the stage is the tongue-pupil of your silver eye. get it?

It took almost 30 years for MTV to install a black carpet instead of the traditional red. Read that sentence again, because it may be the most interesting socio-historical fact you read all evening.

Going into the event, the #1 world trending Twitter topic is “#whatwillGagawear.” Last year, she wore the now-cured “meat dress,” the larger meaning of which was never made clear to me. This marks the ascendance of meaninglessness, a state which will persist on this blog for at least two, and probably three more miserable hours.

That’s your pre-show, here on WITW.

Lady Gaga opens the show, dressed in a Kim Kardashian skin suit.

Okay, not really, but that would be great, right? No, she’s dressed as her male alter-ego Joe Calderone who looks just like the Junior Goombas I grew up with on Smith Hill in Providence. There’s a pretty long monologue, which focuses on “how crazy” Gaga is and how unreal she is. “When she comes she covers her face,” and etc. Still in drag, she sings “You and I;” here’s the chorus:

You and I
You and I
You you and I
You you and I
You and I

You you and I
You you and I
You you and I

Even her greaser rocker schtick and pouring a Budweiser (C/TM) all over the audience doesn’t make this work for me. Sorry kids. But Ronnie from Jersey Shore definitely liked it.

Kevin Hart, lead in some movie I’ve never heard of, also using profanity, welcomes us to the show. He is explaining to us there is no host, although he would like to host. Then he does his monologue in possibly the most natural speech I’ve ever seen on one of these shows. Not memorized, not halting. He’s now my favorite person.

Nicki Minage and Jonah Hill who has clearly been running a lot. And so the monologue is about the question of whether Hill is funny now that he’s not fat. I’m doing that segment exactly the justice it deserves.

Here’s the award for Song that Defines the Pop Idiom At this Instant, otherwise known as the Independent Radio Promoter Award. Goes to Britney Spears, which defines the category exactly. The worst song, the biggest winner. YAY capitalism!

First, she’d like to thank god. Then her family. Mommy loves her babies. She loves Jason. And prescription drugs.

Video package with Wiz Kalifa. Joke with Lada Gaga hibernating in an egg. Rick Ross’s closed door, hiding him painting a water color. Somehow this has something to do with getting people to vote for Best New Artist, WHICH INCLUDES KRAEYSHAWN. I hope that means we’ll hear a white girl say “nigger” later, because that’s the only way we’re setting a new low for crass commercialism here.

First commercial

And the intro music suggests we’re getting Kanye and Jay Z. And there they are. MAN ON STAGE. Jay Z looked at him like he was nuts. Security ran him off pretty fast. There’s an American flag flying Kanye’s ass, which is otherwise dressed in 1980s hombre jean, and then this huge flag drops which may or may not have the Armani logo instead of stars. And it turns out the Otis sample at the front end was longer than the combined raps.

Sean White and Miley Cyrus, which sounds like good casting for a Herpes advertisement, to me. Anti-herpes, I mean. Best Rock Video. I don’t know why anyone runs against the Foo Fighters. For credibility, I guess. And they won. I wish you could see that I wrote that statement like 1 full minute before they won. They advertise “real rock” which is sort of a funny gap in his authenticity consciousness, and/or he’s become a real, idiotic rock star.

Second commercial.

I forgot to remind you we’ve been here before. 2010 edition can be found here. 2008 edition here.

Another package about voting. Joe Jonas, Rebecca Black dressed as a dinosaur making a “teach me how” joke about doing the dougie, a tutorial which Kraeyshawn jumps into. Actually cute.

“Beastie Boys of the future” take the stage, which are Jack Black, oh who cares…comedians. The real Odd Future takes the stage. They have a stupid exchange obviously written by Jack Black who does the WORST impression of a comedian I’ve seen in a while, and they introduce Best hip hop video. I love everyone except fucking Chris Brown, and that Nicki Minaj person, but especially Chris Brown who is basically a terrible person and I don’t care that you object that I don’t know him and so I can’t say that. I can and I will. Nicki Minaj doesn’t even have the best pink hair.

Third commercial.

This is what Pitbull looks like.

Demi Levato and Chord Overstreet. Tell me that’s his porn star name. Like, his gerbil was named Chord and he grew up on Overstreet Street? Road? Circle? Best Collaboration. Katie Perry and Kayne West. “Thank you to God and Katie Perry.” Jesus.

