Wednesday , September 30 2020
A Britney sweep? What the hell went on here tonight? What happened to my "anything can happen" VMAs?

TV Review: The 2008 MTV Video Music Awards

Last night I had the interesting experience of live-blogging a TV event for the very first time. On assignment for another website that I write for, I covered the MTV Video Music Awards as they happened live on the Internet.

The whole live-blogging thing was a lot of fun, but the show itself was not nearly the trainwreck I had hoped for once I heard Britney Spears was going to be there. After her disastrous performance at last year's VMAs, the very last place I expected to see her was back on the same stage one year later.

Yet, she was not only there — and looking surprisingly sane and normal at that — she was also the night's big winner, sweeping all three awards categories she was nominated in (best pop video, best female video, and video of the year).

This was a full-on love fest which all but ignored Britney's very high profile craziness of this past year, not to mention the fact that she doesn't sell near as many records as she used to. This wasn't just a case of all is forgiven, this was the freaking Britney show.

With the hope of another Britney disaster erased away in the show's first few minutes, there was still reason to continue watching, though. Kanye West, one year removed from vowing never to grace the VMAs again (after he failed to win any awards himself), was also back and scheduled to perform to close the show.

Since Kanye was again nominated this year in the hip hop category, and since the chances were better than good he would lose out again to the red hot Lil' Wayne (which he did), the possibility of another good little subplot loomed just as quickly as the Britney drama had played itself out with barely a whimper. Again, no such luck. Kanye not only closed the show without throwing another fit, but did so nearly an hour early.

What the hell was going on here tonight? What happened to my "anything can happen" VMAs?

The years of the VMAs being the most cutting edge show of the awards season are of course long gone. The days of Howard Stern presenting an award as "Fartman," and of Nirvana dissing other bands from the stage — both of which happened in 1992, the year I attended the show live with nominee Sir Mix A Lot — are but a memory now.

But at least you can still usually count on something like a Britney meltdown or Kid Rock beating somebody up. Not so this year. This year's VMAs didn't just play it safe, they also ran like such a well-oiled machine they ended about 45 minutes early. That's right, I didn't just say "on time," I actually said early.

Between awards, there were some decent performances. The best of these included the aforementioned Kid Rock doing his wonderful Skynyrd/Warren Zevon mashup "All Summer Long," and Christina Aguilera looking smoking hot in a sexy-ass, black, Catwoman sort of outfit.

There were also full performances by West, Paramore (a remote from the old Whiskey A Go-Go), The Jonas Brothers, and Lil' Wayne with Leona Lewis and T-Pain. Other performers were not so lucky, such as Katy Perry who was cut off about midway through a cover of Madonna's "Like A Virgin" to go to commercial. When they came back, she was finishing the other half of "I Kissed A Girl."

Host Russell Brand, who kind of looks like Weird Al on crack, cracked jokes about masturbation, dissed the Jonas Brothers and their wholesome lifestyle, and urged America to vote for Barack Obama, while confessing to a case of the hots for Sarah Palin. Some of it was funny. Most of it wasn't.

They also made sort of a big deal about the fact that this was the 25th anniversary of the VMAs, which I found kind of ironic on the occasion of this being hands down the tamest, and yes, the lamest, show they've ever done. Maybe it's time to just retire the damn thing and move on.

Here are your winners:

BEST MALE VIDEO
Chris Brown "With You"

BEST FEMALE VIDEO
Britney Spears "Piece of Me"

BEST DANCING IN A VIDEO
Pussycat Dolls "When I Grow Up"

BEST ROCK VIDEO
Linkin Park "Shadow of the Day"

BEST HIP-HOP VIDEO
Lil Wayne "Lollipop"

BEST POP VIDEO
Britney Spears "Piece of Me"

BEST NEW ARTIST
Tokio Hotel "Ready, Set, Go!"

VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Britney Spears "Piece of Me"

About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, Ultimate Classic Rock, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.

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