It’s that time of year again: the point where everyone under the sun feels the need to point out that MTV still has an awards show celebrating music videos, even though music videos haven’t been an integral part of the cable channel’s rotation for well over a decade-and-a-half now. Okay, that’s out of the way, so let’s focus on a category at this coming weekend’s MTV Video Music Awards (airing Sunday, August 25) that strikes a particular chord with us — that of Best Pop Video.
Artist-wise, the competition is steep, and the five videos pitted against each other offer something different: Justin Timberlake‘s re-telling of his grandparents’ epic romance; Miley Cyrus‘ rebellious gyrating and twerking; Bruno Mars‘ lo-fi homage to the early days of video cassettes; Selena Gomez‘s mature, Indian-leaning dance fest; and fun.‘s drunken night in NYC.
Let’s take a closer look at who’s up for a Moonman in the Best Pop video category below.
THOUGHTS ON THE NOMINEES: Last year fun. missed out on snagging moonmen for Best New Artist and Best Pop Video (for their chart-topping Janelle Monae pair-up, “We Are Young), but it’s probably safe to say that MTV isn’t going to make up for that slight here with “Carry On” — especially considering the song is the band’s third single off their year-and-a-half-old album, and the other cuts nominated were far bigger on both radio and the charts.
Like fun.’s “Carry On,” Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” clip, co-directed by Mars himself and Cameron Duddy, features the crooner — an eight-time VMA nominee (but never a winner…yet) — boozing it up with his pals, in what looks like VHS footage circa the 1980s. (Not a bad look, considering the song itself plays like a lost b-side by The Police.) Alas, there are far flashier clips nominated for Best Pop Video, so we’re going to send Bruno to the sidelines, along with fun.
With “Come & Get It,” Anthony Mandler directed a colorful, sensual video that has Selena Gomez prancing around in a field of eye-popping blue flowers, dancing in red Indian garb and wading seductively through a pool of water. Still, is all that enough to trump the clips by the final two nominees here? Probably not.
In the end it all comes down to the two comeback kids up for Best Pop Video: Justin and Miley. For “Mirrors,” JT paired up with The Runaways director Floria Sigismondi to visually tell the tale of his real-life grandparents’ relationship in a clip that is as sprawling as the eight-minute song itself. (The video is dedicated to Timberlake’s material grandparents, Sadie and William Bomar, who were together for 63 years, until William’s death last year.) Miley’s in-your-face “We Can’t Stop,” on the other hand, is a complete 180 from “Mirrors,” as the Diane Martel-directed visual showcases an independent Cyrus getting raunchy at an off-the-hook house party where naughty writhing and bizarro french-fry skulls are the norm.
Both Justin and Miley offered up memorable, eye-popping videos. But will MTV opt for sentimental or saucy?
WILL WIN: Timberlake has the most VMA nominations this year. The guy just wrapped up his Legends Of Summer Tour with Jay Z, and is about to ramp up promotion for The 20/20 Experience – 2 Of 2, which includes a performance at this very awards show. We’re guessing MTV will give him this one, since Video Of The Year, where “Mirrors” is also nominated, could go to Macklemore‘s “Thrift Shop.”
SHOULD WIN: “Mirrors.” Sorry, Miley — when we want to watch white girls who just discovered twerking get their freak on, we’ll just stick with this.