Adam Levine, lead singer of Maroon 5, recently tweeted, “the VMA’s. one day a year when MTV pretends to still care about music. I’m drawing a line in the sand. f**k you VMA’s.”
Music is not what MTV is about anymore, and this year’s Video Music Awards proved Levine is right, MTV is a joke when it comes to music.
The night started out with a bang with Lady Gaga, in drag as her alter ego Jo Calderone, puffing away on a cigarette and complaining about Gaga in character before going into “You and I.” The performance ended with her singing and dancing with similarly dressed guys and an appearance by Brian May of Queen on guitar. It was bizarre, but one of her more demure performances in recent memory.
Gaga was a rare highlight during an otherwise dull show, her appearances as Jo Calderone often stealing the spotlight.
Other show stealers included British singer Jesse J who, as part of the house band for the night, often sang VMA winners’ songs better than the winners themselves, and Adele, with her toned down performance of “Someone Like You.”
Gaga came back still in character as her alter ego Jo Calderone to introduce a tribute to Britney Spears which recreated some of the dances from her most famous music videos before presenting her with the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award, the VMA’s lifetime achievement award. Gaga tried to recreate the notorious Britney/Madonna kiss from the 2003 VMA’s but did not succeed, creating one of the most awkward moments of the night.
Adding to the absurdity of the night was a pregnancy announcement. An unusually conservatively dressed Beyoncé, who kicked off her performance of “Love on Top” announcing, “I want you to feel the love that’s growing inside me.” She ended the performance rubbing her baby bump as the cameras cut to her husband Jay-Z and good friend Kanye West cheering about her announcement in the audience.
Lil Wayne closed the show, performing shirtless, boxers to the wind. His performance of “How to Love” and “John” were heavily censored and hard to understand, partially due to the censoring and partially due to his heavy use of auto tune.
If nothing else, the VMA’s proved how much of a joke MTV has become.