BEST MALE VIDEO NOMINEES:
THOUGHTS ON THE NOMINEES: Chris Brown, the star everyone loves to hate and hates to love. However you feel about him, dude’s got skills, as evidenced by this video. It features some furious dancing, and he gets bonus points for directing the clip himself. It’s the biggest party of a surprisingly sullen bunch.
Drake and Rihanna go in the opposite direction, with a simmering minimalist video that fits perfectly with the restrained “Take Care.” Director Yoann Lemoine used silvery hues and peppered in high-res animal imagery to amp up the song’s primal beat.
Frank Ocean’s “Swim Good” is a similarly moody song, and in this Nabil Elderkin-helmed clip Ocean is a (Nike-wearing) samurai lady-killer on a coastal drive in a retro orange limo. That makes it sound like a lot happens, but that’s not the case. Despite the vibrant color scheme, the beautiful wide shots and that VOICE, we’re not sure the meandering video will resonate with VMA voters.
You know who does resonate with VMA voters? Justin Bieber. We already predicted that JB’s “Boyfriend” video will take home the award for Best Pop Video. It’s a testament to the strength of the song, because the video is again the most straightforward (and, well, blandest) entry of the category.
Lastly, Usher’s “Climax” reminded us of two videos. Some shots were reminiscent of those in “Take Care,” while the dramatic cheating narrative for some reason had us thinking of R. Kelly‘s epic “Down Low.” So maybe Sam Pilling‘s effort wasn’t the most original concept, but it saw Usher doing some pretty serious acting. Who knew he could convey such emotions with just a look?
WILL WIN: You know who we’re going to say. Chris Brown is too polarizing, Frank Ocean is too new. Usher is too old. Drake does have the Rihanna bump working in his favor, but we think the Beliebers will once again come out in full force.
SHOULD WIN: Our two favorites are Drake’s and Chris Brown’s vids. Seriously, not just for the tension! “Turn Up The Music” is flashy and fun, but it all feels like something we’ve seen before — dance mobs, laser lights, slow motion…even the animal heads we saw in Ke$ha‘s “Blow“. On the other hand, “Take Care” uses the “less is more” approach and the result is a unique, artful visual.