MTV VMAs: Lack of host disappoints but some performances dazzle

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MTV VMAs: Lack of host disappoints but some performances dazzle

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The Video Music Awards, or VMAs, could be referred to as the “wildcard” of the various award shows. One could even say that the live ceremony  is less about who wins the actual awards and more about what crazy antics the attendees will get into this year. Only five awards are given throughout the show, something that could theoretically take up just fifteen minutes of screen time. Factoring in commercials, I would say that leaves about an hour and 45 minutes left of time to fill with performances, skits and speeches. So what did MTV do with this excess time?

Honestly, not much. Maybe it’s due to high expectations after the drama-filled storm that was last year’s show (“Miley, what’s good?” is legendary), but this year’s show just didn’t live up to the hype. I’m sad to say that, aside from a couple very good performances, the 2016 VMAs were a snoozefest.

One thing that felt off about the show was the fact that there wasn’t a host. This means that there was no one to tie each segment together, which made the show seem disorganized and rocky. There were cuts to enthusiastic MTV correspondents backstage, DJ Kahled shouting things in some balcony, and Key and Peele reacting and tweeting behind a news anchor desk. The whole thing was messy. Personally, my favorite was Kahled, whose reactions  to the spectacle around him seemed pure and relatable, and were actually funny.

Aside from the awards, there were only two things that could redeem the already-struggling event: live performances and wild celebrity moments. Kanye West can always be counted on to stir the pot. Rumors spread before the show that Kanye had four minutes on the stage to do whatever he wanted. Since this is Kanye West we’re talking about, where insanity meets genius, there was intense anticipation. His “speech” was chaotic, but entertaining nonetheless. He rambled on about everything from the Taylor Swift situation to murders in Chicago. It was almost as if he scribbled down a haphazard list of “hot button” topics before he went on stage. Kanye went on to introduce his new music video for the song “Fade”, which definitely shocked the audience. There were mixed reactions, but I for one happened to like it. It was the perfect amount of Kanye-crazy.

Other than Kanye’s four minutes, there weren’t very many “OMG” moments. Drake presented Rihanna with the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award and basically declared his love for her. The world has been unsure about their relationship status for years, but we’re still not sure if this means they’re dating or not. Rihanna dodged a kiss from Drake while trying to get the award from him, which was definitely uncomfortable, but made for a memorable moment.

As for the musical performances, they can be pretty much divided into two categories: Beyonce, and everyone else. It was as if Madison Square Garden was a pit stop on Beyonce’s current Lemonade tour. Her performance was a whopping 15 minutes long, but she commanded the stage for every minute of it. The set’s choreography was captivating as Beyonce went through a medley of her latest visual album. In the cut away to Key and Peele after her performance, they were speechless, and for once, I agreed with them.

As for the other performances, there was nothing spectacular. Rihanna performed four times throughout the show, but the standout was her last set in which she showcased her impressive vocals, which was a nice change-up from the high-energy dance numbers in her other three performances. Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande looked either tired or bored throughout their song, while Nick Jonas seemed like he was trying way too hard singing about… bacon? But the absolute saddest had to be Britney Spears, who lip-synced with G-Eazy to a song that wasn’t even hers. It may not have been half as bad if she hadn’t gone onstage directly after Beyonce, but she did, and her lackluster performance paled in comparison.

Overall, the 2016 VMAs didn’t deliver on its usual roundup of insane moments and stellar performances. This may not be something that MTV can necessarily control, but for next year they should at least try to keep the show organized with a host. And if MTV can’t even manage that, is a two-and-a-half-hour live Beyonce concert too much to ask?