for everything online but the technical categories. Fans never vote for the best artist or the best song...they always vote for the most popular. So, it really should be no surprise that “My Humps” would win for Best Hip-Hop Video. That song was incredibly and inexplicably popular. As for Panic! At The Disco winning Video Of The Year? Same deal. That group is more popular among MTV fans right now than any of the other nominees. If MTV lets the fans vote every year, the same thing will happen. Whatever is most popular in the time closest to the VMA's will pretty much win every category, quality be damned.

-Whose idea was it to close the show with The Killers? Don't let them near next year's VMA's.

Overall, this year's show was better than last year's. My expectations weren't very high for this year's show, so a little improvement is good enough for me. It may be asking too much for MTV to at least fake spontaneity next year.

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