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The Milton Measure

A Shocking Night at the VMA

by The Milton Measure on Friday, September 16th, 2011

MTV brought the summer to an exciting close with its annual Video Music Awards on August 28th.

Unlike the Grammy awards, which celebrate excellence in music alone, the VMAs honor the visual as well as the audio, awarding the most compelling music video in categories such as “Best New Artist,” “Best Pop Video,” “Best Rock Video,” and “Best Collaboration.” For years, the VMA stage has been home to outstanding performances by chart-topping artists, as well as high-profile drama (think Kanye West, 2009). The 2011 VMAs did not disappoint.

After Lady Gaga appeared at the 2010 VMAs clad in raw meat, critics doubted the Mother Monster could possibly outdo herself at the 2011 show. Yet, Gaga kept the world on its toes when she took the stage as – surprise- a man. It was not a fishnet and stiletto clad Gaga but a blue-collar, Italian-American “Joe Calderone” who opened the show, accompanied by legendary Queen guitarist Brian May. He/she drove the performance of Gaga’s latest single, Yoü and I, home with powerhouse vocals, belting smooth, country-infused hooks over May’s rock n roll guitar riffs and “We Will Rock you” style drum beat. The product could best described as a GaGa-fied power ballad: a unique genre crossover for the reigning queen of pop.

Beyoncé won the crowd when she announced her pregnancy after a captivating performance of “Love on Top”, and Chris Brown earned applause as he soared above the crowd in a dizzying medley of “Yeah3x” and “Beautiful People.” Brit-Pop sensation Jessie J filled breaks in the action on her own smaller stage.

Even though TV viewers were only able to catch bits and pieces of her performances, she was consistently strong, delivering her own work alongside powerful renditions of other artists’ hits, such as Katy Perry’s “Firework”.

A friend of the late Amy Winehouse, Russell Brand paid tribute to the troubled singer with honesty and compassion. Pop vocalist Bruno Mars also paid homage, giving a sweet and heartfelt performance of “Valerie” to a colorful pop-art backdrop of Winehouse’s portrait. Both Brand and Mars were touching in honoring a lost but undeniably talented woman.

The VMA recipients were just as shocking as the show’s performers. Teen Pop Sensation Justin Bieber claimed the award for “Best Male Video,” controversially beating out superstars such as Eminem and Kanye West, as well as powerful vocalists Bruno Mars and Cee Lo Green. Katy Perry elegantly accepted the most prestigious award of the night, “Video of the Year,” for her inspirational single, “Firework.”

Every artist took the stage with passion and skill, captivating viewers with his or her generational talent. In many ways, music both shapes and reflects our culture, and in our digital world music videos are as much of an outlet for artists as music itself. The VMA’s are a hub for modern culture.

I encourage all fans of popular music to watch the 2011 VMA performances, and look forward to the show next year.

In his acceptance speech as he thanked “God, but also Jesus” for his win. Katy Perry elegantly accepted the most prestigious award of the night, Video of the Year, for her inspirational single, “Firework.”

Without a doubt, the VMAs were a night of entertainment. Every artist took the stage with passion and skill, captivating viewers with his or her generational talent. In many ways, music both shapes and reflects our culture, and in our digital world music videos are as much of an outlet for artists as music itself. The VMA’s are a hub for modern culture.

I encourage all fans of popular music to watch the 2011 VMA performances, and look forward to the show next year.

Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=1472

Posted by The Milton Measure on Sep 16 2011. Filed under Arts & Entertainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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