Nothing ‘Fancy’ about the 2010 Video Music Awards

By Kate MacDonald

MTV’s Video Music Awards usually has a reputation for being a dramatic, controversial and highly entertaining show. Unfortunately, their 27th VMAs, held on Sunday, Sept. 12 at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, Calif. just missed the mark.

Chelsea Handler, the E! Network’s resident Queen of Comedy, became the second woman to host the awards – Roseanne Barr was the first female emcee in 1994. Known for her late-night talk show “Chelsea Lately” and three bestselling memoirs, Handler is thought of nation-wide as a hilarious comedienne.

Last night, however, her jokes were either spot-on or missed completely, ushering awkward chuckles from the audience. While her bits with Lindsay Lohan and Jason Derulo were amusing, her skit with the Jersey Shore members, which involved Handler hopping fully dressed into a hot tub and coming out pregnant, seemed stilted.

Perhaps this performance could be attributed to the fact that once she took the stage in a Lady Gaga-like getup, Handler admitted, “In an interesting twist, I’m as high as a kite.”

This light-hearted revelation followed a performance of “I’m Not Afraid” and “Love the Way You Lie,” by Eminem. Despite telling “Entertainment Tonight” that she wouldn’t be present, Rihanna provided backup vocals on the second hit, dressed in a costume that was part ballerina, part Little Mermaid.

Eminem was a big winner, taking the awards for “Best Male Video” and “Best Hip Hop Video,” upsetting Drake in both categories. Drake, then, did not take home a single award Sunday night, which was somewhat surprising.

Lady Gaga, however, was the biggest winner of the evening, bringing home eight of the moon man trophies for categories including “Best Female Video,” “Best Pop Video” and “Best Collaboration.” She was eligible for 13 awards for her hits “Bad Romance” and “Telephone,” and five for the collaboration with Beyonce, “Videophone.”

Gaga cried while accepting the last award of the night, “Best Video of the Year,” for “Bad Romance.” During her thank you speech, she revealed the name of her next album to be “Born This Way,” and even sang a few lines of its title track.

The performances during the VMAs weren’t all that impressive. Drake took to the stage with Swizz Beatz to perform “Fancy.” Mary J. Blige accompanied as female vocalist, though she seemed a bit mature to be singing about getting ready to go out for the night.

Justin Beiber and Usher both sang as well, though they showed off their dancing skills much more than their vocal stylings, choosing to rely on previously recorded tracks.

Taylor Swift performed live, and did a great job for someone who doesn’t always have a good track record where live performances are concerned. She sang “Innocent,” a song unofficially dedicated to Kanye West. At last year’s VMAs, West stormed the stage when Swift won “Best Female Video,” yelling that Beyonce should have won.

West performed a track about the controversy as well, singing, “I always find something wrong, you’ve been putting up with my sh*t for way too long.” His performance was decent. The same can be said about Linkin Park, B.O.B. and Paramore.

Florence and the Machine sang “Dog Days are Over,” known as the song from the “Eat, Pray, Love” previews. She didn’t need to rely on a backtrack or choreography, though that was impressive too. Showing her talent through her strong voice and impressive range, she had what was probably the best performance of the night.

Unfortunately, the 2010 VMAs were rather boring. There weren’t really any surprises or controversies, and nothing truly impressive enough to keep the viewer’s attention. Lady Gaga was bound to win in just about every award she was nominated for, the Swift/ Kanye event was definitely going to be brought up and teenage girls were going to be seen having conniptions when Justin Beiber appeared.

Nothing new was brought to the table, and this year’s VMAs was just another award show. But when MTV is a station that’s now known more for shows like “Jersey Shore” and “Teen Mom” than having actual music, is anyone really surprised that the 2010 VMAs were mediocre at best?

Kate MacDonald can be reached at [email protected]