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VMAs ceases to surprise its audience

September 2, 2011


Photo by Getty Images - Lady Gaga performs ‘You And I’ during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards dressed as Jo Calderone.

Lil’ Wayne’s pants are falling off, Lady Gaga’s rocking a five o’clock shadow, and Chris Brown is levitating over the stage. Sounds like a typical day at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs). Famous for being an eccentric and unpredictable awards ceremony, MTV continued its tradition of shocking moments and bleeped-out musical performances.

Although the evening was full of powerful performances, MTV saved the boldest for the beginning with yet another matchless presentation by Lady Gaga, himself. Decked out like John Travolta circa “Grease,” the fearless female belted out her latest single, “You and I” dressed as her male alter ego, Jo Calderone. What was most surprising about her performance? Gaga not arriving via space ship or giant egg. What was the least surprising? Gaga attempting to plant one on life-time achievement award recipient, Britney Spears, during her acceptance speech. 

But of course, just like any other awards show, the VMAs were ignited with a celebrity roast. Attempting to light up the crowd this year was up-and-coming comedian, Kevin Hart. Though some debated whether or not Hart was intended to be the evening’s host, one cannot doubt the absence of laughter during his monologue. Thankfully, the awkward silence was soon broken by mighty musicians, Jay-Z and Kanye West who teamed up with their fresh duet, Otis. Also flying above the radar-literally-was hip-hop singer and dancer, Chris Brown. Displaying an acrobatic routine to musical hits throughout the decades, Brown’s performance gave Cirque-du-Soleil a run for its money.

On a more somber note, entertainer Russell Brand presented a tribute to beloved friend and late singer, Amy Winehouse. In honor of her musical life, legendary artist Tony Bennett revealed footage of himself and Winehouse recording a rendition of Body and Soul for his latest album. Afterwards, Bruno Mars paid homage to the deceased vocalist with a performance of the Vuton’s hit, Valerie. Though heartbreaking, the upbeat musical number from Mars and enthusiastic dedication from Brand made the event a true celebration of life.

Speaking of celebrating life, Beyonce’s reveal of her new baby bump sparked joyous applause and cheering from audiences both at the VMAs and in my dorm room. Possibly the most genuinely adorable moment of the night occurred when the camera panned to Beyonce’s husband and “baby’s-daddy,” Jay-Z who’s grin grew wider than Kanye’s stretch hummer.

Wrapping up the night with best new artist winner, Tyler, The Creator, those who were actually aware this musician existed were probably stoked. For the other 80 percent of viewers who had never heard of him, some were left slightly underwhelmed. Whether or not his music was appreciated, his psychedelic kitten T-shirt left its own impression on people’s minds.

Regardless of being without a host, Lil’ Wayne kept the VMAs most hard working staff member in overtime this year. Bleep Man, cheers to you.

Jane Simkins
Features Editor

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