Ah, the pop culture event of the summer is upon us. MTV gets people together to hand out the VMA's. Now, from the world communication hindquarters, it's time for some blogging. Follow along, will you? And if you are, let me know.
A little required reading first.
(All times central)
6:15 pm: Watching the pre-show. Kurt Loder is starting to look like he's about 70. He's actually 61. John Norris has never been cool. The entire crowd is shrieking. And now, Nick Lachey is being interviewed. And they're showing a collage of moments with him and Jessica Simpson. He's gonna see it on re-run and want to punch someone. The VJ guy actually asked him if he would feel awkward walking past J-Simp. Ummmm, yeah...
6:20 pm: Virgin Mobile just ran a commercial on "the power of the penny." Yay, I get to make my first K-Fed reference of the night! Also, MTV has completely sold out. The performances are brought to us by Chevy or something like that.
6:23 pm: Another shameless Chevy plug. And another one, as they tell us that GM provided something called a "fuel efficient SUV." Now they're interviewing the All-American Rejects on the car. Christina Aggalera just showed up. Dear God, she's going to have like 5 awards tonight.
6:27 pm: Fitty Cent and LL Kool J are making a video together. LL Kol J is trying to pretend that he is still relevant.
6:28 pm: Has it really been 11 years? Am I that old?
6:30 pm: John Norris tries to stump Kurt Loder. Kurt can't hear over the screaming. He's getting too old. My Chemical Romance is doing something. I just don't know what. They apparently wrote a "rock opera" called "The Black Parade". It must describe the red carpet at the VMAs. (Yeah, I went there...)
6:33 pm: Oh dear, overly dramatic and pretentious concept album coming out. However, the song sounds pretty good, and if it works, you're currently watching one of those pieces of history that everyone will remember. At least those who believe that history happens on MTV.
6:36 pm: What's with the skeletons in the background? Is anyone else flashing back to Karate Kid? Has this song gone on for about 3 minutes too long?
6:44 pm: Paris Hilton is talking! Popozao! I don't know if she's looked in the mirror judging by her hair. Or if she's seen There's Something About Mary
6:46 pm: Kurt Loder is grilling the Killers. He looks like he's drunk. This is getting embarassing. Cut to John Norris and Chrissie Aggalera getting ready. Proof that Loder botched that. Chrissie needs to know that she is not Marilyn Monroe.
6:49 pm: I have MTV's much vaunted "Behind the Scenes Uncensored" feed on my computer. It's TV feed with a 7 second delay suggesting that there is indeed the possibility that it will be censored. Now, they're showing a group of people sitting there chatting nervously. I think one of them is Rev. Run of Run DMC.
6:52 pm: The VMAs have a way of doing opening acts up good. We all remember this, and I remember this. I couldn't find the original opening act from 1984 (Madonna doing "Like a Virgin" which basically launched her career.) Anyone remember this?
6:55 pm: John Norris told Diddy and Yung Joc that they can't smoke on camera. Here's to the MTV rebellious spirit.
7:00 pm: And here we go...
7:01 pm: ... with Justin Timberlake. Soon, they'll have the stamp wars "Broccoli Justin" vs. "Crewcut Justin".
7:03 pm: How did Justin Timberlake say "How you doing NY?", when he was also singing. Could it be a lip sync?
7:04 pm: SexyBack sounds really bad live. This is also a painfully obvious lip sync.
7:06 pm: Dear God, he's trying to beatbox... off beat! This is not a promising start.
7:09 pm: "This shows been laying farts for the last 20 years and I'm going to light the match." Ah, Jack Black.
7:11 pm: Montel Williams?
7:12 pm: This is falling in the "so self-awaredly awkward and bad that it's so good but tomorrow, you'll say 'that was really bad' " category.
7:13 pm: Will anyone who watches MTV gonna understand who Lou Reed is? What was the point of having the Racounteurs play for a minute?
7:15 pm: Ah, Lil' Kim is making a mockery of herself. Yes, we know, you went to jail! She's presenting for Best Male Video. It's clear she hasn't been in front of a camera in a while.
