Los Angeles, CA
It was definitely ladies night at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, which speaks pretty true of the state of pop music as a whole right now. Katy Perry continued her winning streak (she just earned her fifth #1 off "Teenage Dream") by picking up her three very first moonmen, while Britney Spears earned a major achievement award and has yet to even turn 30. But it was Lady Gaga who stole the show (or should I say Joe Calderone?), who never stopped performing as she first took the stage in the show's first seconds and even after as she went backstage to talk to reporters. As a show-stopping performer and scene-stealing personality, she was definitely born this way.
As Joe Calderone (her male alter ego), Gaga blurred the lines between performance art and androgynous reality while refusing to break character as this "cool Nebraska guy" (she did, only for a moment while verklempt after winning the second of her awards for her "Born This Way" video). Her show-stopping performance of "You and I" showed why we're sure the VMAs will become a playground for Gaga's imagination for years to come.
The pop princess showed up looking gorgeous and happy, which, really, is all MTV needs these days to justify having her star in their promos year after year. At just 29, she was presented with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award (complete with a speech by Lady Gaga/Joe Calderone and a performance from little girls donning her iconic costumes) and also snatched Best Pop Video from her peers like Katy Perry and Adele for "Till the World Ends."
While the night's performances were hit or miss, you could count on Jessie J to give a rousing performance of her songs or covers of tracks by Cyndi Lauper and TLC without having to even get up from her chair (she was relegated to sitting for each performance because of an injury.) As the lead of the "house band," she showed she's a dynamo vocalist and the one to watch.
While she showed that the only theatrics she needs is her voice with a performance of "Someone Like You," you might have thought she went away completely empty-handed. She didn't. She was actually the night's biggest winner, with 4 awards going to her "Rolling in the Deep" video, but in none of the categories that are televised: Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, and Best Direction.
Let's face it. MTV wrote their headline and press release yielding Katy Perry as the night's big winner weeks ago. She not only scored the most nominations this year, she took home three awards: Best Collaboration and Best Special Effects for "E.T." with Kanye West, and Video of the Year for "Firework." We would've loved to see her perform "Last Friday Night" as Kathy Beth Terry, but we get this was her night to accept moonmen.
With hair almost as big as her beehive, Bruno Mars gave an extremely fitting tribute to Amy Winehouse, which also featured words from pal Russell Brand and Tony Bennett. The equally retro soul singer show true talent is timeless as he performed her version of the Zutons' "Valerie."
Beyonce wore a frock on the red carpet, made reference to a love "growing inside of me," and rubbed her belly before and after her performance. If you didn't get it, she's pregnant! Beyonce decided to the VMAs was the perfect platform to announce she'd soon be a Mama B, brand new baby bump and all. She was involved in some "1 +1," indeed.
It's a shame it took them this long to win a second moonman (this time, Best Rock Video for "Walk"). Foo Fighters have one of the best videographies in rock and they definitely deserved it for returning to their big concept video roots in their "Falling Down"-inspired clip. It was their first win in 15 years, since "Big Me" took home Best Group Video in 1996.
We won't be seeing the end of the one night a year MTV honors music (or even shows it, for the most part) anytime soon. This year's Video Music Awards, complete with Gaga in drag and a pregnant belly-rubbing Beyonce, were its highest-rated yet.
This year's telecast scored 12.4 million viewers, the best ratings ever for the show, which began in 1984. The show was propelled by promos starring Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and Lil Wayne.
Sunday's awards show was MTV's biggest audience in history, with a 10.8 rating and 8.5 million of those viewers in their target 12-34 demographic.
The ratings were already on the up ramp last year, when it grabbed 11.4 million viewers, the best ratings since 2002. The 2011 shows ratings were up 9 percent in total viewers.
The show, which also featured appearances by Adele, Katy Perry, and Chris Brown, was the biggest nonsports telecast of the year.
It's time to start guessing what Lady Gaga will do next year.
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