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Drama lacking at MTV's Video Music Awards

gagacherLady Gaga, Cher and lots of sheer material. (REUTERS/Mike Blake)

(Full photo gallery from Sunday night's VMAs.)

By Chris Richards

At the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, it was time to let bygones be bygones, and let insipid awards shows be insipid awards shows. Sunday’s ceremony in Los Angeles offered a handful of trophies that felt less meaningful than ever, as viewers held their breath for a potential act of contrition from Kanye West.

West, who infamously interrupted an acceptance speech by Taylor Swift at last year’s VMAs, closed the program by unveiling a new song where he both chastised himself and saluted himself in one strange swoop — the latest gesture in a career defined by inner conflict.

“You’ve been putting up with my [expletive] way too long,” he rapped, before launching into the tune’s puzzling refrain: “Let’s have a toast for the [expletive]s.” He continued, rattling off words unfit for this publication, but apparently no sweat for cable television.

Swift premiered a new tune of her own earlier in the night, its lyrics clearly directed at the rapper, and none of them naughty. “Thirty-two is still growing up,” the country-pop princess squeaked, wearing her most serious face. “Who you are is not what you did. You’re still an innocent.”

So all is forgiven? Everybody cool? On to the awards, then! Lady Gaga led the award nominations with 13 and took home a record 8, including Video of the Year, Best Pop Video and Best Female Video. When she accepted the latter clad in an Alexander McQueen frock and a mohawk of feathers, it was hard to tell whether she was getting verklempt or just talks as funny as she dresses.

Eminem took home the awards for Best Male Video and Best Hip-Hop Video, while 30 Seconds to Mars won for Best Rock Video.

But who cares, really? The draw of the VMAs is the wacky frisson of having pop’s A-list all squished into one auditorium and hoping they fight. Or make out. Or both.

But there was little smooching or feuding on Sunday, despite some nudging from the host. “I want to encourage everyone to be on their worst behavior,” comedian Chelsea Handler declared in her opening monologue, a string of flat punch lines that felt a few degrees below crass. Sample zinger: “It’s time to acknowledge the big black elephant in the room. Where’s Kanye?” Ugh.

The performances were a smidge more interesting. British newbie Florence + the Machine gave a compelling performance of her rousing, indie-flavored single “Dog Days Are Over.” Rap rookie Drake and R&B queen Mary J. Blige’s rendition of “Fancy” trumped an overcooked duet from rapper B.o.B. and Paramore singer Hayley Williams.

And of course, there was Bieber. The 16-year-old (first name Justin) performed outside of the Nokia Theatre, Theater, capping off a pop-locking performance with ..... a drum solo. As he flailed away inexplicably at a silver drum kit, a drumstick went flying from his hands.

But he didn’t go home empty-handed: He won the viewers’ choice award for Best New Artist.

By Chris Richards  |  September 13, 2010; 9:45 AM ET
Categories:  In today's Post , News  | Tags: Drake, Eminem, Florence and the Machine, Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, VMAs  
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Comments

Who ARE these people? Did Silvio Rodriguez win the Venceremos award? Lady Gaga, you all, is Gwen Stefani (remember her?) downsized ... needs implants and a nosejob, too.

Posted by: phvr38 | September 13, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Both Taylor Swiftless and Kanye South do have one thing in common that few people can deny. They both perform very different types of music yet the both have very little musical talent. A second thing they probably have in common is the both Must Have very very good managers and promoters. The kind that can sell ice on a 20 degree day.

Posted by: pt1836metz | September 13, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

These are awards for flashy videos. They aren't (they couldn't be, could they?) awards for actual musical artistic talent. What was with Cher's hair? Looks like a Halloween costume (okay, nothing new there).

Posted by: Sutter | September 13, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

"Pop's A-list"??? That's one pathetic list. Not surprising though, considering the sad state of "mainstream" music.

Posted by: rme465 | September 13, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Celebrating mediocrity is all the rage now. Talent is not required. Practice is irrelevant. Fame is fleeting. For these "artists" it will be at light speed.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 13, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

GA GA, I hope she is over. The meat "show" missed the point, if she was trying to make one and if she wasn't, it was disgusting. It made me sick. Enemem was cool when he didn't have to show up. Kanye, he was over, except to himself of course, before the Swift incident. Handler was too old to host, she has lost her edge since she snuggled up to Jay Leno and her bro'. Guess who will turn up as a guest host for the Tonite Show in the not to distant future. That's right, write it in the book you heard it here first. Maybe MTV is getting old, hmmmm... the bigger they are, the easier they are to replace. NEXT.

Posted by: paukune | September 13, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Thank you all! Thx to Mr. Richards for referring to Ms. Swift's voice as "squeaking." Thx to pt1836metz for recognizing that Ms. Swift is a product of zealous marketing by her family. And thx to all the rest for proposing the idea that possibly the latest rash of talentless "stars" may finally be fading. And, last but not least, to bobbo2: amen!!! From your lips ...

Posted by: nj11 | September 13, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Gypsies, tramps and thieves - Why didn't Cher sing it as an ironic comment on the whole event?

Posted by: BJSmithfromSweaburg | September 13, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Gee, Mr. Richards, maybe the show needed a little "Adam Lambert" to spice things up'
At least the guy can sing live.

Posted by: Mals | September 16, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

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