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Old 08-26-2019, 08:33 PM   #1
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Default "MTV hates surprises": How MTV sucked the life out of the VMAs

https://music.avclub.com/how-mtv-suc...mas-1837379778

The MTV Video Music Awards is designed to generate water-cooler conversation moments. "Which is precisely why there are fewer and fewer such instances actually birthed each year," says Alex McLevy. "As any person (or corporation, just as often) thatís tried to artificially bump something to the front page of Reddit has discovered, you canít plan in advance what people will care about. You canít make something 'go viral.' And you sure as sh*t canít engineer stunts guaranteed to get people talking. All of which is bad news for MTV, which has done everything in its power over the past 35 years to breed out any potential for spontaneity or unexpected surprises during its broadcast. MTV wants stage-managed chaos, rigorously rehearsed moments of faux controversy, and spectacle-filled wackiness meticulously planned within an inch of its life. It wants the credibility and cache of free-wheeling celebrity antics without the actual presence of such behavior. And what it definitely doesnít want is surprises. MTV hates surprises."

ALSO:
  • How the 2009 Taylor Swift-Kanye West VMAs scandal became a perfect American morality tale: "On one level, the fact that the scandal would go on to have such legs seems absurd," says Constance Grady. "It was such a petty nothing of a moment! A drunk celebrity with a history of being volatile acted out at an awards show: So what? Why was that such a big deal? Why is it so ingrained in our cultural consciousness now, 10 years later? But the resulting fallout was explosive. What happened at the 2009 VMAs helped define Twitter as the conversation driver it is today. The story foreshadowed Kanye Westís eventual transformation into a pop culture villain, which would be realized with Westís embrace of Donald Trump and Trumpism. It set the narrative that Taylor Swift would always be a pop culture victim, for better or for worse. And the way it has influenced their two images in the decade since follows the lines of major schisms in American culture."
    The 1999 VMAs were the last hurrah for classic MTV: "The 1999 Video Music Awards didnít stand out because of its zomg! moments -- unless you count the dude who crashed the Backstreet Boysí acceptance speech by rushing the stage and exclaiming 'Wake Up at 3!' (Tellingly, he was aiming for a TV deal.)," says Mara Reinstein. "This wasnít Kanye interrupting Taylor or Madonna slipping Britney the tongue or Fiona Apple ripping the music industry or Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora inventing MTV Unplugged on the spot. But viewed through the retrospective 2019 lens, the 9.9.99 event was as singular as its date. The event represented peak MTV at the height of the Total Request Live era, and yet it also paid proper homage to its pop and rock roots. Weíll never see its likes again."
    Miley Cyrus will perform tonight at the VMAs in her first public appearance since Luke Hemsworth breakup

MTV VMAs host Sebastian Maniscalco might be the hottest comic in America: "So why is it entirely possible you have never heard of him?"

Maniscalco, 46, sold out Madison Square Garden four times in two days earlier this year. Last year, he sold out Radio City Music Hall five times. And tonight, he'll have his highest-profile gig as host of the MTV Video Music Awards. Yet Maniscalco isn't somebody who has received a lot of media attention. "Partly itís because he built his huge fan base gradually and under the pop-culture radar ó not through a splashy movie vehicle or a television breakout, but via a hustling touring schedule and two decades of nightly performances," says Jason Zinoman. "He isnít catnip for the press, since he steers clear of the zeitgeist in his act, preferring to stick to evergreen subjects like his tense but affectionate relationship with his father, whom he regularly portrays, with dramatic hunch and gesticulations, as a classic Sicilian immigrant patriarch, old school, driven by a ferocious work ethic, casting a long shadow." Tonight's hosting gig isn't an obvious one for Maniscalco, who spent a month pondering MTV's offer. ďI donít know much about music, todayís music, and I donít know musicians,Ē he said, sounding a bit nervous about hosting his first televised awards show. ďKevin Hart might know Drake or Jay-Z so he can make fun of them. But I canít start making fun of people when I donít know who they are.Ē

Taylor Swift shares her diary from the 2009 MTV VMAs Kanye West incident

President Obama famously called West a "jackass" for his interruption of Swift's VMAs speech, which took place on Sept. 18, 2009. Swift shared her diaries as part of her new album, Love. In it, she writes of that date: ďLet's just say, if you had told me Kanye West would have been the number one focus of my week, the media, and my part in the VMA's I would've looked at you crossed eyed.Ē ALSO: MTV producers look back at the Taylor Swift-Kanye West incident.
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Old 08-26-2019, 10:04 PM   #2
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The VMA's got the life sucked out of them when MTV stopped showing music videos and started with this reality stuff. Then the fans are supposed to care about an awards show when they spend the other 364 days not caring about music videos.
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:06 AM   #3
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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."

ALSO:

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, RosalŪa, 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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