Last weekend entertainers flocked to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York for the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.
I’m always extremely excited for award shows of any kind; whether it be the Kids Choice Awards or the Golden Globes, you can find me parked in front of the TV. I’m intrigued by who’s wearing what (which I’m sure you could have guessed by now…), who’s nominated for what, and of course I’m interested in who’s actually winning each award.
Lady Gaga opened the VMAs with her new single “Applause.” The elaborate rendition of the song included several unique costume changes, a few wig switches and an ensemble of dancers to distract from and assist with those changes. While I get the feeling that many viewers disliked Lady Gaga’s performance, I actually found it incredibly enthralling. As in her past, Gaga continues to break down artistic boundaries while sending personal messages to the public.
Next up on the list of performers was Miley Cyrus. I’m sure by now you’ve all heard about her performance (if not, just click here). While I support Cyrus’ right to present herself in whatever way pleases her, I don’t think her provocative “dancing” (if you could even call it that) added any artistry to “We Can’t Stop” at all. I’d even go so far as to say that she ruined Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” during the duo’s live collaboration on the song.
To brighten up the show Jimmy Fallon took to the stage soon after to introduce his long time friend Justin Timberlake. Through Justin’s fifteen minute performance he proved that his dance skills, falsetto and sex appeal are as good as they’ve ever been – maybe even better.
Justin’s time on stage was surely a test of his endurance and showcased his undeniable talent. His time traveling medley included songs from his four full length albums Justified, Future Sex Love Sounds, The 20/20 Experience and his forthcoming The 20/20 Experience: 2 of 2.
But without a doubt the highlight of his showcase occurred when the four other members of N’Sync appeared from beneath the stage. Rumors had been circulating about the band’s reunion performance for days, but that didn’t stop my roommates and I from jumping off the couch and yelling in excitement when their silhouettes appeared on TV. We were so caught up in the excitement we probably missed about half of their mash up of “Girlfriend” and “Bye Bye Bye.”
Fallon returned to the stage at the end of Justin’s performance and ranted about how wonderful Justin is, before presenting him with a Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. This award is MTV’s version of a Lifetime Achievement Award, and is given to commend entertainers on their significant contributions to MTV culture. Justin thanked his family and friends – and even his N’Sync band mates, jokingly saying that though he’d share the award with them it was going to stay at his house.
Later Macklemore and Ryan Lewis followed up Justin’s performance with their single “Same Love” featuring singer and gay-rights activist Mary Lambert, and a surprise guest appearance by Jennifer Hudson. In a night that held several frivolous performances (I’m lookin’ at you, Miley Cyrus), Macklemore, Lewis, Lambert and Hudson voiced a relevant and important message to the audience.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis recieved two well deserved Moon Men that night – a Best Hip Hop Video award for “Can’t Hold Us,” as well as an award for Best Video With a Social Message for “Same Love.”
Among the other performers were Drake, Kanye West, and Katy Perry. Drake and Kanye West’s performances were fairly bland, and Katy’s wasn’t very thrilling either. She performed her new single “Roar” live for the first time at a special location – underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. While her staging was original, it would have been nice for the singer to show off more of her vocal abilities rather than her pseudo boxing moves and rope jumping talent.
On the other end of the spectrum, Bruno Mars wowed audiences with a stunning performance of his song “Gorillas.” Unlike Katy’s, Burno’s performance focused on his vocals and was only enhanced by the the laser-esque light show that was paired with it. After witnessing Bruno’s talents, he’s definitely on my list of artists to see live.
Earlier in the night Bruno accepted the Best Male Video Moon Man for “Treasure” (his first ever Moon Man!), which was presented to him by Taylor Swift. Taylor herself took home the Best Female Video Moon Man for “I Knew You Were Trouble” and her tour mate Austin Mahone went home with the Moon Man for Artist to Watch.
A genuinely surprised Selena Gomez graciously accepted the Best Pop Video Moon Man for “Come and Get It.” One Direction received the Best Song of the Summer Moon Man for “Best Song Ever.” The band thoughtfully brought Ben Winston up on stage with them to thank him for his work as their music video director.
And to no one’s surprise, Video Vanguard recipient Justin Timberlake also took home the Moon Man for Video of the Year for “Mirrors.” Justin made another touching speech about his award and dedicated it to his grandparents, who were the influence for the songs music video.
Though Justin, Bruno and Macklemore may have provided a few glimmers of entertainment hope at the 2013 VMAs, I’m hoping that the 2014 awards are better (way, way better) than this years.
Come on, MTV, you’ve got a year to get it together!