2011 MTV’s VMAs Preview

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The VMAs are coming up so soon – Sunday, August 28, 2011 – exactly one week from today. There’s been a lot of buzz about this year’s Video Music Awards. For starters, Katy Perry set a record by receiving 10 nominations for her videos “E.T.,” “Last Friday Night,” “Teenage Dream,” and “Firework.” Second, MTV introduced a new category this year that awards artists for their ability to empower listeners: Best Video With a Message. Third, an “epic” tribute to Britney Spears has been planned to honor the 29-year-old singer. Supposedly, included in this tribute will be Katy Perry performing “Oops! I Did it Again,” Lady Gaga performing “Circus,” Ke$ha and Nicki Minaj performing “Gimme More,” Demi Lovato performing “Toxic,” and Janet Jackson performing “I’m a Slave 4 U.” However, so far, all I can find is that these performances are rumors not approved by MTV just yet. Lastly, Lady Gaga has the extreme honor of opening the VMAs; as always, this performance should be both entertaining and a little bit scary.

Let’s see my picks for each nomination category:

Best New Artist Nominees:
1. Big Sean feat. Chris Brown – “My Last”
2. Foster the People – “Pumped Up Kicks”
3. Kreayshawn – “Gucci, Gucci”
4. Tyler, The Creator – “Yonkers”
5. Wiz Khalifa – “Black and Yellow”

My pick = Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks”

This category was really hard to pick a winner. Big Sean was out when I saw the Shallow Hal video that features nothing more than Big Sean sitting in a chair or on a balcony and Chris Brown doing the most uncreative dance moves ever witnessed. Kreayshawn was out when I realized how little talent existed in the video or the singing. Tyler, The Creator was out after I was too disgusted to continue watching after only fifty-eight seconds. Then, it came down to Foster the People and Wiz Khalifa and the decision had to be made based on artist rather than video because both videos lacked point and creativity. In my opinion, Foster the People is definitely the best new artist of the year so it gets my pick.

Best Pop Video Nominees:
1. Adele – “Rolling in the Deep”
2. Britney Spears – “Til the World Ends”
3. Bruno Mars – “Grenade”
4. Katy Perry – “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”
5. Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Nayer & Afrojack – “Give Me Everything”

My pick = Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”

I’m definitely one of the people who wants Katy Perry to win in each of the ten categories she was nominated. Even besides that though, “Last Friday Night” is definitely the best pop video of the year. It’s fun and entertaining. It’s 8 minutes of pure creativity. In this video, Rebecca Black makes an appearance along with Kenny G and Katy Perry introduces Kathy Beth Terry. In addition, the way Perry’s song climbed its way up to number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 definitely proves that it will get the number of votes necessary to win. However, I wouldn’t be upset if Britney Spears took home the best pop video VMA this year either.

Best Rock Video Nominees:
1. Cage the Elephant – “Shake Me Down”
2. Foo Fighters – “Walk”
3. Foster the People – “Pumped Up Kicks”
4. Mumford & Sons – “The Cave”
5. The Black Keys – “Howlin’ For You”

My pick = Foo Fighters’ “Walk”

There are a few good choices in this category. The Black Keys had a good attempt with their video for “Howlin’ for You,” and while it created a good plot for a movie, the video dedicated more time to a fake plot line than the song. Foster the People and Mumford & Sons created amazing songs and semi-good videos that I would love to see win, but they don’t compare to Foo Fighters’ “Walk.” The video for “Walk” is humorous, following the path of Dave Grohl as he suffers through a bad day to make it to band practice, and shows exactly how dedicated to music the band is.

Best Hip-Hop Video Nominees:
1. Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes – “Look At Me Now”
2. Kanye West feat Rihanna & Kid Cudi – “All of the Lights”
3. Lil Wayne – “6 Foot, 7 Foot”
4. Lupe Fiasco – “The Show Goes On”
5. Nicki Minaj – “Super Bass”

My pick = Kanye West feat Rihanna & Kid Cudi’s “All of the Lights”

I hate hip-hop videos because they usually serve no purpose and only exist to show off the artists ability to dance or be surrounded by hot females. “All of the Lights” gets my vote because it’s pretty simple and features a warning to beware of seizures at the beginning of the video. The video does exactly what you would expect it to do: feature a lot of bright and flashy lights. Looking at the other nominees, you realize there really is no other winner. Lil Wayne does a horrible attempt at stealing from the movie “Inception;” Nicki Minaj does a very poor attempt at choreography; Lupe Fiasco only walks down the longest hallway ever to a small show; finally, Chris Brown makes an attempt at an underground dance club, but I can’t see him winning.

