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Old 08-27-2019, 04:06 AM   #3
TMC
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Join Date: Jan 09, 2001
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MTV VMAs had strangely mixed messages with Sebastian Maniscalco calling out "triggered" audience

"There were some strangely mixed messages in the opening minutes of the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards," says Chris Willman. "Taylor Swift kicked things off with all the rainbow flamboyance she and a troupe of drag queens could muster for her tolerance-and-pride anthem 'You Need to Calm Down.' This was immediately succeeded by host Sebastian Maniscalco, inspirer of about a hundred million Google searches, doing a monologue about the silliness of millennials and their newfangled scooters, influencers, safe spaces, triggers, support animals and general wokeness. There could, conceivably, be some good jokes to be had in an opening routine that reactionary, but they sure weren’t within half a continent of New Jersey Monday night." Willman says the hiring of the 46-year-old Maniscalco -- with his "get off his lawn"-style rant against young people -- seemed like a weird choice. "It feels like kicking a dead horse (sorry, Lil Nas X, if that was yours) to reiterate just how inexplicable a hosting choice this was," says Willman. "He came off as Andrew 'Dice' Clay’s nicer nephew who’d found a gig on the G-rated comedy circuit, and who thus was restrained from topical commentary because there were jokes to be made about his mother’s zucchini cooking as the source of all that smoke on stage, or how, because of all the celebrity feuds, 'coming up with the seating chart tonight was harder than arranging the table for my Uncle Luigi’s fifth wedding.' Ba-da-dum! It was all harmless and toothless enough, except when he was warning the snowflakes in the audience that 'personally, I would remove you from the arena, put you in your car and send you home, but they went with the safe space.' Ba-da-dud."

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MTV VMAs performers who embraced surreality stood out

Last night's awards show wasn't perfect, but artists like Lizzo showed the possibilities of breaking new ground with augmented reality. "Social media put award shows into ongoing crisis years ago, and the VMAs—once a reliable source of zany scandals and career-crowning moments—have been especially snoozy and pointless lately," says Spencer Kornhaber. "Their relevance remains questionable; the ratings stink, and it’s quite clear they mostly only give big awards to artists who show up. But last night’s event did have a pulse, despite the bland befuddled comedy of the emcee Sebastian Maniscalco and an odd thematic emphasis on the host state of New Jersey. Partly the show benefited from exciting rising voices—Lizzo, Rosalía, H.E.R.—getting the mic. Partly it appeared emboldened by an epiphany: The Video Music Awards should embrace the possibilities of music as videos. The performances shouldn’t look like Grammys; they shouldn’t try to be concerts. They should be vertigo-strange. They should trick the camera. They should defy reality."

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Last edited by TMC; 08-27-2019 at 08:09 PM.
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