MTV's VMA nominations: Five surprise winners and losers
Getting worked up over this year’s just-announced MTV Video Music Award nominations is kind of like being mad at the WWE for not honoring the traditions of Greco-Roman wrestling; it is what it is, kids. And what it is in 2010 is pretty much The Gaga Sweeps Show.
Meaning, essentially, that just about anyone who is not the thirteen-times-nominated Lady is a tramp. As in hobo. As in sad clown who will be going home with no Moon Men—or at least not great gobby handfuls of them, as Gaga is nearly guaranteed to do. (One possible exception? Eminem. Mr. Mathers snagged eight noms altogether, and will undoubtedly win several; MTV loves a comeback kid).
Even if la Gaga has single-handed saved both the music industry and the production of ash-colored Lady Godiva wigs, it is lovely to see a little attention paid to women who weren’t born Stefani Germanotta—including Florence and the Machine, Nicki Minaj (though for the wrong song), and Janelle Monae. And Dan Black, you kill it with that GarageBand “Umbrella” beat! Twice!
But we digress: Odd and unreflective of other industry awards shows as the VMAs may be, there are still a few shockers in today’s announcement; below, a (very subjective) top five:
1. Total shut-out for the Black Eyed Peas. Granted, many of their gigantor anthems (“Boom Boom Pow,” “I Gotta Feeling” etc.) were released last year, beginning in early spring—the Awards’ eligibility cut-off is supposedly mid-June—but they didn’t make the 2009 cut for nominees either, and the hits kept rolling through fall. Regardless of how you feel about them, is there a better definition of an MTV artist than these poly-ethnic, platinum-minting pop dingleballs? Shouldn’t they be in here somewhere?
2. The distinct lack of love for Rihanna and Justin Bieber. Despite a five-week run at the no. 1 Billboard spot, and director Melina Matsoukas’ excellent appropriation of “Buffalo Stance” wild style, Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” gets only one paltry nom, for Best Editing. As for the Biebs, his videos may not necessarily be paragons of small-screen creativity, but the VMAs are (super-late memo to Kanye!) essentially popularity contests connected only tangentially to artistic merit. In that case, the hair-swoopy heartbeat of ten million tweens seems to have earned more than a single Best New Artist nod for “Baby.”
3. The excess of love for 30 Seconds to Mars. We realize that angst-monkey Jared Leto and band have many legitimate fans, and that the world’s boner for Jordan Catalano is quite possibly (and justifiably) eternal. But noms for both Video of the Year and Best Rock Video feels something like overkill. Is the rock-video bucket so gutted this year that no one else could fill out at least one of these spots? Rise Against? Muse? the Black Keys? Vampire Weekend? LCD Soundsystem? Cage the Elephant? Also, dudes: the Flaming Lips got to your Critical Mass bike idea first. And way nakeder.
4. The Lady Gaga/Beyonce collaboration about cellular-based communication that is not “Telephone,” a.k.a. “Video Phone,” has nearly as many major nods as “Telephone” itself—Best Collaboration, Best Female Video, Best Pop Video, Best Art Direction—while having peaked on Billboard’s Hot 100 at no. 65. Yeah, I know: it’s not the BMAs. And I could talk about Ms. Knowles’ wonderfully bonkers costume switch-ups in this clip all day long. But seriously, did we have to double down so hard? Would one big nom—go ahead, give the stylist a Nobel prize for Quantam Booty Physics and Special Aspects in Bettie Page Revivalism—have been enough? Especially when…
5. … So many others have received no noms at all. Whether or not you enjoy them, the following artists, to varying degrees, seemed to merit a place on the nominees list, but are nowhere to be found: Miley Cyrus (nothing for “Party in the USA,” “The Climb,” or “Can’t Be Tamed”?); Adam Lambert (he grew a Wrath of Khan ponytail for you people!); Taio Cruz; Owl City (still hate him, but he seems to have earned it with his inescapable insect anthem, no?); Mike Posner; Travie McCoy; and unequaled Rube Goldberg maestros OK Go.
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