I’m not going to lie: despite the fact that I usually have no interest in whoever is nominated, I kind of look forward to MTV’s Video Music Awards each year, if only for the spectacle of the entire thing. Most years provide at least one thing for the media to talk about for the next few days, and if they don’t, outlets simply talk about how boring it was. Either way, it’s a buzzworthy event. Join us at this post this Sunday, Sept. 12, starting at 8 p.m. EST, 7 p.m. CST for our annual live-blog of the event. We’ll share some laughs, some exasperated reactions, and wonder together if Lady Gaga will win all 13 awards she is nominated for (right, guys? Just me?).
Chelsea Handler is this year’s host, perhaps after MTV realized the Russell Brand train was running out of track. Performers this year include Justin Bieber, Drake, Eminem, Linkin Park, Paramore, B.o.B, Usher, Kanye West, and in a slightly beguiling twist, Florence And The Machine. Nicki Minaj will be performing at the pre-show. As mentioned before, Lady Gaga leads the pack in nominations with 13 separate nominations (18 if you count the nominations thrown towards Beyonce’s “Video Phone” clip). This puts her in competition with herself in six different categories. Elsewhere, Eminem is up for eight moonmen. Last year’s nomination leader Beyonce is only up for five, along with B.o.B. Rock-wise, 30 Seconds To Mars is nominated for five awards, and Florence And The Machine is up for four. Hope to see you on Sunday!
7:56 p.m. Hello everyone, I’m Erik Ziedses des Plantes, and I will be your guide through all of tonight’s VMA madness. I’ve been trapped in my car all day driving across the Midwest, but I made it back in time just for you. Let it also be known that I’m missing Mad Men tonight to cover this, but hey, it’s only VMA time once a year!
8:00 p.m. After Sway’s slightly unenthusiastic “what’s up,” the first “celebrities” to pop up are The Situation and DJ Pauly D. Situation is twitching a ton.
8:02 p.m. Lady Gaga and Drake have both shown up. A pack of girls screams maniacally in the background. In other news, Tim Kash seems so damn smug to me.
8:04 p.m. Haley Williams and a bunch of dudes (aka Paramore) have arrived. Predictably, Williams dominates the interview. The dudes pose menacingly.
8:06 p.m. Hey, Suchin Pak! She always seemed quite pleasant. Trey Songz, inventor of the popular pass time sex, is espousing the virtues of Nicki Minaj. Ne-Yo’s hat is way too big.
8:08 p.m. If you’re out there right now tweeting things with the hastag #ifbeibermetgaga, I don’t want to know you. In other news, Katy Perry has Russell Brand’s viasge on her fingernails and is WAY too stoked.
8:11 p.m. Sway seems so annoyed by everything, but as a consummate professional, he’s keeping it together quite well.
8:14 p.m. Who is this guy rolling up to the VMA’s in a Honda? Oh, it’s Jay Sean.
8:18 p.m. Obvious statement of the night: Snooki is so short. Tonight, she’s not rocking the bump. Also, Suchin Pak just referred to her as a “fashion icon.”Stylists around the world are collectively smacking their foreheads.
8:19 p.m. Gaga just won two Moonmen: one for Best Dance Video (“Bad Romance”), and the other for Best Collaboration (“Telephone” f. Beyonce). Two down, 11 or 16 to go.
8:24 p.m. Rock’s great hope this year, 30 Seconds To Mars, just arrived as part of a bicycle gang, a nod to their Video Of The Year nominated clip “Kings And Queens.” Jared Leto doesn’t seem entirely aware of what is happening though.
8:26 p.m. Usher seems more concerned with daydreaming about the swimming pool of cash he was swimming in earlier because of Bieber than this interview. Poor Sway. Bieber looks like he needs to make a beeline to the restroom.
8:30 p.m. If this FreeCreditScore commercial featuring some band called The Victorious Secrets is going to be playing all night, we’re going to have a problem here.
8:32 p.m. Sway said something about Gucci Mane earlier and I got excited. Where is he? Brrr!
