Lady Gaga – “Bad Romance”
Stats: The most-watched video on YouTube… at least until Justin Bieber’s fans decided to cut class and refresh his “Baby” video about a zillion times. Arguably elevated Gaga to legend status and made music videos an “event” again. Inspired a Glee episode (and, more than likely, Christina Aguilera). Made “crazy eyes” a big enough problem for news outlets to pick up and scare parents. This video was guaranteed to be a nominee in this category the moment it premiered.
Chances of winning: A given. Was there any video bigger than this one in the last year? In the last few years?
Florence + The Machine – “Dog Days Are Over”
Stats: We’re not going to pretend we’re cooler than everybody by lying and saying we knew about this video before MTV nominated it. But you more than likely didn’t know about it either. (We originally posted the track’s first video released in Britain, but this minimalist version released in the U.S. is the one in contention.) The video is vibrant and exciting—in fact, did Ke$ha rip-off some of those color dust effects for “Take It Off”?—and the song has found some success in TV commercials and movie trailers, but the video didn’t strike a chord with pop culture. We’re not exactly sure how this clip got noticed enough to be nominated when there were dozens more clips to come along this year (see the end of this post).
Chances of winning: Not happening. But at least the hipsters feel like they’re being represented.
30 Seconds To Mars — “Kings and Queens”
Stats: This mini-movie is certainly impressive—it features an epic bike ride through Los Angeles with hundreds of cyclists, and was even directed by Leto himself (using the Dr. Seuss-penned pseudonym Bartholomew Cubbins). The video is so large, it has two minutes worth of credits at the end. We dig it.
Chances of winning: As beautifully shot as it is, it’s not gonna happen. There’s too many bigger fish in this pond.
Stats: Whether you loved it or hated it, you watched it. And had a strong opinion about it. And probably filmed a parody video of it. Even Fox News dived into the “Telephone” debate, declaring their outrage and repulsion for this Tarantino-inspired mini-movie (for other reasons than the fact that the song had nothing to do with two women busting out of jail and poisoning a diner). This video also elevated product placement to new heights—or lows, depending how you look at it. Regardless, this follow-up clip to “Bad Romance” proves once again that Gaga is redefining modern music videos.
Chances of winning: If it weren’t for “Bad Romance”, we’d rate “Telephone”‘s chances higher. We’re just happy the other Gaga/Beyonce collaboration, “Video Phone”, didn’t nab this spot.
Eminem — “Not Afraid”
Stats: Forgoing his now-tired comedy shtick, like in the stale “We Made You”, this vid is one of the darkest, most serious clips he’s ever put out. It’s emotional, and fits in well with Em’s personal journey for recovery.
Chances of winning: This is the only vid on this list that could beat “Bad Romance”, but we still don’t see that happening. Not unless Glee opens its second season with an Eminem episode, at least.
B.o.B featuring Hayley Williams — “Airplanes”
Stats: We love B.o.B, Hayley Williams, and this song. But this video is boring.
Chances of winning: Nada. What is this even doing here?
So what videos should have been nominated for Best Video of the Year? For the record, we here at Idolator enjoyed the following videos quite a lot, so check out our choices and debate away in the comments. (To be fair, several of these vids are nominated for VMAs, just not Video of the Year, so it’s not as though they’re all going completely unacknowledged.)
Kid Cudi — “Pursuit of Happiness”
Black Eyed Peas — “Imma Be Rockin’ That Body”
Dan Black — “Symphonies”
M.I.A. — “Born Free”
Gorillaz — “On Melancholy Hill”
Janelle Monae — “Tightrope”
Chiddy Bang — “Opposite Of Adults”
Kylie Minogue — “All The Lovers”
Katy Perry — “California Gurls”
Beyonce — “Why Don’t You Love Me”
Green Day — “Last Of The American Girls”
Rihanna — “Rude Boy”
Any OK Go video (seriously, they are all amazing)