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Old 08-28-2002, 08:51 PM   #1
Forum Celebrity
Join Date: Jan 09, 2001
Posts: 36,290
Post MTV Video Music Awards Seek Balance


NEW YORK (AP) - With a lineup including Jimmy Fallon, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Pink, Justin Timberlake, J.Lo, Eminem ( news - web sites) and Michael Jackson, this year's MTV Video Music Awards are on track to be another wild, crazy and indulgent party.

Yet the network is keenly aware that with the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks approaching, the mood Thursday night might not be quite as irreverent as in the past.

"It's gonna be definitely in everyone's heads and everyone's minds, I think," said Fallon, this year's host, who was co-host of the MTV Movie Awards last year.

Last year's Video Music Awards were held on Sept. 7. This year, because of the approaching anniversary, MTV moved up the date of the show, usually held after Labor Day. The network also had planned to move the show to Los Angeles this year, but decided to stay in New York as a show of support for the city.

"After Sept. 11, we felt that we could not abandon our hometown," said Tom Calderone, senior vice president of music and talent programming at MTV and MTV2. "We're going back to L.A., but this is not the year to do it."

Bruce Springsteen, whose new album "The Rising" is filled with musings on Sept. 11, will open the show via satellite. In addition, Sheryl Crow will sing a song about the spirit of New York.

Other poignant moments could include tributes to some of the entertainers lost in the past year, notably TLC's Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, who was killed in a car accident in Honduras in April.

Yet Calderone said that overall, the show's format won't change — in other words, expect a party atmosphere.

"With all the Sept. 11 reflection, we want to make sure that it doesn't get too dark," he said.

Said Fallon: "I wanted to make it more of a fun time as opposed to a sad remembrance."

Fallon also promised not to subject the celebrities in attendance to the kind of searing jokes that previous hosts such as Chris Rock or Jamie Foxx doled out.

"It's definitely going to be a different tone, not so much in your face. It's just gonna be goofy," says Fallon. "I'm not taking this seriously at all."

If he does decide to poke fun, he should have plenty of material. After all, this is the show where Pee Wee Herman came out of hiding after an arrest for lewdness, Madonna ( news - web sites) gyrated on the floor in a wedding dress, and then-newlyweds Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley made out for the cameras.

Jackson was a surprise guest last year, joining 'N Sync ( news - web sites) at the end of their performance. This year, the awards coincide with his 44th birthday, and the new dad will make his first public appearance since calling the head of his record company a racist and a devil.

Presley, now his ex-wife, will also be part of the show. She wed actor Nicolas Cage earlier this month.

Other exes who might run into each other at the Radio City Music Hall show include Jennifer Lopez and Combs, MTV personality Carson Daly and actress-singer Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Britney Spears and Timberlake.

If that's not enough tension, caustic Simon Cowell and his "American Idol" co-horts, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, are to be on hand.

Other presenters and performers include Ja Rule, Ashanti, Pink, James Gandolfini, Avril Lavigne and Shakira.

Perhaps the most anticipated performance will be Timberlake's, as the 'N Syncer makes his solo debut. He'll premiere "Like I Love You," the first single off his upcoming album, "Justified."


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