8:36 p.m. Oh god, Nicki Minaj’s new single is an interpretation of “Video Killed The Radio Star.” Will.I.Am. just showed up to drop his predictably “meh” verse, which includes the phrase “check it out” repeated about 35 times. He is also dressed as a shadow.
8:39 p.m. I’m more confused by Minaj’s performance than anything. There was the kind of iffy track, the somewhat awkward choreography, and her reliably wacky facial expressions. I’m not entirely sold, but her appearance on Kanye’s “Monster” has bought her enough goodwill in my book for a while.
8:43 p.m. I’m hoping that tonight’s big VMA moment is that Lil’ Wayne is actually inside that moonman suit.
8:45 p.m. Leave it to the Twitter Jockey to cause the most errors to this point. Then again, she was stuck talking to a bunch of winners of some Twitter contest.
8:49 p.m. Woah. Kanye West’s new “film” preview. Birdwomen, giant explosions. I’m sold.
8:52 p.m. Suchin Pak just referred to Ke$ha as “avant-garde.” Tim Kash just complimented her boobs. There are too many things happening at once that make me question everything about reality.
8:56 p.m. I can’t believe I’ve dedicated this much text to the pre-show.
9:00 p.m. And the big show begins with Eminem performing “Not Afraid” in some sort of basement that opens up into the show’s venue.
9:02 p.m. Did Em jack Kanye’s drum line from the 2008 VMAs?
9:03 p.m. Wow. Rihanna is really struggling to hit the notes in her “Love The Way You Lie” chorus.
9:06 p.m. Chelsea Handler has been on screen for about 30 seconds and is already the best part of this show. The fact that her opening gag was intentionally and accidentally rough was pretty great.
9:11 p.m. Handler is on total burn patrol with her monologue tonight, ripping into everyone left and right.
9:13 p.m. Deadmau5?! Rick Ross driving around a Rascal? Fine.
9:14 p.m. Was “Video Phone” really that big of a hit? I think it just got thrown in for the added Gaga potential.
9:15 p.m. And then there were three awards for Gaga. She just nabbed Best Female Video (“Bad Romance”). Can’t say I’m surprised.
9:24 p.m. The Jackass dudes have just taken the stage for their (probably) contractually obligated appearance. They’re also presenting Best Rock Video, which is of course, a completely relative term.
9:25 p.m. 30 Seconds To Mars just won. Jared Leto has taken the stage with Devendra Banhart circa 2004.
9:28 p.m. Justin Bieber has hit the stage, and is apparently remaking Outkast’s “Roses” video. Chelsea Handler is in the front row.
9:32 p.m. Bieber drum solo. Words I never thought I would string together.
9:37 p.m. I’m going to use this commercial break to admit to you, the Prefix readers, cred be damned, that I think Justin Bieber’s “Baby” is actually a pretty good song, in a completely pop-fluff sort of way. It’s not something I’m jumping to listen to, but if it ever pops up, I’m not immediately compelled to turn it off.
9:38 p.m. Ke$ha and Trey Songz (self-proclaimed pioneer in the field of love making), just announced Usher’s performance of a song which sounds suspiciously like a Ke$ha track.
9:41 p.m. Usher is now performing “OMG,” which is, once again, the song where the 31-year-old singer uses the word “boobies.”
9:43 p.m. Nice shot of Bieber perofrming his contractually obligated standing ovation for Usher’s extended dance break.
9:45 p.m. Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj are presenting and it looks like a Lisa Frank folder exploded on stage. Eminem won Best Male Video. Once again, not surprising, considering the VMAs seem to love comebacks and crushingly huge successes like Gaga and Bieber.
9:47 p.m. Wait, N.E.R.D. is performing? Who asked for that? What year is it? At what point tonight did I fall into a time warp?
9:49 p.m. I’m glad Chelsea Handler decided to point out Jason Derulo’s maddening habit of singing his name at the beginning of all of his songs.
