MTV VMAs 2012: Only Mostly Terrible This Time (PHOTO RECAP)

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29th MTV Video Music Awards

You know, I was a teenager once. Sure, I may LOOK like an old man who accidentally shared a teleporter pod with a baby giraffe (it just clip-clopped right inside!), but there was a time when I was not only a fresh-faced teen but I was also VERY into MTV. Like, watching it night and day. OBSESSED. This was back when you had to pay for the internet by the hour and it only came in like two colors, so yeah, I spent A LOT of time watching MTV instead. I loved basically everything about it—the music videos, spring break, The State, the reality shows, Simon Rex—but it was the annual VMA ceremony that was nothing short of an EVENT. Not only was it an expensive spectacle in which many of my favorite artists (who at the time only appeared on TV like twice a year) would arrive and be outrageous, but I genuinely cared about who won.

Now, common wisdom dictates that MTV simply isn't as good as it used to be (aside from its recent victories in the scripted programming department). At least that's what people my age tell ourselves to pretend we're totally cool with going the way of the buffalo. But is it actually true? Obviously the modern VMA ceremony is just a big parade of loud, ugly bullsh*t, but what if it's always been that way? What if the VMAs of our youth were ALSO loud, ugly bullsh*t? What if Fiona Apple's rant about everything being "bullsh*t" was, in itself, bullsh*t? Oh My G, things just got introspectively intense right now! But basically what I'm saying is, maybe we should stop misremembering things as being better than they were? At least One Direction dresses better *NSYNC! Not a single dreadlock anywhere!

That being said, this year's VMAs were terrible. Not all-the-way terrible, and nowhere near as terrible as last year's. But very terrible! If you missed the show, here's basically what happened:

To its credit, with this image MTV did warn us at the outset that this broadcast would be about as valuable as a tore-up sofa in the desert.

The show opened with Rihanna, who came out and "performed" a few songs, and the bizarre visual scheme of her performance was apparently "Anything, Whatever, I'm Tired." Seriously, between her lazy dance moves and the half-hearted lip syncing, I'm surprised she didn't just come out on a queen-sized bed eating a sandwich while dozing off. Next year!

Also a big theme for the night was how often the performers would just kind of amble out into the crowd at random times. Made for great TV!

Clearly Lil Wayne came PREPARED. I'm guessing he was listening to classic Bette Midler but I could be wrong, please don't quote me on that.

So, um. Kevin Hart hosted, and he came out with an entourage of little person bodyguards. Which, I get it, because Kevin Hart is tiny. But also: Little person bodyguards? Is this an '80s comedy?

Look, I like Kevin Hart, but maybe next year write some material? He sort of just came out and yammered about people in the headlines. KStew. Frank Ocean. Cool roasting jokes, guy. I DID laugh when he made fun of MTV for hiring Russell Brand to host TWICE. But not as loud as I laughed when I saw Ashley Rickards' new hairdo:

Man, I hope that's for a role. I really do. (Hey Matty! Hey Jake!)

Okay, I loved this part. Right after Kevin Hart let out this stream of obscenities (all were censored), the camera immediately cut to Taylor Swift and she was INTO IT:

America's favorite tiny-baby country singer is growing up, you guys!

So then Chyna came out and talked trash on everybody. Relax, Chyna. The award was for Best Pop Video, and obviously One Direction won.

I agreed with this guy.

Anyway, I don't hate One Direction. They are very dapper pre-teens! Also one time they told me that I don't know I'm beautiful and that's what makes me beautiful. At the time I was in a grocery store buying frosting because I was feeling sad. But yeah, anyway, One Direction, everybody.

Green Day's reaction to One Direction's speech marked the first time I've related to Green Day since 8th grade.

If you recall, last year's in-house band was Jessie J and her broken foot and so much screaming. Dreamy DJ Calvin Harris and his glowing screensaver-lookin' hut were a step up in my opinion! Credit where credit's due.

Throughout the night we were treated to pre-taped sketches involving Kevin Hart bugging people backstage. In this one he tried to get 2 Chainz to wear additional chains. It was hilarious and everyone passed away from laughing so hard.

Should Lady Gaga just become a full-on horror filmmaker? Because I would see this movie so much faster than I would buy her albums. (P.S. I questioned whether I would comment on the commercials, but then I realized that the VMAs is ALL commercials and I am still LOL-ing at myself for that and also the Kevin Hart sketch.)

