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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The official demise of the MTV Video Music Awards

Britney Spears opened the 2007 VMA's on Sunday night, showing more skin than respect for the show, stumbling across the stage and completely disconnected from the audience. This was no surprise for me, as I've come to expect that her career has been over for a long time. If the pathetic display she put on was her idea of a comeback, she's lost touch with reality in a big way.

I read recent articles on MTV in which the president called Sunday's show a reinvention of the Video Music Awards. Obviously she put a lot more faith in Ms. Spears as she should have because Britney's performance set the tone for the entire evening. Nothing can save this production anymore, as it has deflated itself over the years by relying on cheap comedy and lackluster acts to keep viewers tuned in.

I think back to the early 90's when groups like Pearl Jam were hungry to get noticed and gave jaw-dropping performances to keep the show noteworthy. I used to hook up my stereo to the TV and hear everything in stereo sound, shaking the walls around me before home theater systems were a common purchase. I saw Pearl Jam perform "Animal" for the first time on the 1993 VMA show and that is the performance that started my eternal love for that group. They're not the only group who kept the show going over the years though. For many years, the VMA's were like the hip crowd's answer to the Grammy awards, providing plenty of water cooler chat, from Madonna writhing on the floor during "Like A Virgin" to the kiss heard 'round the world between herself and Britney and then with Christina Aguilera.

Several rock acts got huge career boosts after performing on the VMA's, such as the aforementioned Pearl Jam along with Linkin Park, Foo Fighters, Blink 182 (who performed "All The Small Things" surrounded by little people), The Vines, and semi-regular performers the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

In the last few years, rock has all but been removed from the VMA tradition, in favor of hip hop and pop acts who boast more bling and stage presence than talent or artistic merit.

Everyone knows that the VMA's are more about popularity than anything, as the Grammys are the true decider of which acts had the best music from an artistic standpoint. However, hip hop has become a facet of even the Grammy awards, starting back in '88 when Will Smith took the first Grammy award for a rap album, under his "Fresh Prince" persona. Since then, rappers have been receiving honors for their music for years, and sometimes deservedly.

Eminem was up for best rap album and album of the year for "The Marshall Mathers LP" in 2001. While he took home the best rap album Grammy, he was passed over for the album of the year in favor of Steely Dan's "Two Against Nature" which was their first offering of new music in 20 years.

Forgive my sidetrack to the Grammys, back to the VMA's..........

I watched Britney fall on her face (metaphorically speaking) and felt bad for her but at the same time the dark side of me was taking it all in with a smile. Here is a woman who was the pop princess 5 years back, with MTV bowing down to her incessantly. She left the spotlight to raise two kids, or have her nanny raise them, and has lost touch with her audience. People have forgotten about Britney the pop icon, and labeled her Britney the horrible mother.

Rather than give it her all and come out on stage ready to prove herself as worthy of our attention, she gave us her best "deer in the headlight" look as she tried to dance and made no effort in trying to even look like she was singing.

Kanye West has come to her defense, citing that MTV exploited her knowing that she was not ready to return to the stage, in a desperate pull for ratings. West has recently expressed discontent with the network, being that he was told to perform from a suite while many other acts took the main stage. Kanye has never been shy about speaking his mind and says that his "Stronger" should have opened the show as it was meant for stadiums. Kanye is currently in an album sales battle with 50 Cent, who vowed to stop recording solo albums if Kanye's new album "Graduation" outsells his newest album, "Curtis" which were both released on 9/11 of this year.
Early sales numbers show that 50 might have to hang up his mic, if he is a man of his word.

In other VMA news, Pam Anderson's exes, Kid Rock and Tommy Lee were involved in a heated exchange which was broken up. I have no idea what it was about, but I'm sure it will prove to be riveting, as those two always have such intelligent things to say.

This is what the VMA's have become basically, nothing more than a vehicle for backstage antics and lackluster performances by talent of yesterday who are have overstayed their welcome time in the spotlight. I'm guessing next year, Van Halen will open the show with their current reunion lineup, sans original bassist Michael Anthony in favor of Wolfgang Van Halen (son of guitarist Eddie). I figure that performance will set the tone for another show that everyone wonders why they bothered to watch, which has been the trend for at least 5 years now.


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