August 30, 2005

Green Day Rock VMAS

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Everything was shiny: the moon man, the Atlantic, the suits. And the bling.

The VMA’s has adopted the city of Miami as its home. It was broadcast live Sunday night for the second year in a row in the Biscayne Bay area. It was one big party.

Despite promise of an “anything can happen night,” the show went smoothly with hardly – if any – antics or controversies. A couple of bleep-out words are to be expected, of course. That is, not during the actual show. Drama took place offstage and before the show. Hurricane Katrina forced MTV to make sudden changes with the show’s schedule and outdoor sets. Early that Sunday morning, rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight, founder of Death Row Records, was shot at Kanye West’s party at the Shore Club Hotel on Miami Beach. The injury is not life-threatening and no arrests have been made. There are speculations that he might have actually shot himself. One of the night’s “anything” was MC Hammer’s surprise performance – his ’90s hit, “Can’t Touch This.” The show went back in time later that evening in a tribute to the late Notorious B.I.G., featuring Diddy “conducting” an orchestra while Biggie’s video “Juicy” played on the arena screens. Snoop Dogg appeared to rap along a record for the song “Warning.”

Another remarkable moment was the prominent airtime granted to Latin performers. Shakira captivated the audience with perplexing pelvic maneuvers as she performed her single “La Tortura” with Alejandro Sanj. Regrettably, a notably short time (though “historical,” as introducer Fat Joe put it) was provided for reggaeton’s biggest stars, Don Omar, Tego Calderon and Daddy Yankee. All three were lumped into one segment, each occupying the stage for hardly a minute.

Green Day, who proved to be the big winner, opened the show with “Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Green Day’s performance was followed by the entrance of this year’s host, Diddy. The spectacle put him center stage in a white suit, surrounded by similarly-clad dancers, commanding pyrotechnics on stage a la Mickey Mouse in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

The evening’s performances offered a large sampling of mainstream music for this generation, including Ludacris, 50 Cent, Mariah Carey, Coldplay, the Killers and Kanye West with an admittedly impressive vocal performance from Jamie Foxx. The performances were performed both on the winding stages in the American Airlines Arena and outdoors with massive special effects that combined flames, fireworks and flooding.

The night’s entertainment came from the performance almost all of which were delivered exceptionally.

The evening’s fashion yielded hardly any wild attire. (Lil’ Kim showed up in a full dress.) Men showed up in neatly tailored suits, almost all of which were white or some pastel color. The most questionable fashion choices were made by women. Jessica Simpson, who presented an award with her younger sister Ashlee, looked like she was attacked by coyotes in an incomprehensible, bra-bearing, ruffled blouse-thing.

Eva Langoria took the stage with nothing on but a low-cut, flesh-colored bathing suit, who joked that she “wasn’t going to let a little hurricane keep me from wearing a bathing suit.” And Fergie from Black Eyed Peas looked more like Big Bird in her sunflower yellow, ruffled dress. The gimmicks came mostly from the biggest diva at the awards, Sir Diddy himself. He fought with the show’s performers and nominees for attention (people who actually release albums) for attention, going through an outfit change after every commercial break. Diddy designed the night’s antics, starting from the “white carpet” that welcomed the celebrities as opposed to the standard, emblematic red carpet. Another was the Diddy Fashion Challenge. He awarded a hundred thousand dollars to the charities of the best-dressed male and female at the show. The prize went to Snoop Dogg and Gwen Stefani.

The most memorable (only because it was so disturbing) was R. Kelly’s performance of his Part 6 of his soap-operatic saga, “Trapped in the Closet.” He lip-synched and heatedly acted out an encounter between a woman named Kathy, her husband Rufus and his boyfriend Chuck. R. Kelly contorted his face in every which way possible to dramatize his emotionally gripping lyrics: “Then Kathy says, ‘Rufus!’/Rufus says, ‘Kathy!’/Chuck says, ‘Rufus!’/Rufus says, ‘Chuck!’/Then Kathy grabs Rufus.” Those lines actually showed up more than once.

The night closed with Kelly Clarkson’s performance of “Since You’ve Been Gone.” The crowd was there. The energy was there. Unfortunately, her voice wasn’t. Clarkson struggled, screaming her song (which won for best pop video and best female video) while she was drenched in water. Green Day took home seven moon men (out of eight nominations), winning the ceremony’s top honor, Video of the Year for “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” The veteran rocker group also won for Best Group Video, Best Rock Video and Best Direction, Editing and Cinematography in a Video. The Killers won best new artist, beating out fellow newcomers from different genres, Ciara, The Game, John Legend and My Chemical Romance. Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson, Missy Elliot and Gorillaz all took two statues.

The Video Music Awards may not have the prestige – some scoff, self-importance – of neither the Oscars nor the Grammies; may not have the irony of the MTV movie awards; but it has the talent without the critical approval: less pretension, but of equally high glitz, not of the same class but just as posh. What’s left is a party.

Archived article by Whine Del Rosario
Sun Staff Writer