Kanye, GaGa and a Bit of D.C. -- VMAs Revisited

kanye west

I won't lie -- watching the MTV Video Music Awards is a painful, depressing, embarrassing experience. You know, sort of like watching a Redskins game. But at least the show leaves you with plenty to talk about. So here are five things that still resonate the morning after. To re-live the VMAs in real time you can always peruse our Twitter coverage from last night.

1) Kanye's Stage Crashing
It's always best to be skeptical in a situation like this. Was Kanye West taking the microphone out of Taylor Swift's hand as she was in the middle of her acceptance speech for Best Female Video a staged moment? Yes and no. Taylor Swift had no idea it was coming. But Kanye knew exactly what he was doing, exactly who he was doing it to and exactly the stage.

Kanye loves to be the villain. He relishes it. Maybe he wasn't feeling enough hate lately so he felt like changing that. There's nobody better to pick on than America's country-pop princess. He knew Swift would win that award just as surely as he knew she would win it partly because Beyonce would win video of the year for "Single Ladies." As awards-obsessed as West is, he knows these things. I guarantee it. So he picked his moment, early in the show, and did his thing, ensuring he'd be at the forefront of the media cycle for the next few days. The man is not a dummy. And he's probably not even that much of a jerk, but he sure wants you to think it is.

(More after the jump.)

kanye west

2) The Bizarre World of Lady GaGa
If it wasn't for Kanye's Dirt McGirt moment the big talk coming out of last night's show would have been something like, "Lady GaGa WTF?!?!" Her outfits went from outrageous to downright frightening, like a cross between "Eyes Wide Shut" and "The Blair Witch Project." (You can see when I stopped going to movies.) When Beyonce won Video of the Year, Lady GaGa almost stole the spotlight with her Hostess snowball beard-dress. I don't know what else to call it. Oh, and then there was her performance of "Paparazzi," clearly the most memorable performance of the evening, that ended with a fake-assassination and GaGa covered in fake blood while suspended from a meathook. Pink did a trapeze act later in the evening and it seemed trite by comparison. GaGa also won Best New Artist.

This was shaping up to be her big night if not for the spotlight being stolen by her future tourmate. Oh yeah, that. Kanye and GaGa will head out on the road together this fall. Kanye knew that this was going to be GaGa's big coming out party. Kanye doesn't want to be seen as the "other" act on his big tour. All part of the plan. Meanwhile, I am now extremely excited and equally terrified to be reviewing GaGa's show at Constitution Hall in a couple weeks.

3) Michael Jackson Tribute Letdown
There were basically four components to this tribute: 1) A long-winded speech from Madonna in which she made herself the focal point, 2) A medley of dances by non-famous people to a bunch of Michael's songs, 3) A little less than two minutes of Janet Jackson painfully lip-syncing and dancing her way through everyone's 72nd favorite Jackson song, 4) A preview for the cash-grab movie that will hit theaters next month. Enough already.

4) Radio City Lip-Sync Hall
It should be expected by now but it's still jarring to see almost every performance featuring lip-syncing. Janet Jackson, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Lady GaGa, Pink -- none of them were singing live. But there's such a huge expectation of spectacle from female performers now, so that's a secondary concern behind doing something "entertaining." Like perform in a subway or get fake assassinated or do a Cirque du Soleil thing or put on the most hypnotic display of gyrating in recent memory.

5) Little Bit of Local Love
Local go-go stalwarts UCB didn't get any mentions from host Russell Brand but at least Wale threw their name out there at one point. The Wale + UCB combo sounded mighty fine in their limited time. It was when the special guests joined them that things got bad. Particularly 3oh!3. It's well-established that Wale isn't afraid to collaborate with just about anyone and everyone but even he looked embarrassed when he was up there next to those idiots. And he also broke the news that his album "Attention Deficit" was pushed back yet again, from Oct. 20 to Nov. 3. Tentative, no doubt. Will you be able to play that album at your Thanksgiving gathering? 70/30, I'd say. Good job to Wale for representing the Curly W on MTV.

By David Malitz |  September 14, 2009; 11:00 AM ET Awards
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must be a racial thing. rap crap against country and western

Posted by: robertbeaver | September 14, 2009 11:20 AM

UCB were pretty good live at Vfest, but they were seriously impressive last night - even though I'm sure they knew what order they were getting the flavors of the month in, switching between that many styles isn't easy - agree they should have gotten more recognition.

Posted by: hannnah | September 14, 2009 11:51 AM

"but it's still jarring to see almost every performance featuring lip-syncing. Janet Jackson, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Lady GaGa, Pink -- none of them were singing live."

Was GaGa actually singing? I seem to recall a recent interview where she said she would never lip sync no matter what. And I thought she seemed to be actually singing.

Posted by: adbspam | September 14, 2009 12:36 PM

I'm pretty sure Pink was singing live. Unless she canned that track in rehersal with all that heavy breathing, then she was definitely live. Taylor Swift was also definitely live after the first part of her performance (pre-recorded to appear live in the subway). She was out of tune, as she's known to be in concert when she was singing on top of the taxicab.

I'm not completely sure, but I think Janet was live too, because the first half of her vocal it sounded COMPLETELY different from the original track, despite containing the same backing track from the single.

You need to get a little better at spotting lipsyncing Mr. Malitz. I don't have any love for the performers from last night's show, but you have to give most of them credit for singing live.

Posted by: Russtinator | September 14, 2009 1:10 PM

Wu Tang is for the kids

Posted by: agl132 | September 14, 2009 1:17 PM

It sounded like Lady Ga Ga did sing. You could also hear in Pink's voice that she was probably singing too. Taylor Swift didn't in the subway (couldn't pick up the mic?), but it sounded like she was when she was on top of the cab.

Beyonce didn't even try. She would randomly just stop moving her lips as she was dancing, and we could still magically hear the lyrics!

Posted by: MzFitz | September 14, 2009 2:28 PM

Lady Gaga DID sing live. 100%. Yes, she is that good. I LOVED her performance! So interesting and surprising.

Pink sang live as well. She has been doing that act in her international tour for months now, so she has a lot of practice singing upside down. Yes, she is that good too!

Posted by: chandler02 | September 14, 2009 4:14 PM

Yet I'm sure that if someone had taken, not the correct word, stolen, ripped, snatched a microphone out of Biances or any black singer, especially a fragile small, what 19 year old?, then this page would be filled with rants of prejudicism and how F-ed up things were. I don't see one bad word towards Kanye.
What's wrong with you people, as long as something that we all know isn't right, but if it happens to a white person u all look the other way. G-D 4bid ANYONE say or do something against or goes in the direction that a black person wouldn't like. RACISIM!!!, can not a person of a minority be just as ignorant as a white person. Was Kanye's actions not so disrespectful, and scary towards a little 19 year old, but know one says a thing. How typical.
If there are rules shouldn't we all be expected to follow them? If we're to act and treat others with certain amounts of respect doesn't that fall toward everyone behaving that way?
I'm sure Biance's video is great, but that doesn't give Kanye the right to snatch the mic away from this, what I be sure was terriefied little girl excited about winning her first video award. they should ban those actions and Kanye from ever appearing again. PERIOD

Posted by: scottrobins | September 15, 2009 3:38 PM

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