A basketball player came out and bragged about being on "the lakers" whatever THAT is. The important thing was how adorable Kevin Hart looked by comparison. Just a tiny toddler baby! Guess who loved this juxtaposition also?

Oh, Weezy. He is a national treasure. Not as much a national treasure as National Treasure, the film. THAT is the ultimate national treasure. #USA

Where were you when you started to tolerate Miley Cyrus? For me it was when I saw her on YouTube covering "On Melancholy Hill" during a concert. But for others it was probably when she showed her UNCOVERED BACK in a fancy magazine. Or maybe it was this haircut? Or maybe when she snagged herself a Hemsworth. Or when her awful dad kinda disowned her? Or maybe never? Yeah, probably never, ya buncha grumps! I like her though. But if we're being real the best part about her is that she hides for 6-10 months a year. It's like that old saying, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder of Miley Cyrus."

Pink's performance involved synth drums, glowing human hearts, wire work, giant lips in garter belts, and a catchy Pink song or two. Not terrible! Still though, I got so annoyed when I saw this:

Ugh, parents who bring their babies to concerts are the worst. We get it, Alicia Keys, you've procreated. So have a hundred billion other people. Take that child home!

I honestly have very little idea who these people were. One of them is going to be a judge on The X Factor and has made a career out of going to rehab and cutting herself and then hiring people to write songs about it for her. The other one is possibly a Scream-era Rose McGowan. I don't know and will never know. They presented the award for Best Male Performer, but you know what was weird? NOBODY WON. So weird. I mean, if someone had won, it probably would've been good exposure for that person's career, and all the people like me writing about it could have contributed to that person's exposure. Oh well. Maybe someone will win in this category next year?

Zoe Saldana, you are too classy for this. Except, OH I SEE what's going on. It's no coincidence: You were here to introduce the single best, classiest performer of the night, Frank Ocean!

There is honestly very little to say about this stunner of a performance except to acknowledge that the set was incredible and Frank Ocean even better. That falsetto! The best part was he basically just took off when he was done.

Well done, Frank Ocean.

This was inappropriate.

This was inappropriate.

Then Drake won for best Rap Performance, which was nice. He seems like a good guy! I'm not sure why Nicki Minaj went onstage with him, but that's fine.

Then One Direction came out and did whatever it is One Direction does. We know that music tastes are cyclical and that a boy band must rise to prominence with each new generation of 12-year-old girls, so, fine. Congratulations, girls! Your post-natal hunks have arrived to weirdly stagger around the stage while attempting to keep up with their backing tracks! That being said, which one is your favorite? The blonde one, the elfin one in the blue, or the future Pete Doherty on the right? I'm going with elfin just because he seems reasonable, like the Posh Spice of the group.

Anyway, the crowd was VERY into it, especially this guy:

And these ladies:

Haha that one gymnast girl is making that face again!

Also, did you notice who the resident mean girls in the room were? I guarantee you these two women were talking the rudest smack all night. Every time the camera cut back to them we knew they were saying hateful things because of how loud Baby Jesus was crying.

I love Rebel Wilson, but we can do better than this, right? However I DID love that she called the dude on the left bisexual out of nowhere and then moved on. Score? Also, are The Wanted basically the cool seniors to One Direction's cool eighth graders?

Then Nicki Minaj won for Best Female Performer and—See what I'm saying? There is NO WAY that Rihanna didn't just whisper the meanest snipe about Nicki Minaj right then. Katy Perry and Rihanna were throwing so much shade all night the Staples Center had to turn on more lights.

I still love Nicki Minaj, not so much for her naked grabs at radioplay ("Starships"), but because she's still basically a weirdo for no reason much of the time. A lot of her acceptance speech consisted of growling, suggesting she'd had some kind of joyful stroke. It was amusing! Just ask this guy:

Wiz Khalifa was not having it. Also, Amber Rose was pregnant. (Why do I even know her name?)

Can't wait CAN'T WAIT.

AAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!! WHYYYYYYYYYY???

So then 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne came out and shouted at each other. (I like this part right here where it looked like 2 Chains was concerned for his friend.)

Then a TV commercial one-upped the VMAs by featuring Janelle Monae. It makes me so excited to see her doing things like this because it means she might have a new album out soon, right? RIGHT? Girl, hurry.

Are we certain that Ke$ha isn't Ashley Tisdale? Could someone check on this pls?

I don't know what this was all about. Some YouTube guy. I do know that at this point an earthquake hit my neighborhood and my heart was RACING. So yeah, the VMAs CAN be exciting sometimes.

