Three More Thoughts on the VMAs


I wrote a fair amount about my reaction to Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards in a piece that went up on The Eagle’s web site yesterday (read it here!), so I’m not going to rehash my thoughts on the performances too much. I do have a few things to add, though!

1.) I said in the piece that it makes no sense to assemble Daft Punk, Pharrell and Nile Rodgers together onstage and then not ask them to perform “Get Lucky” for the first time ever, especially since MTV specifically stipulated in their contract with the mysterious French DJ’s that they had to reserve their one surprise performance for the VMA stage and not for Colbert’s Song of the Summer of the Century spectacular. Now that I think about it, it’s equally ridiculous to invite Pharrell onstage to a music awards show in 2013 and not ask him to demonstrate his summer-dominating prowess. I would have much preferred to see Pharrell bridging Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” to whatever Miley Cyrus thought she was doing with the Dork King of R&B and the consensus Song of the Summer. Why not get Nelly, Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, 2 Chainz and/or Azalea Banks in the mix to provide a tour through the many hits of Pharrell this summer? (Better yet, introduce him flanked by the minions of Despicable Me, for which he produced the soundtrack.) Excluding Pharrell from this watercooler platform is nothing short of a pop-culture crime.

2.) The Internet has been ablaze for the past few days about Miley Cyrus’ performance, which featured gigantic twerking teddy bears, a Robin Thicke crotch-grab and very little clothing. Honestly, though, I don’t think we would have been as bothered by the Miley of it all had she sung well. Whatever pop stars choose to do with their stage space is up to them. I don’t think Miley Cyrus has any particular responsibility to set a prim and proper for all of the impressionable young people out there any more than those children’s parents do for letting them watch this arguably objectionable television program in the first place. (That’s a choice for parents to make, though, not me.) But I did tune into the VMAs with some expectation that Miley would deliver a good musical performance and not just a baffling, arguably racist spectacle.

3.) Let’s not forget to accentuate the positive, though. By all accounts, this year’s VMAs was a solid affair! Justin Timberlake didn’t lose a single bit of his energy even after fifteen minutes of the most intricate choreography he’s displayed yet in 2013. NSync didn’t embarrass themselves. Bruno Mars managed to make me like a song (“Gorilla”) that I previously found a little skeevy. (It still is, but in a fun way, I think.) Katy Perry exemplified mass appeal and skillful pop. Kanye West got through an entire awards show without interrupting or irritating anyone! It was a pretty good night, all things considered.

(Notice that I wrote an entire VMA piece without discussing the actual award recipients at all. Justin Timberlake won some. Macklemore won some. One Direction won some. Taylor Swift won some. Yawn.)

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