So on Sunday night, that famous (or infamous) show known as the VMAs took place on MTV. It’s sort of funny you know? At one time, MTV actually played true to its name – music television. Not that music videos aren’t broadcast at all, but for a network whose platform seemed to be based in music, it sure has changed over the years. Regardless, that’s besides the point, this is about the 2014 edition of the VMAs. Here we go!
Ariana Grande opened the VMAs with a performance of single “Break Free.” After finishing “Break Free,” the set segues to Nicki Minaj’s raunchy single, “Anaconda.” While “Anaconda” is toned down from the video (no coconut milk, bananas, or whipped cream), that’s not exactly saying much. There is still twerking and those provocative ‘leg exercises’ that definitely seem to be more sex-based than anything else. Oh and yes, the censors did some bleeping! By the way, there was no anaconda itself, thank God!
Predictably Expectedly, Jessie J followed up to kick off the superstar girl trio’s hit, “Bang Bang,” which appears as a bonus track on Grande’s new album, My Everything (the deluxe edition). The vocals from Jessie J and Grande definitely soared, though it was hard to decipher Nicki Minaj’s quick-paced rap. ‘Course, as any number of media outlets have been quick to cite, something was wrong with Minaj’s outfit – the infamous wardrobe malfunction. But the energy was definitely full throttle from the show’s opening showcase by all means.
Following the opener, Snoop Dogg and Gwen Stefani presented the winner of The Best female video. The victorious female was Katy Perry, with a little help from Juicy J on big-time hit “Dark Horse.” As always, Perry’s dress was interesting… She matched with Riff Raff… hmm.
Taylor Swift made her ‘pop’ debut with single “Shake it Off.” Again, energy and the visual component were the highlights of the performance. There were guys in tuxes, backing singers in outfits matching Swifts, and shaking (dancing). Sure, Swift isn’t the horrid live performer (vocally) she once was, but let’s not crown her as prodigious in that department either. But energy, visuals – definite pros!
The presentation of Best Male Video proceeded, won by Ed Sheeran. It is based on fan voting, so I’ll refrain from my opining that there was a more deserving winner. Regardless, Ed Sheeran’s “Sing” is great – no shade Ed, no shade!
After a Jay-Z impersonation by funny-man Jay Pharoah (SNL), and some “Chandelier” singing courtesy of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, Best Pop Video was awarded to Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea. Sure, it was a stacked category, but who can deny how big and how addictive “Problem” was? Kind of killed Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” vibes you might say.
Kim Kardashian ‘West’ (LOL) introduced Sam Smith, who performed his gargantuan hit, “Stay With Me.” Kim K’s dress was – well let’s just say she wasn’t ‘shy.’ But back to Smith… A moving and soulful performance, once more, Smith shows he can sing. But everyone already knew that!
Common spoke on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, speaking on the “powerful instrument” that is hip-hop. Common asked for a moment of silence for Mike Brown, which was definitely a classy touch. Afterwards, Common presented the Best Hip-Hop Video award to Drake for “Hold On (We’re Going Home).” Given the nominees, Drake’s victory seemed like a shoe-in, judging by the folks who likely voted. Again no shade.
Usher and Nicki Minaj would perform next, singing Usher’s latest single “She Came To Give It To You.” The song is enjoyable (particularly in a studio setting), but… We’ll leave it as an ellipsis. Lorde won the Best Rock Video award for “Royals.” She comes off as, um, a bit awkward – just saying. Also, is “Royals” really rock? But whatever, no one’s going to deny it’s a great song or rather great video. Moving on!
5 Seconds of Summer made the girls all scream on a performance of single “Amnesia.” Sure, that’s the track that they are currently promoting as a single, but who wouldn’t have rather heard “She Looks So Perfect?” The girls would’ve really squealed on that one – particularly the American Apparel underwear line.
Fifth Harmony went on to win the VMA for Artist to Watch with video “Miss Moving On” … again hmm. No love for Sam Smith – c’mon now!
Jennifer Lopez introduced Iggy Azalea, who performed current single “Black Widow,” featuring Rita Ora. J. Lo also threw in a self-plug for remixes of her “Booty” single. Jason Derulo and Demi Lovato would also take time to promote themselves, when introducing Maroon 5’s performance of “Maps.” You know, “Maps” is okay, but personally, it lacks the magic of Maroon 5’s best work.
Video of the year was awarded to Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball”. That said, Cyrus didn’t accept the award, but rather a formerly homeless teen did. It was selfless from an artist who lately has seemed to have lost her complete mind (if she ever had it to begin with).
But everyone knows the biggest moment of the night – the crème de la crème – was Mrs. Carter, point blank. Beyoncé performed “Mine,” though had to do it without the assist from Drake. She would switch up things, performing “Haunted” next. “Jealous” would also be incorporated into the extended medley, intact with neon lights. Then, that would segue into Yoncé’s naughty “Blow”. The set wouldn’t be complete without “Drunk in Love.” Kind of amazing MTV was okay with “swervin’ on that wood” or follow-up “Rocket.” ‘Course, wasn’t much for MTV to do at that point.
Of course, “Partition” was a must. The stripper poles were… hmm… no words. Then came “Flawless” and yes, Beyoncé went straight for the kill: “Bow down b*tches!” Oh, and there was something for Blue Ivy too – “Blue” that is. Beyoncé closed her showcase with the fan-celebrating “XO.” Jay-Z (with Blue Ivy) would present his wife with The Michael Jackson Vanguard award and the usually poised Beyoncé was rightfully emotional.
All in all, the VMAs were enjoyable. No, there was no girl-on-girl kisses or Lady Gaga in drag, but Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé brought enough ‘liveliness’ to the stage.