Male Video: Rhymes, Lachey, Blunt, T.I., Kanye
My Pick: T.I.
7:17 pm: James Blunt won? James Blunt? What were the voters smoking? Anyone want to make the joke?
7:20 pm: The behind-the-scenes coverage is dying. They spent three minutes vamping waiting for James Blunt. This is getting really really awkward.
7:24 pm: Back to Black, who introduces Andre 3000 and Ciara for Best Hip Hop Video.
Hip-Hop Video: Black Eyed Peas, Kanye, Common, 36Mafia, Daddy Yankee
My Pick: 36Mafia
7:26 pm: Black Eyed Peas wins. My wife just got home. She's asking me what I want for dinner. Now, she's singing My Humps. BEP's such a guilty pleasure. But, will someone tell me why there's a Hip Hop, Rap, and R&B video award?
7:29 pm: I think we're having Black Eyed Peas for dinner. This is what happens when you try to do two things at once.
7:31 pm: Shakira is in a belly dancing dress. But, she's shaking her ass. She's Colombian, not Morrocan. I'd make a joke about "Shake Ya Ass, is he Morrocan?" but no one would get it except my wife.
7:34 pm: The guys from Jackass are promoting their movie by shocking each other and laughing hysterically. There should be a law against this. Maybe we should reconsider that whole Free Speech thing.
7:38 pm: MTV is apparently launching MTV 3, or shall we say MTV Tres. Apparently, they'll show endless re-runs of Pimp My Ride and the Real World dubbed into Spanish.
7:41 pm: Fitty and LL Kool J are back at it. They're introduced by the bodyless house announcer. Why is Jack Black here tonight? They're apparently here to do Best Female Video, and they are filling time.
Female Video: Aggalera, Furtado, Clarkson, Shakira, Madonna
My Pick: Chrissie
7:44 pm: Kelly Clarkson? I suppose she's already got a fan base that is used to voting for her in large numbers. But, it falls flat because she's not there tonight.
And I'm 0-for-3. Kelly Clarkson won and the world is ending. Next thing, Kevin Federline will win for best anything.
7:45 pm: Lil' John just said something, but I have no idea what. Perhaps I shall now go and get crunk. He's introduced a completely irrelevant rap song, I think by Ludacris. I can't understand what they're saying either. The sad thing is that I work with kids, and they all listen to rap.
7:49 pm: The Pussycat Dolls just randomly show up on stage. Take a look at this... scary, huh?
7:52 pm: Sarah Silverman: "Space Travel is like the Liza Minelli of... travel." MTV is now plugging the behind the scenes thing for the 1034559809685634th time. We get it.
This night is waiting for a David Ortiz of the music business to save the game late.
7:59 pm: Jessica Simpson is apparently wearing a onesy. And she's... failing at life. I thought she lost her voice. Apparently, she's presenting best Dance Video:
Dance Video: Madonna, Sean Paul, Furtado, Shakira, Pussycat Dolls
My Pick: Pussycat Dolls
8:01 pm: I finally get one right! PCD and Snoop D-O-Double-G wins. Snoop Dogg sits in the audience and looks bored. Someone should spice up his life. The lead singer of PCD just thanked God for being here. I think all six of them are going to say something. This speech is going on for about 4 minutes too long. And for some reaosn, the word "Pants" was in the background. Will someone explain this?
8:04 pm: Chris Brown sends another shout out to the beind the scenes thing. He introduces OK Go! who are dancing on treadmills that say "OK Go". This is just strange enough to be amusing. It's amazing what YouTube has done with our culture's idea of entertainment.
8:08 pm: Where did my wife go?
8:13 pm: Another Jackass stunt with a grown man having a lobster clamp onto his tongue. Now, this is entertainment.
8:15 pm: Jack Black finally makes a funny. Welcome the world's most attractive producer of independent film. Paris Hilton.
8:18 pm: All-American Rejects are giving an honestly good performance of a pretty good song. I'm impressed.
8:19 pm: Nick Lachey and Nicole Richie are presenting together. Why is that funny? Best Pop Video Time.
Pop Video: Chrissie, Pink, Madonna, Shakira, Furtado
My Pick: Shakira
Please be Pink!
