MTV Video Music Awards 2015: Review Revue
The 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, which took place last night (August 31) was a very, very strange one. From Miley Cyrus‘ bizarre hosting gig to Justin Bieber‘s onstage breakdown, the evening continued its tradition of giving everyone something to talk about around the office today.
As for the winners? Surprise, surprise — Taylor Swift walked away with the most Moonmen, which included Video Of The Year for “Bad Blood.” In our recap, we stated: “It was a pretty scattered event on Sunday (August 30), with a drone of boring, forgettable advertainment (e.g. host Miley Cyrus talking about her Instagram for approximately three hours during the monologue) occasionally interrupted by some legitimate ‘rush to Twitter to see what everyone’s saying’ water cooler moments.”
But what did other critics think were the biggest highlights from the 2014 AMAs? Find out below!
:: TIME reflected on that awkward Nicki Minaj v. Miley Cyrus moment: “The host wore scanty outfits, of course, but seemed afraid to respond to potentially newsmaking events around her, ignoring Minaj and talking over Justin Bieber’s teary post-performance breakdown.This was something more than professionalism. Had Cyrus been doing what VMA hosts have historically done, she might have given Bieber the space to create a moment approaching authenticity. One might also have anticipated that an artist as well-versed in controversy as is Cyrus might have had a better response to Minaj’s criticisms than trailing off and then resuming her next canned speech.”
:: The Atlantic commented as well: “If the moment was, as some have speculated, ‘faked’ —ratings-chasing collusion between all pop stars involved—it was a bad PR move for Cyrus. She looked legitimately freaked out when Minaj said her name; her reply was incoherent and shaky, blaming the press for manipulating her words (even though the Times had published her comments as part of a lengthy Q&A in which she ignored the reporter’s invitations to de-escalate). Then she tried to claim moral superiority by saying that she never thought it was a big deal when she lost VMAs, a move that ignores the racial and physical component of the point Minaj had tried to make.”
:: While Stereogum highlighted Demi Lovato‘s performance: “Lovato’s ‘Cool For The Summer’ performance felt like a Katy Perry been-there-done-that revue, from the look to the sound to the song’s not-that-edgy subject matter about girl-on-girl experimentation. But Perry would probably be wise enough to avoid an Iggy Azalea cameo.”
:: SPIN called Justin Bieber‘s breakdown a genuine moment: “Though the Biebz isn’t exactly hurting for good publicity these days — thanks to Skrillex for revitalizing his music career, and his various court cases for receding in the rearview mirror — when he scrunched up his face and doubled over, it seemed like he was finally, truly repentant and grateful to be back on the stage.”
:: But CNN had their own take on it: “Then, at the end, the kid broke down. Like he appeared to be sobbing on stage. Was he grateful for the audience response in light of criticism of his past bad boy ways? Was he overwhelmed with seeing how amazing his ex, Selena Gomez, was looking in the front row? Did he miss his nap earlier?”
:: The New York Times discussed Miley’s hosting skills: “Ms. Cyrus’s wackiness felt authentic, but her presence was unpolished, and at times she seemed to be caught off guard by the specifics of her responsibilities. At one point, she was reading off her hand. And near the end of the show, during a bit where she was covering herself with only a curtain — a nod to her often nude-adjacent Instagram photos — her left breast was briefly exposed, as much wardrobe resistance as wardrobe malfunction.”
:: While the Washington Post showed love to Tori Kelly: “The relatively new pop singer gave the strongest performance of the night with her hit ‘Should’ve Been Us’ — but it was also the most low-key, so it may have gotten completely overshadowed.”
:: Vox had this to say about Kanye West: “It’s unclear what West’s answers to his own questions are. At the very least, it’s clear that the night’s incredible fallout, voracious coverage, and finding himself becoming a villain in the larger pop culture consciousness have all been weighing heavily on his mind. Overall, West’s speech was clumsy, stopping and starting as he tried to articulate his complex feelings. Still, there was a lot of revealing stuff in there, between his command to ‘listen to the kids’.”
:: Chicago Tribune also weighed in: “He may have been serious. Kanye is very often serious. Or he may have realized he needed to do something significant and a little distracting at the end of his talkathon, which had shades of Jerry Lewis hosting on Labor Day and intimations of Donald Trump’s utter belief that whatever comes out when he holds the microphone is pretty special.”