Best Female Video Nominees:
1. Adele – “Rolling in the Deep”
2. Beyoncé – “Run the World (Girls)”
3. Katy Perry – “Firework”
4. Lady Gaga – “Born This Way”
5. Nicki Minaj – “Super Bass”

My pick = Katy Perry’s “Firework”

How many times can I boast about the same video? All of these videos are good, except Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” – I still can’t seem to find the magic in that video. My bias still slants towards Katy Perry. She is an amazing singer and her video is amazing. Simply stated. [Realizing now that this is technically the first time I’m reviewing “Firework,” but I chose it as my pick for many other categories so you’ll read about it soon.]

Best Male Video Nominees:
1. Bruno Mars – “Grenade”
2. Cee Lo Green – “Fuck You”
3. Eminem ft. Rihanna – “Love the Way You Lie”
4. Justin Bieber – “U Smile”
5. Kanye West – “All of the Lights”

My pick = Eminem feat Rihanna “Love the Way You Lie”

Even besides the fact that this video includes Megan Fox holding fire, this video is amazing and extremely powerful. It’s also extremely sexy. The other videos on this nomination list are just too innocent and naive to compare to “Love the Way You Lie.” Eminem’s video is exactly what a music video should be – it’s meaningful and perfectly visual. Bruno Mars, Cee Lo Green, and Justin Bieber absolutely don’t stand a chance in my mind, whereas Kanye West is just too simple to overcome Eminem.

Best Collaboration Nominees:
1. Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes – “Look At Me Now”
2. Kanye West feat Rihanna & Kid Cudi – “All of the Lights”
3. Katy Perry feat Kanye West – “E.T.”
4. Nicki Minaj – “Moment 4 Life”
5. Pitbull feat Ne-Yo, Nayer & Afrojack – “Give Me Everything”

My pick = Katy Perry feat Kanye West “E.T.”

It came to Pitbull, Ne-Yo, Nayer & Afrojack versus Katy Perry & Kanye West. To me, there isn’t anything too spectacular about the video for “E.T.” compared to the rest of Katy Perry’s videos. It’s still good, don’t get me wrong, but much better things have come out of Katy Perry alone. However, compared to the list of other nominees, it still wins my vote. It has a lot of great effects and costumes whereas Chris Brown is wearing snow googles while dancing underground, “All of the Lights” is too simple, Nicki Minaj… is just no, and Pitbull created a video with absolutely no point. However, it wouldn’t shock me that this summer’s most overplayed song will win: “Give Me Everything.”

Video of the Year Nominees:
1. Adele – “Rolling in the Deep”
2. Beastie Boys – “Make Some Noise”
3. Bruno Mars – “Grenade”
4. Katy Perry – “Firework”
5. Tyler, The Creator – “Yonkers”

My pick = Katy Perry’s “Firework”

The winner has to be chosen between Adele and Katy Perry. A lot of people are saying that Adele will win because “Firework” is “old,” but I don’t think that’s the case at all. “Firework” was one of the best and overplayed songs of the summer and the video is absolutely amazing. In addition, Katy Perry is too big news to be considered “old.” Overall, I seriously think “Firework” deserves video of the year and will be really disappointed if it doesn’t win.

Best Video with a Message Nominees:
1. Eminem feat Rihanna – “Love the Way You Lie”
2. Katy Perry – “Firework”
3. Lady Gaga – “Born This Way”
4. P!nk – “Fucking Perfect”
5. Rise Against – “Make It Stop (September’s Children)”
6. Taylor Swift – “Mean”

My pick = Katy Perry’s “Firework”

The first four songs on this nomination list are beautiful enough to win. Enimem and Rihanna successfully show the hardships of a physically abusive relationship. Lady Gaga relays the message of how important it is to be yourself in a religious way. P!nk sings about something similar and encourages listeners to never put themselves down. Then there’s the two that I just kicked off the list that just aren’t powerful enough to compete. However, Katy Perry wins in my mind (shocker?). Perhaps I’m bias because this song was my graduation video and really spoke to me, but “Firework” delivers the most powerful message in the most metaphoric way. The video definitely delivers this message visually as each character’s story ends with a firework shooting out of his or her chest: “Baby, you’re a firework. Come on, let your colors burst.”