8:21 pm: SHE WON! But, she completely screwed up. She... acted like a stupid girl. I take back all the good things I said about her. I'm back to pissed at her for stealing the idea from Garbage.
8:25 pm: A minute-long commercial in which a bunch of guys chase after a woman and all sorts of stunts ensue. It's apparently for JC Penny. My wife and I just gave each other "the look". The "what the hell" look.
8:29 pm: Here's Snoop Dogg. He brought his drink and I think he just belched into the mic. After praising the nominees for best rap video for their rhyming prowess, he rhymes "win it" with "kick it". Thanks.
Rap Video: Fitty, T.I., Rhymes, Yung Joc, Chamillionaire
My Pick: Yung Joc
8:32 pm: Chamillionaire wins. And now he's thanking God.
8:34 pm: And now a controversial moment! 20/20 apparently cancelled an interview with him on police racial profiling?
Right after that, a bunch of police sirens go off! What could have been a poignant moment is swallowed in an unintentional moment of irony, and now Beyonce is doing something or other. The MTV generation moves on.
8:36 pm: I need to take my meds. I've had an ear infection this week.
8:43 pm: I won an EBay auction! I won a bunch of old baseball sticker albums from the 1980s!
8:45 pm: And now the technical VMAs
Best direction: Gnarls Barkley (YES! Amazing video!)
Choreography: Shakira (makes sense)
Special effects: Missy Elliot?
8:48 pm: Why do all rap songs live sound like a bunch of adolescents yelling in an incoherent monotone? Why is there a children's choir backing up TI?
8:50 pm: I think I figured it out. This is the Jackass version of the awards. Not only are there actual shout outs to Jackass, but the entire idea of everything has been, "This is so stupid and weird that c'mon it's funny. OK, here's a guy electrocuting himself."
Jared Leto made Amy Lee blush. They're doing Best Group Video. "Music is like sex. You can do it solo, or... you can do it with a group." Hehehe.
Group Video: All American Rejects, Panic!, Fall Out Boy, Chili Peppers, Gnarls Barkley
My Pick: Panic!
8:54 pm: All-American Rejects win and they look genuinely shocked. And drunk. But, genuinely shocked. My wife quotes Almost Famous, "I'm on drugs!"
9:00 pm: MTV is doing ring tone of the year? Why didn't I know that one? Fort Minor (aka Linkin Park) won. He's reading an entire list of people that makes him sound like Michael Stipe in "It's the End of the World as we Know It (And I Feel Fine)" He didn't thank LEON-ARD-BERN-STEIN, though
9:05 pm: MTV decided that what the world needs is to hear Picnic! at the Disk-Oh! again. They're performing their video on stage. It's got that Fiddler on the Roof feel to it. I apparently blog sins and tragedies.
9:09 pm: DaMarcus Beasley has moved to Manchester City from PSV. Fergie is onstage... and brings out a 9-year-old who's dancing to Superfreak. MTV has sunk to a new low. Time for Best New Artist in a Video.
New Artist: Angels & Airwaves, Blunt, Avenge Sevenfold, Panic!, Chris Brown, Rihanna
My Pick: Angels
9:12 pm: My wife is singing the London Bridge song in honor of Fergie. The nine-year old clearly has no idea who Avenged Sevenfold is, but they just won. The guy from Avenge Sevenfold thanks MTV for "still having a place for rock music on the station." Ah, the racial politics of MTV. Now, this could be a dissertation unto itself. Panties to politics in four sentences. You're on the Foreign Intelligence Files (FIF for short.)
9:17 pm: I just looked back. I'm 1-for-8 in my predictions. Some harbinger of pop culture I am.
9:20 pm: BRITNEY SPEARS AND KEVIN FEDERLINE!!!
9:21 pm: Well, that fell flat. And it's time for Best R&B Video.
R&B Video: Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Chris Brown, Mary Blige, Jamie Foxx
My Pick: Mariah Carey
9:23 pm: Beyonce wins. (I'm 1-for-9) She too thanks God. When did MTV start hosting the 700 Club? Now that would be interesting.