I promise I am going to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but until I do, it's just the movie that features Nina Dobrev but won't show her in the trailer. Looks good otherwise! Not you, Ezra Miller, you look shameful. Anyway, then Green Day came out.

Little known fact about Green Day: Any member of Green Day can walk into any Hot Topic and automatically get a 15% discount on THEIR ENTIRE PURCHASE. 18% if it's a Green Day t-shirt! (The band members give them away as gifts around the holidays.)

Adam Yauch got a jumbo-tron tribute. Very classy. But wait, didn't Whitney Houston also die this year? What was the deal with ignoring this fact?

Then you ran and woke up your little sister because the cast of Twilight came on to introduce their new trailer! The fifth and final installment of our generation's Titanic! From the looks of it, Breaking Dawn Part Two appears to be just another couple of hours of Mormon monster garbage, but there WERE highlights! For example:

Bella tackles A PUMA! I had heard that was in the book, but like the epic wolf argument that came before it, I have a feeling this scene needs to be seen to be believed. CANNOT WAIT.

Also:

Whoa, turn down those high beams, Lautner!

Anyway, at this point the show—and we the viewers—were really starting to lose steam, and neither Wiz Khalifa nor Ke$ha were sober enough to snap us out of this ennui.

At least these two were able to keep each other amused by playing their own private version of the Dirty Dozens. I can't even imagine the haterade they were spraying at this point.

These kids won again, this time for Best New Artist! "Artist." And yeah, it's official, the elfin one is the best one. SORRY DEAL W/IT.

Live it up, ladies! I mean, you are amazing and congratulations again. But let's be real, we've only been putting up with Ryan Lochte's post-Olympics victory tour for this long because there's always the chance that he'll become suddenly naked at any time. But you guys are just going to have to go to college in obscurity. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Then Alicia Keys came out and yelled at everybody. What was she so mad about??

I did not see this coming, but Nicki Minaj's guest verse was kind of great? See, that's what people tend to forget about this lady. Sure, she's crassly ambitious and spends way too much time pandering to her fanbase (nick-naming your own fans is always a bad sign), but the lady knows how to turn it on when she needs to. "Starships" is ridiculous, sure, but aside from all the costumes and weird music videos, there's still this woman who stole "Monster" out from under Kanye West and Jay-Z. Plus I think she's funny. I like her!

I'd have to be a true monster to snark on this moment: Gabby Douglas doing somersaults and flips while Alicia Keys sang. I thought it was really sweet! You know? I am capable of appreciating others' happiness, and almost nobody has ever been as happy as Gabby Douglas was in this moment.

Katy Perry was clearly stoked for her.

Then Rihanna won for Video of the Year (a prize she'll have to share with the blond heartthrob in the glowing pyramid hut, since he did the music for it). I appreciated the fact that Rihanna didn't seem to be super jazzed about it (or anything, ever). I also love that her accent comes and goes like the ebbing tides beneath Beachy Head. I don't love the song "We Found Love In A Hopeless Place" because it is the worst. Sorry, I don't care about no record sales, it is the worst. I said SORRY. This is not an argument, only the recognition of common fact. But I DO like that part in T.I.'s "Pls Live Your Life" when Rihanna does that reggae rapping, so it all balances out.

To close out the night, Taylor Swift came on and sang a new song about NOT getting back together with a boyfriend. Mature stuff, considering she has not yet experienced the normal life of a human being? Stage moms, managers, and agents setting you up on photo-ops with high profile hunks is not the same thing as falling in love or forging a meaningful relationship. Relax, Taylor Swift. Take a year off, backpack around Europe, enroll in some community college classes, get a minimum wage job at a movie theater. Basically, LIVE LIFE, THEN sing about it.

Also, I GUESS I thought she was a country singer mostly, but it turns out her new material is just some Radio Disney garbage. That's cool, whatever works. I gotta get to bed, my dogs are barkin'.

And that was it! Not entirely terrible. It was fine. No real highlights though, right? Maybe Frank Ocean and possibly the commercial for The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons. Not a total loss!

"VMAs 2012: Not a total loss." - Price Peterson, TV.com


QUESTIONS:

... What was your favorite VMA moment?

... Should we the public be MORE involved in Kristen Stewart's love life?

... What size shoe do you think Kevin Hart wears? (Specify men's or ladies')

... Which member of One Direction is your favorite? Are you prepared to go to jail for your love?

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