Earlier in the day Adam Levine Tweeted, “the VMA’s, one day a year when MTV pretends to still care about music. I’m drawing a line in the sand. fuck you VMA’s.
Lady Gaga as Joe Calderone and Brian May perform 'You and I' on stage during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards. Photo by Getty Images
Well did the VMA’s prove him wrong? MTV definitely packed more music within its pre – show as well as the main event, but many were not convinced.
Here’s how it went down in chronological order:
9 p.m.: Lady Gaga kicked off the VMAs by critiquing herself in the guise of her male Jo Calderone persona, a kind of 50s greaser dude who claims to have dated her.
Lady Gaga as Joe Calderone performing 'You and I' on stage during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles. Photo by Getty Images
We wondered last week how she could go weirder than a meat dress or showing up in an egg, and we guess she sort of did. She won over the traditional rock types by performing with May.
Dave Grohl looked psyched. Britney Spears, who went on to receive a special award and the first prize of the night, looked confused.
Britney Spears accepts the award for Best Pop Video at the 2011 VMAs Photo: Kevin Mazur/ WireImage
Also read: Lady Gaga at VMAs: 7 Ways She Can Still Shock Us
9:10: Comedian Kevin followed her performance, explaining that while he was bringing up the first nominations, he wasn’t the host, because the show didn’t have one. He said Oprah Winfrey had called him to host and got one of his only laughs for describing Winfrey using a naughty word.
9:23: Jay-Z and West — making his semi-triumphant return to the VMAs — perform “Otis” from their new “Watch the Throne” collaboration. It never really takes off because the song doesn’t work. It’s a boring loop with no beat, and Otis Redding, being dead, doesn’t get to do his best work. Kanye, Jay and Otis Redding:
9:27: Foo Fighters win best rock video. There has not been a Foo Fighters video on MTV in 37 years.
9:36: Will Ferrell, Jack Black and John C. Reilly reprise their roles as the Beastie Boys from that one video. Ferrell thinks the Beastie Boys pronounce the future “the futah,” but they’re actually petty good about not adopting fake rappy accents. Aside: I don’t quit get this. In 1986 it would make sense to imagine the Beaties growing up to look like Ferrell, Black and Reilly, but don’t the Beasties look a lot better despite being older? Checking everyone’s ages now. Apologies in advance if I’m wrong.
9:41: The Beastie Boys and the dude’s playing them are all in their mid-40s. Seriously I don’t get this joke.
9:48: Katy Perry and Kanye West win an award, and she makes a joke about him interrupting. He doesn’t. And so the awards remain boring.
10 p.m.: Adele beats every other performer at the VMAs with a giant stick. She seems not to understand that the theme of tonight’s show is phoning it in. Lovely.
10:12: Justin Bieber accepts award wearing not very intellectual looking glasses. He ups the ante by thanking not only God but Jesus. That’s on some Elvis-type ish right there.
10:18: Chris Brown embraces the time-travel-or-whatever-it-is theme by doing a dance medley of mostly other people’s songs, including Wu Tang Clan’s “Protect Ya Neck” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The VMAs become vaguely fun. Then he starts flying, which is fine. He starts off in front of bars, which might be a grim commentary on his violent past. Or they just looked cool.
10:28: Gaga presents Spears the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award in her Calderone suit. She says Brit-Brit used to influence her when she would play open mics in New York, presumably referring to Britney’s folk years. She also says she used to have a poster of Britney on her wall and touch herself. Sexual tension thus established, she stands around expectedly when Britney takes the stage, but a kiss is not to be. “I’ve done that already,” Spears explains.
Oh, we almost forgot: As if to taunt everyone who claimed about Britney’s outfits when she was 16, the VMAs fill the stage with prepubescent girls dressed up in Spears’ various sultry costumes. Check back tomorrow for our outraged parents story.
10:30: Beyonce, who announced her pregnancy on the red carpet, sings a buoyantly happy song. Her hair looks amazing, the dance steps are cute and pregnancy-approved, and her and her backup singers outfits are straight out of “The Five Heartbeats.” We defy you to say anything bad about it. No, seriously, don’t.
10:40: MTV pretends to care about heart and stuff with an obligatory appearance by local-band- made-good Young Giant.
10:55: Chloris Leachman and the “Jersey Shore” ladies do a little routine about how she’s not a grenade and no one her age knows who they are and oh my God people of all ages can say bad words on TV.
10:59: Lady Gaga accepts an awards and says “you were born this way” whether your’re gay, straight, bi or transgendered. It’s a nice moment.
11:06: Russell Brand doesn’t sugar coat it in a memorial to Amy Winehouse. He says he thought of her as “a daft dopey person” and couldn’t believe when he heard her voice “coming from that crazy person. A person that I just knew that would walk away stinking of the booze. Just a loopy loose cannon person.” Then he realized she was “a genius.” He says “there is a solution” to people who suffer from drug and alcohol abuse.
11:10: Tony Bennett compares Winehouse to Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday, as did Brand. Then he plays one of her recordings from March — a duet they did together — and she sounds amazing. Devastating.
More to come…