Kanye overshadows Gaga, Madonna, King of Pop at MTV VMAs
- September 14, 2009 4:23 PM |
- By Arts Online
Singer Kanye West takes the microphone from singer Taylor Swift as she accepts the Best Female Video award during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards in New York. (Jason DeCrow/Associated Press)
Last night's MTV Video Music Awards were a bit of a gong show, but not necessarily for the reasons we were expecting. For weeks, pop oddball Lady Gaga promised fans and media rubberneckers that the performance she was planning for the VMAs would blow our collective minds. She claimed her vision was "rooted in New York-style performance art," and that she'd been planning the stunt for "months and months."
Gaga did her best to commandeer everyone's attention right off the bat, surprising folks on the red carpet with her choice of date. While Muppet-human relationships are strange to begin with, Gaga's decision to make out with Kermit the Frog was even more unnerving given that she recently decapitated a colony of Kermie clones for one of her insane outfits. One feared that by night's end, her escort might suffer the same tragic fate.
Her performance of the single Paparazzi (at the end of a medley of singles) was certainly histrionic. While Gaga's fond of name-checking Andy Warhol, I'm not sure there was a clear link between her gory shtick and the stylized, deadpan work produced in the late artist's Factory. The Paparazzi stunt found Gaga in a blonde poodle wig, oozing blood from her chest as she staggered and stuttered, pretending to have been mortally wounded while dancers clad in white spandex looked on.
It was a grotesque display that combined elements of Carrie, Rocky Horror, Sunset Boulevard and, er, Angels In America. And I'm not entirely sure that it worked.
Unfortunately for Gaga, her forced attempts to court controversy were overshadowed by a number of less contrived moments.
I often wince when Madonna tries to talk about Serious Things -- at this point in her career, the seasoned performer often seems a bit too smug in her gravitas, like she expects mere mortals to hang off her every word, even when she's spouting nonsense. But last night, Madge had a rapt audience for her quiet, respectful tribute to Michael Jackson. I'm not sure that Ms. Ciccone was responsible for writing every word of her 6-minute speech, but she certainly managed to convey a personal connection to the King of Pop. I'm sure more than a few people in the crowd welled up when Madonna compared her experience growing up without a mother to the ways in which being thrust into the limelight at an early age stole Jackson's childhood from him; "I think he got the short end of the stick," she ruefully conceded.
But in the end, the thing we'll probably remember most about the 2009 MTV VMAs is a spectacularly stupid stunt. Carrying on his grand tradition of bum-rushing the stage during other folks' time to shine, rapper/producer/fashion maven Kanye West interrupted country ingenue Taylor Swift while she was accepting her trophy for Best Female Video. "Taylor, I'm really happy for you, and I'm'a let you finish," he blasted, "but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time!"
Poor Swift looked crestfallen. To her credit, when Beyonce later nabbed a Video of the Year award for Single Ladies, she brought the young country music singer onstage for a speech do-over. And Kanye? Seems folks are getting tired of his outspoken antics. The crowd booed every time the guy's name was mentioned for the remainder of the show.
As is his wont, West posted a message (in all caps, natch) after the dust settled, apologizing to Swift (and her mom) for his rude behaviour:
"I'M SOOOOO SORRY TO TAYLOR SWIFT AND HER FANS AND HER MOM. I SPOKE TO HER MOTHER RIGHT AFTER AND SHE SAID THE SAME THING MY MOTHER WOULD'VE SAID. SHE IS VERY TALENTED!"
UPDATE: Kanye has taken down the original all-caps apology from his blog. It's been replaced by a somewhat sheepish statement:
I feel like Ben Stiller in "Meet the Parents" when he messed up everything and Robert De Niro asked him to leave... That was Taylor's moment and I had no right in any way to take it from her. I am truly sorry.
Five bucks says an assistant (or a publicist) intervened in the hopes of cleaning up West's giant mess. Seriously -- when was the last time Kanye posted anything that wasn't SHOUTED IN CAPITAL LETTERS?
Are you over Kanye? Mesmerized by Madonna? Grossed out by Gaga? What were your most memorable moments of the 2009 MTV VMAs?
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