9:53 p.m. Tonight’s biggest curveball so far: the ubiquity of Florence And The Machine. I know it’s cliche at this point to complain about MTV’s lack of music coverage, but I can’t think of any time she’s ever been on the station.
9:57 p.m. Who invited Travie McCoy?
10:00 p.m. HEY SWAY, STOP SHOUTING. Funny how his little Twitter promo got cut off right in the middle of the words “Taylor Swift.” This is now the second year in a row where Taylor Swift has been cut off.
10:05 p.m. Gaga just got Best Pop Video, and is now dressed like the villainess from The Little Mermaid.
10:07 p.m. Taylor Swift is GOING IN HARD on Kanye with this new track, apparently.
10:11 p.m. Or maybe she’s forgiving him. I’m hard pressed to care either way. At least there seems to be a bare minimum of lip-syncing/backing tracks this year.
10:21 p.m. Is there any point in voting for Best New Artist at the moment? Bieber probably has this thing on lock times 1000.
10:22 p.m. Mary J. Blige, Swizz Beats and Drake doing “Fancy.” Was expecting a victory-lap performance of “Over,” but choosing one of the most exuberant Thank Me Later tracks is definitely a good look.
10:26 p.m. Also, is there any point in yelling “Free Weezy” anymore? He gets out in less than two months.
10:28 p.m. Alright, now it’s time for the professional VMA montage. Gaga’s “Bad Romance” racked up another three awards.
10:35 p.m. Eminem got Best Hip-Hop Video. Surprise, surprise.
10:38 p.m. I hope Sway hasn’t been put in charge of reading all 1.3 million VMA-related tweets.
10:41 p.m. Weird seeing an apparent Antlers reference in that American Express ad.
10:44 p.m. B.o.B. and Hayley Williams, who is dressed like a pantless ringmaster, playing that song that plays on the radio about 10,000 times a day here in Chicago.
10:46 p.m. Paramore just hijacked the performance. Unlike Kanye, they aren’t going to let B.o.B. finish, instead choosing to play a total snoozer of a song.
10:49 p.m. Some VJ whose name I don’t feel like looking up just claimed that tonight’s VMA ceremony is the best one ever. I can’t even find the words to describe how wrong he is.
10:50 p.m. I wish complete and utter failure upon everyone at FreeCreditReport.com for making those commercials. I can’t be civil anymore.
10:54 p.m. Bieber won Best New Artist, but you probably already knew that.
10:57 p.m. Nu-ravers Linkin Park are showcasing their new haircuts while a song called “The Catalyst” plays in the background. Something about that song just seems off. Cue easy joke about it being off because it’s Linkin Park.
11:02 p.m. Well, we’re past the two hour mark. Three if you count the pre-show. I haven’t determined how I feel about this.
11:06 p.m. Cher is presenting Video of The Year. I guess that’s surprising. Lady Gaga won the award. That’s not.
11:09 p.m. O.K. It’s Kanye time.
11:11 p.m. Kanye’s new song is a toast for the douchebags, assholes, scumbags, and jerkoffs. Those are his words, not mine.
11:12 p.m. Pusha T just came out, basically cementing his G.O.O.D. status.
11:14 p.m. Kanye’s new track “Runaway” is synthesis of his rapping style with the crooning of 808s. I could see reactions to it being split, but I enjoyed it.
11:15 p.m. And that’s a wrap on the 2010 VMAs. Final verdict: nothing crazy or unexpected happened. At all. Gaga dominated, as expected. Everything fell neatly into place. Chelsea Handler was alright as a host, but she managed to fade into the background pretty easily throughout the show. A lot of the VMA promos seemed to promise especially epic performances, but everything just seemed competent, and sometimes barely that (I’m looking your way, Rihanna). Kanye West will probably be the most talked about thing in the days to come, probably because he was the most hyped part of the show, and I honestly feel like he was one of the few people to truly deliver. Bad show or not, I enjoyed sharing my experience of it with you. See you next year.