Rick Ross and Paul Rudd. They look exactly like that skateboarder and Big Black on that show. Pit Bull performance with Ne Yo, who I always wish was Bobby Brown, with Bobby Brown looking and acting like Ne Yo, if you know what I mean. And Pitbull? He’s already my used Acura dealer.

It hadn’t occurred to me earlier, but this song represents one of the few touchstones for Eastern European techno fans who find themselves trapped in a U.S. hotel watching the MTV video music awards. Except they need to transport themselves back about 10 years to 2001 state-of-the-art techno.

Fourth commercial.

Another video package, not worth further comment. Bring Rebecca Black back. Or put Kraeshawn in that dinosaur costume.

Katie Perry, dressed in a big, purple doily. Adele performance. I know you people love her. She does have amazing vocal control, and I love her tone, but I’d take Fiona Apple over this any day.  I do wish her the best though. She’s the real deal. She sings a ballad here, in a black dress, with just piano accompaniment. That’s high risk, folks. Imagine her ear piece shorts out and she can’t hear. Can’t hear herself, or the piano. Busted. She’s brave. On the down side: her nails fail grandma’s length requirement, and when rounded like that, palms extended upward, they look just a little bit like flesh claws. Flesh claws Gaga would envy.

Fifth commercial.

Kim Kardashian. In a Lady Gaga flesh suit. Kidding, kidding. She’s wearing a snake.

Best Male Video. The Biebs rocking TWO chains, some kind of brooch and black glasses. He is turning into my Grandmother. Oh, it is a YSL broach. Jesus gave that to him? I am a true fan of Jesus, just like you, Biebs.

Joe Jonas and Victoria somebody. Somebody–perhaps the only woman in Christendom–willing to intro Chris Rock. Who is on a Lady Susan in front of neon jail bars, WHICH IS WHERE HE SHOULD LIVE. In a crazy neon jail. That buzzes that neon buzz all night long. I was just about to compliment his dancing when I realized HE ALSO HAS A BROACH. This is great news. I worried my brooches would never come into style again. Now I just need to find some rap star to wear them. Or I could become the rap star. I was wondering why Brown wasn’t singing, but now I realize he’s doing a Land of A Thousand Dances thing otherwise known as This Belongs on You Tube.

Except that those wires on his shoulders just lifted him up in the Christ pose, and landed him on another stage. CHRIST POSE PEOPLE. We have a problem. (Also, I’m using all caps a lot because they keep cutting to Kayne’s reaction to things.)

Now he’s just flying around, so it’s more Matrix and less messianic.

LOLZ, the intro/outro singer just busted out a cover of Scrubs. LOLZ LADY HITTER FEEL HUMBLE.

Sixth commercial.

Lady Gaga intro-ing…and still dressed as the dude…Britney Spears’s totally incomprehensible Lifetime Achievement thingie do. Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. They’ve basically sped up a montage of her hits, and put 50 look-alikes on stage dancing for their lives. It looks as crazy as it must feel inside her head. Britney and Gaga had this incredible stand off where it looked like they were going to kiss, and should have. Brittany’s lip trembled real, real fast, which makes me thank god for the tight shot. But most of the time they’re talking about Beyonce and it becomes clear that they’re introing Beyonce, not having Britney give an acceptance speech.

Very, very strange. And what a missed opportunity. We could enforce some kind of industry standard, where successive pop divas need to make out, as a form of passing the torch or some kind of initiation. Fine, it’s a little patriarchical what with the “2 ladies 1 chart” thing, but also sort of nice, in the whole “girl power” thing, which translates these days in totally capitalist terms.

Unbeknownst to me, Beyonce has released a Commodores album. And decided to dress like them.

WOW–Beyonce’s PREGNANT. And just announced it by showing her baby bump. WOW. BABY.

Seventh commercial. With more placenta than the last.

Taylor Lautner and that other young Disney girl. Best New Artist. Tyler the Creator wins. Who is wearing a tie dyed shirt with–I think–the Cheshire Cat on it. All his dudes are just wearing regular shirts. Oh, it’s just a cat. Not a special cat, nor a fictional cat. Like, a photograph of a real cat. Oh, and close up on his mama, who is hyperventilating and has her “hail Jesus” hand up. And lest I forget–about 75 swear words in that thank you by Tyler, including the sentence that started, “And to all the kids.”

Jared Leto and that Zoe Salome lady I love. Whose real name I obviously don’t know, because I just made that up. Intro Young the Giant, whom you’ve never heard of, probably. But 250 of their fans from Irvine, California were flown out as stage props, so they will show you how to do it. Seems like you just need to jump with your hands up. Like, a California version of the pogo. I loved the pogo. What was funnier than bloody, sweaty punks jumping like that? Hilarious.