9:25 pm: Hype Williams is getting the Video Vanuguard Award, and Kanye West is comparing him to Andy Worhol and Picasso. We're now watching a fish-eyed retrospective. Ugh.
9:27 pm: And now in a move that makes no sense whatsoever, African dancers in neon glowing face paint are charging the stage... ahhh... Busta Rhymes is re-enacting one of his videos. Live.
9:30 pm: Hype Williams, of course, immediately thanks God. And apparently everyone he knows.
9:33 pm: Sarah Silverman is addressing Federline Award winner Paris Hilton. Am I the only one that doesn't understand her? Is she funny? Someone tell me this.
9:42 pm: "Ladies and gentlemen, Christina Aggalera"... God, help us all.
9:45 pm: There's something wrong with Christina Aggalera's microphone. I think it's the voice that's going into it. Sweetheart, it's called a key. Use it.
9:46 pm: Lou Reed and Pink? I know MTV does one of these every year, but what's with the sudden fascination with Lou Reed? Best Rock Video upcoming.
Rock Video: 30 seconds to Mars, Panic!, Chili Peppers, Green Day, AFI
My Pick: Panic!
Is it just me or is this awards show turning into a rock vs. rap/r&b passive aggressive fight. Lou Reed takes the second shot of the night at MTV for not playing more rock.
9:49 pm: AFI wins. Their video reminded me of a neo-Nazi rally. That's never a good sign.
9:51 pm: The Raconteurs are playing with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Will someone please flash to Snoop Dogg and ask if he knows who ZZ Top is. This is fantastic stuff, but everyone looks very confused.
9:53 pm: Best moment of the night, completely unintentional, I think. Going into the commercial break, the following appeared on the screen.
Coming Up Next:
Someone find me the screenshot.
9:56 pm: Why is Al Gore even there?
9:58 pm: BEP is presenting an award for the Best Hip-Hop/Rap Fusion Video. So, we now have a Rap video, Hip Hop video... wait, this is a set up.
10:00 pm: I don't get this. Yes, it's Tenacious D. But, then again, I just never understood Jack Black. This is the sort of performance that makes me think twice about wanting to see his next movie.
10:02 pm: MTV is pushing the Jackass movie with all its might. They present the Viewers' Choice.
Viewers’ Choice: Chris Brown, Rihanna, Fall Out Boy, Shakira, Clarkson
My Pick: Fall Out Boy
10:04 pm: And Fall Out Boy wins! They have now officially been removed from all college radio playlists, because they're now too mainstream. (My second correct pick of the night!)
10:07 pm: Queen Latifah introduces Al Gore. Al Gore is at the VMAs. The only thing that could make this any more stranger is if Michael Jackson showed up.
10:09 pm: What was the point of having Al Gore there tonight? He's as wooden as ever. This show is getting to be like the movie Bride and Prejudice. The only thing left is to see what else can fall flat.
10:15 pm: The Raconteurs are covering "Video Killed the Radio Star". Here comes Video of the Year. Presented by Jennifer Lopez, dressed like a nun in go-go boots.
Video of the Year: Chrissie, Chili Peppers, Madonna, Shakira & Wyclef, Panic!
My Pick: Chrissie
10:18 pm: And the winner is... Panic! At the Disco!
Yeah, that about sums it up. I think I am officially old.
10:21 pm: Why do artists always say, "This was completely unexpected", but always have 50 people that they thank? And, now for no particular reason, here's Axl Rose, looking like David Crosby. What the hell happened to him?
10:24 pm: The Killers are closing the show with a song called "When You Were Young." How fitting. No love for Madonna, the Peppers, Green Day, Busta Rhymes, Mariah Carey... all the old veterans.
10:27 pm: And so ends the 2006 VMAs. It was bad. It was horridly bad. And MTV cuts to John Norris of the bad dye job. How bad was it? It had Al Gore. The motto of the night was "Well, that didn't work."
10:30 pm: In the first after-show interview, we found out that Beyonce ate a blue Jolly Rancher.
10:32 pm: Time to cut it off at this point. MTV's directorial difficulties are just downright painful to watch.