Yes, the big hype surrounding the 2007 Video Music Awards was the fact that Britney Spears--a woman who'd made VMA history multiple times in the past by performing with an albino snake, tongue-wrestling onstage with Madonna, and somehow inadvertently giving Michael Jackson an "Artist Of The Millennium" award--would be kicking off this year's Vegas ceremony with a performance of her new single, "Gimme More."
More like gimme less, thank you very much.
Seriously, what the eff was that? Worse lip-synching than SNL-era Ashlee Simpson, clodfooted and seemingly drunken "dance" moves that in no way reflected the hours of rehearsal time she'd reportedly logged at the Millennium Dance Studio, a flabby physique that looked like it'd undergone only three minutes of its prescribed 8-Minute Abs routine, utterly confused/disappointed expressions on the famous faces of spectators like 50 Cent and Chris Brown (too bad the cameras didn't cut to Justin Timberlake's surely priceless reaction)...honestly, Kevin Federline could have done a better job opening the VMAs.
So OK, Britney's career is pretty much officially kaput (Sarah Silverman even said so in her opening monologue, and that woman's never wrong); meanwhile, artists whose careers are still hotter than Vegas asphalt, like Kanye West, Fall Out Boy, Justin & Fiddy, and Foo Fighters, had their completely credible, completely un-lip-synched performances pre-empted to make time for Taco Bell and Chevy ad spots. Britney got four minutes, but Kanye got like 45 seconds? Boo!!!
Apparently the programming geniuses at MTV (probably the same ones who eradicated nearly all actual music from "Music Television" to make room for more episodes of The Hills) are convinced that viewers have the attention spans of ADD-afflicted gnats and are therefore incapable of sitting through even a three-minute performance without breaking out in hives. This is dang frustrating, and just flat-out uncool.
C'mon, think back to past classic VMA performances...how would viewers have felt if a commercial or some insipid VJ commentary had broken in just when Madonna started writhing on the floor in her wedding gown, Richie Sambora started out-belting Jon Bon Jovi, or Krist Novoselic's airborne bass guitar landed smack on his skull?
They would have been P.O.'d then, just like viewers were unquestionably P.O.'d tonight when Cee-Lo and Serj Tankian's rawkin', Foo Fighters-backed respective covers of "Darling Nikki" and "Holiday In Cambodia" got cut off. Or how about when Rihanna started jumping on the bed in Fall Out Boy's party suite--wouldn't we all liked to have seen more of that?
Yes, all of these party-suite performance teases sent us lowly viewers a clear and condescending message: The real action is happening not at the actual ceremony, but at the private, inaccessible V.I.P. parties behind the velvet ropes. Basically, MTV was telling its own loyal viewers that they weren't cool enough to really see what's going on in the party suites. Nice way to alienate millions, MTV! Yep, great marketing strategy there.
Anyway, as for the actual AWARDS, which were doled out as afterthoughts during blink-and-miss-'em gaps between commercials and truncated performance clips, I can't argue with the results for the most part. After all, Rihanna's "Umbrella" was the Monster Single of 2007, and Beyonce & Shakira's "Beautiful Liar" was the Earthshattering Collaboration of the year (at least according to the VMA judges, who are obviously butt men).
Of course, it would've been rad if Justice's "D.A.N.C.E." had won Best Video, if only so there could have been a repeat of Kanye's bumrush at last year's MTV Europe Awards, when he protested Justice beating out his "Touch The Sky" video. A Kanye/Justice onstage rematch throwdown would've been right up there with other famous past VMA feuds like RuPaul versus Milton Berle, Madonna versus Courtney Love, and Eminem versus Triumph The Insult Comic Dog. Oh well. Tommy Lee and Kid Rock supposedly did get into some sort of skirmish in the audience, but of course the cameras conveniently failed to capture that Kodak moment. Lame!
It also would have been cool if Peter Bjorn & John (aka the Swedes behind that whistling song, "Young Folks") had won for Best New Artist, but let's face it, no one watching MTV these days knows who Peter, Bjorn, or John are. If you need some brushing up on PB&J, go to The 9 and check out the trio's VMA interview...along with a bunch of interviews with famous-er people of course.
Anyway, MTV is claiming this year the VMAs will be a "One Night Only" broadcast. (Which is a major change from the network's usual programming decision to rerun the ceremony in a constant loop for seemingly eight agonizing months.) Well, Britney and her handlers should be relieved about that, and that's fine by me too. I certainly don't need to see this show again. I've already deleted it from my TiVo.
And by the way, MTV execs, if you are by some miracle reading this...please heed the advice given by Best Male Artist winner Justin Timberlake in his acceptance speech: "Play more damn videos!"
PS: Muse's "Knights Of Cydonia" video should have been nominated for everything. Like, for Best R&B Video, Best Female Artist, EVERYTHING. Dude, it has a friggin' unicorn in it. And kung fu fighters. And space aliens. Can the same about be said about "Umbrella"? I rest my case.