The secret to this Giant band seems to be the charisma and good looks of the lead singer. Tell the Foo Fighters that there’s still real rock and roll. The kind that’s just about guitars and getting laid. Because there’s really nothing else going on here. Jumping, guitars, sex. There it is. Except I don’t know this song, and I’ve just discovered there’s a low-tempo verse, and the lead singer has started a up-top body wave WHICH SUCKS as a crowd engagement strategy. Fuck the wave. Celine Dion shit. Give me funny pogo.

Eighth commercial.

Clores Leachman, J-Woww, Snookie, and Ronnie’s girlfriend. And guess who forgot to talk into their mike? And said they were DTF? Best Female Video. Have you ever mistakenly drunk out of a beer bottle that some smoker ashed into? That’s what the last minute resembled. Anyway…winner: Lady Gaga “Born This Way.” And UM KATIE PERRY has put a yellow block hat on. Lady Gaga is still dressed as a greaser and Perry is some kind of Dada Cheese Head.

I don’t think I’ve explained that this Joe character Gaga plays is always grinding his jaw, like a coke head. I don’t understand when greaser met coke. Oh, I also forgot to mention that I think Tony Bennett is Gaga’s date because he’s sitting next to her and has no apparent role in the proceedings.

Ninth commercial. I think my blood sugar just dropped.

Russell Brand is doing a tribute to Amy Winehouse, basically sharing his personal memory of meeting her. It’s a very sincere, economical, and touching statement. He reminds us that Amy had the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction, and that there is a cure for those of us who need it.  And he introduces Tony Bennett. Tony did a duet with Amy, as he explains, and then he shows some video of the recording. Next, Bruno Mars performs a version of “Valerie”, a really great song by Amy. A great song, and a great cover he takes in a doo-wop direction for one verse, chorus combination. It’s all so sad, really.

Tenth commercial.

Katie Holmes. How does this lady get booked for things? Video of the Year, no less. Katie Perry won, with her crazy Rubik’s cube one color hat. Simple, sweet, godless.

Drake intros LIL WAYNE OMG I LOVE LIL WAYNE TURN IT UP.

Okay, right off we’re on the wrong foot because he’s singing a ballad through a mic fixed with auto-tune or a delay or something it shouldn’t do. He just took off his glasses and I realized I don’t think I’ve seen his EYES before. Now he took off his shirt and it becomes clear that he stole his pants from a Hot Topic store. And he’s chosen a song where they’ve taken out every two words (because they’re profane) which makes for a totally awful listening experience. And him playing two chords on the rhythm guitar and smashing it to the ground doesn’t make me enjoy his performance more. That was a decidedly UNconvincing performance. Dude needs one of those reality shows where he tries to use his celebrity to intervene in the lives of kids. Like a rap scared straight. Like, “kids! you’ll have to drink this cough syrup until you pass out if you keep going like you are! then you’ll be my bitch! I’ll dress you in leggings and make you learn one guitar chord! Bitch! Bleep! Bleep! Get in line, Bleeper!”

And that was it. Over. That’s it. Our final reward for 2.5 hours of putting up with sequins, teenagers and lady beaters is Lil’ Wayne singing a ballad and then 2 minutes of soul deadening censor bleeping. That’s probably what I deserve for taking this on.

So, good night and good luck. I wish we had learned some kind of lesson tonight. Something important about art or fashion, or even–imagine!–about music or culture. But I only feel like going in the other room, eating a Fage yogurt and reading a porn star autobiography, if only to feel better about myself, the state of the world, and sincerity. Till next year, or the apocalypse, whichever comes first.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “the stage is the tongue-pupil of your silver eye. get it?

  1. I know you’ll come up with just the right remark about Beyonce. There’s something very not-right going on here but I can’t put my finger on it. Except that she should’ve put her hair up with this outfit- especially considering how windy it is in there.

  2. Oh, she’s pregnant. That explains…. no, never mind.

  3. Jenn Lena

    And how much baby there is.

  4. Jonathan Neufeld

    I don’t have a TV right now and I totally feel like I’m there.

  5. This indie-band-whatever-song is ridiculous and kind of hurting my ears.

  6. Jenn Lena

    Someone back me up on this pogo thing. Punks are funny, right?
    Jonathan: play some electric light orchestra, put on something sequined and look at a poster of New Kids on the Block. It’s just like that.

  7. Jonathan Neufeld

    That’s so weird. I was already doing that.

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