Non-voting categories (a little less detailed):

Best Art Direction Nominees:
1. Adele – “Rolling in the Deep”
2. Death Cab for Cutie – “You Are a Tourist”
3. Kanye West feat Dwele – “Power”
4. Katy Perry feat Kanye West – “E.T.”
5. Lady Gaga – “Judas”

My pick = Katy Perry feat Kanye West – “E.T.”

The costumes are pretty much the reason I give it to Katy Perry and Kanye West (also, it’s Katy Perry). They look amazing in this video. They scream futuristic which is exactly what they’re supposed to be doing.

Best Choreography Nominees:
1. Beyoncé – “Run the World (Girls)”
2. Britney Spears – “Till the World Ends”
3. Bruno Mars – “The Lazy Song”
4. Lady Gaga – “Judas”
5. LMFAO – “Party Rock Anthem”

My pick = Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends”

No one dances better than Britney Spears and her dancers. Beyoncé and LMFAO may have some good choreography going in their videos, but it’s not to the Britney Spears level. Let Brit have her award – she’s got way more experience and has worked her way back up to the top. She deserves it.

Best Cinematography Nominees:
1. 30 Seconds to Mars – “Hurricane”
2. Adele – “Rolling in the Deep”
3. Beyoncé – “Run the World (Girls)”
4. Eminem feat Rihanna – “Love the Way You Lie”
5. Katy Perry – “Teenage Dream”

My pick = Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”

I actually just saw this video for the first time when I saw it was nominated for a VMA. To define cinematography: the art of making motion pictures. With that definition, I leave it to either “Love the Way You Lie” or “Teenage Dream.” I chose “Teenage Dream” not because of its affiliation with Katy Perry, but because it seems to do a better job creating a motion picture simply. There’s a lot of editing in “Love the Way You Lie” whereas “Teenage Dream” seems perfectly simple and realistic.

Best Direction Nominees:
1. 30 Seconds to Mars – “Hurricane”
2. Adele – “Rolling in the Deep”
3. Beastie Boys – “Make Some Noise”
4. Eminem feat Rihanna – “Love the Way You Lie”
5. Katy Perry feat Kanye West – “E.T.”

My pick = Eminem feat Rihanna – “Love the Way You Lie”

I fell in love with this video the day I saw it. It has real actors in it and Megan Fox is holding fire. Clearly, a lot of effort went into this video and it deserves all the credit. I think this video was perfectly directed to create an extremely powerful video.

Best Editing Nominees:
1. 30 Seconds to Mars – “Hurricane”
2. Adele – “Rolling in the Deep”
3. Kanye West feat Rihanna & Kid Cudi – “All of the Lights”
4. Katy Perry feat Kanye West – “E.T.”
5. Manchester Orchestra – “Simple Math”

My pick = Katy Perry feat Kanye West – “E.T.”

Again, I’m voting for Katy and Kanye. The lights are there, they’re flying, the costumes are great, the make-up is great. There’s no way that this video didn’t require hours upon hours of editing. There’s no way Kanye West’s “All of the Lights” can win – I could have made it on my computer with a little iMovie effects.

Best Special Effects Nominees:
1. Chromeo – “Don’t Turn the Lights On”
2. Kanye West feat Dwele – “Power”
3. Katy Perry feat Kanye West – “E.T.”
4. Linkin Park – “Waiting for the End”
5. Manchester Orchestra – “Simple Math”

My pick = Katy Perry feat Kanye West – “E.T.”

You cannot deny that this video has the best special effects. Kanye West and Katy Perry are flying, duh. That’s all the reason I need to give you. Also, who are Chromeo and Manchester Orchestra?
So, there it is. My picks for the Video Music Awards. I could be wrong – I mean, I did vote for Katy Perry in nine of the ten categories she’s nominated in and I’m not sure that’s entirely realistic. I’ll be here on Sunday, August 28th for live updating (something I’ve realized not many websites give you on awards’ nights).

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2 responses »

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  2. Pingback: Live Coverage of the 2011 VMAs « Music Reviews from the Underskilled.

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