Saturday, September 06, 2008

2008 MTV Video Music Awards

The 25th MTV Video Music Awards are almost upon us again, and believe it or not, I'm actually quite excited about this year's show, even more so than last year.

Last year's exercise was held for the first time at Las Vegas, the City of Sin. Together with the change of location, they also re-jigged the format of the show. There was no host - Timbaland was the so-called "Maestro" of the show, who presumably was in charge of the musical direction and performances that night. But no one really knew what he was supposed to be doing.

They also split the performances up across different venues, with some taking place in the smaller "Fantasy Suites". Of course, Kanye West wasn't happy about it. Not only was he denied the chance to open the show, he was "relegated" to performing at the suites, which was occupied by fans and not the stars, who were in the main hall.  

But hey, the Foos also performed at the suites and they didn't complain about it. They played a mini-concert of sorts, playing around 9 songs altogether. If I were there to watch it as a fan, I would have been damn happy. But of course, this is the VMAs, not a concert. You want to perform for as large an audience as possible.

They also had several superfluous awards last year, eliminating 13 award categories in the process. There was the Quadruple Threat of the Year, Monster Single of the Year and Most Earthshattering Collaboration. really a whole load of crap. I pity those who won these awards. They must have been embarassed going onstage to receive them.

Whatever it is, last year's show reversed a downward trend in the ratings. It was partly due to the fact that train-wreck Britney was roped in at the last minute to open the show. And of course everyone remembers how that "comeback" performance turned out. 

And one year later, Britney's back at it again. The MTV execs know that she's a crowd-puller and they're right. After it was announced 2 days ago that she will be opening the show once more, interest in this year's VMAs have surged.

MTV being MTV, they're being really coy about Britney's role. They said that she will be "opening" the show but not performing, and it will be a surprise. There have also been reports that they're trying to get MJ to attend the show, but that has not been confirmed yet.

What I think will be really cool is if Britney will present the real Artist of the Millenium award to MJ this time. Like what happened in 2002, Britney was the first act of the show, and she went on to wish MJ a happy birthday. She also said that in her opinion, she considers MJ the Artist of the Millenium. 

Then MJ comes out and hugs Britney. In the meantime, some guy pushes out a birthday cake with a treble clef-shaped trophy on it. And MJ goes on to pick it up that cheap-looking trophy and says that he would never have dreamed of winning the Artist of the Millenium award. Problem was, there was nosuch award. 

Britney looked shocked, as did the other guests in the crowd. But what I find the most weird about this whole episode is that MJ came with prepared, as he pulled out a list of names of people to thank. I suspect that the MTV producers were trying to punk him and make him look bad. Either they didn't brief him properly, or MJ was being blur and misinterpreted their brief. But I don't think so.

You decide for yourselves here:

Anyway, that was 6 years ago, and this is the 25th anniversary of the show, and MJ recently celebrated his 50th birthday, so I think it is a special occasion and MJ should turn up for it. Like I said, what would be really cool is if Britney and MJ re-enact this episode but present him with a real award this time. It will also show that MJ does have a sense of humour, and it will be a great way to launch his comeback.

There have been other rumours that MJ will be presenting an award together with Janet. I think it will be even more cool if MJ were to perform Scream with Janet, as they have never performed the song live together before. And it will be great publicity for Janet too, as her Rock Witchu Tour kicks off in Vancouver just 3 days later.

But yeah, those are the unconfirmed stuff. What's confirmed is that this year's show will have a host, and his name is Russell Brand. Russell Who?, you might ask, but that's the whole point. I'm so glad it's not some Maestro shit again, or for the upteenth time, Chris Rock, or even Mike Myers, who turned in a really unfunny stint at this year's MTV Movie Awards.

Russell Brand is British for a start, and he is anything but Russell Bland. Not sure if you have caught the 3 promo clips he shot with Britney, plus the elephant behind, but it's pretty funny banter.

If you find him familiar, it's because he's currently on our big screens here, appearing in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I saw the press conference he did yesterday, where it was conducted in a backlot of the Paramount studios (where this year's VMAs is hosted), and it's pretty darn funny. He brings his British humour with him and it's a a great change for once. I can'r wait to see what he will do, if he's even going to perform an opening skit like they used to do in the past years.

Actually I'm not too excited about this year's performers and nominees. The nominees are voted by the fans this year, unlike in the past years, where they were decided by the industry "professionals". Most probably it's just a group of 4 MTV execs sitting down and coming up with the list, but at least the list they come up with is more credible than this year's.

When you put it at the hands of the public, whichever artist has more fans will benefit. As a result, you have some really appalling choices for the categories.

For the most prestigous category, Video of the Year, we have Chris Brown's Forever, The Jonas Brothers' Burnin' Up, PCD's When I Grow Up, Britney's Piece Of Me and The Ting Tings' Shut Up And Let Me Go. Hands up who remembers any of the videos?

Out of that list, I can only recall PCD and Britney's videos. The Jonas Brothers? Come on! It's an insult to this category. Last year's winner was Rihanna's Umbrella, which you would have to admit, was a pretty special piece of work. I really can't see any of these 5 videos being remembered as a classic 10 years down the road.

And of course I'm very disappointed that Janet's Feedback video wasn't nominated for Best Dancing in a Video. I thought that it was a great dance video, where there is actually dancing in it. Even Madonna got nominated for 4 Minutes, and there was so little dancing in it. What crap. And they renamed this category to Best Dancing in a Video. What was wrong with Best Dance Video?

As for the performers list, I'm none too excited about most of them. Jonas Brothers were the first to be announced as performers. Oh man... Besides them, we'll be getting Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Lupe Fiasco, T.I., Pink, Kid Rock, Lil' Wayne, Katy Perry, Paramore, T-Pain, The Ting Tings and Kanye West.

Rihanna has had a big year and frankly speaking, I'm getting a little sick of her already. She's super over-exposed right now. I think I'm only really excited to see 2 acts - Katy Perry and Kanye West.

Katy perry is the next big thing and I can't wait to see if she lives up to the hype. Kanye West is always a joy to watch. He's a true innovator, and his talent is as big as his ego. If you missed his superb performance at this year's Grammy Awards, you can relive it here:

The VMAs have always been about unexpected moments and great performances. Hope this year's show will not disappoint me, and that it will be much better than last year's show. 

MTV Asia will be having a same day telecast (great!), the best thing we can get to a live telecast. Be sure to catch it on 8 September, Monday, 9:30pm. MTV Asia is on StarHub Channel 20. 

Just for old times' sake, I'm going to predict the winners, even though I don't really give a hoot about who wins this year. Of course, these are not who I think deserve to win but rather, who will win. Here are my picks for the fan categories:

Video of the Year
Britney Spears - Piece Of Me

Best Male Video
Chris Brown - With You

Best Female Video
Katy Perry - I Kissed A Girl

Best New Artist
Katy Perry - I Kissed A Girl

Best Pop Video
Jonas Brother - Burnin' Up

Best Rock Video
Paramore - Crushcrushcrush

Best Hip-Hop Video
Lil' Wayne ft Static Major - Lollipop

Best Dancing In A Video
Chris Brown - Forever


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