Remember the name Hamish Hamilton.
He is the man responsible for digging an ever deeper grave for MTV. In other words, he was the director behind the debacle that was last night's Video Music Awards (I'm sure there's plenty of producers to blame, but the director is a much easier target).
And, while we're at it, the word "video" shouldn't even be used in the name of the show anymore because apparently the awards are certainly no longer bestowed upon the innovative and fresh mini-movies that once pioneered the medium. The past decade has clearly shown us that Moonmen are only handed out to those who reigned supreme on the Billboard charts or monopolized every Top 40 radio station from here to Nova Scotia.
Just when we thought MTV couldn't produce a more heinous awards ceremony, along came the 2007 edition. Calling it a hot mess would be an insult to the hot messes out there that worked hard at becoming hot messes.
Let us count the ways how the show failed miserably more than ever (fret not, I'll get to Britney in a minute):
Did they learn nothing from 2005's mess in Miami, the year when Diddy's ego got in the way of his hosting duties? Placing the ceremonies in Vegas, a city that's flashier than most of the performances, takes away from the heart of the show. MTV, your celebs seemed to be distracted, itching to leave their seats because either the slot machines were ringing, the bars were filling up, or the hookers were waiting.
MTV, go back to the auditoriums! Sporadically shooting the show around the Palms Casino and Resort was a pathetic attempt to revamp a television format that does not require revamping. Stick to the classic One Room: here's the audience, there's the main stage. Sure, the table-and-chairs idea was very Golden Globes, but please don't double the tables as platforms for performers (Chris Brown? Okay, possibly the saving grace of the night). Also, last night's confusing jumps from party room to party room throughout the resort didn't make the whole event feel "interactive." It just made it feel like we were watching a home video of a private party we weren't invited to. It was as if we were watching chaotic footage from a claustrophobic nightclub (New Year's Eve, anyone?). For once, we didn't wish we were there.
3. NEW CATEGORIES
Triple Threat of the Year? Monster Single of Year? Really, MTV? Call me crazy, but I thought video awards went to actual, y'know, videos. Is there an award for Worst Pitch for a New Way to Revitalize an Aging Youth Network?
4. NO HOST
The last time I remember enjoying the VMAs was back in 1999 when Chris Rock emceed at the Metropolitan Opera House in good 'ol reliable New York City. You need a host, VMAs. You need a father-or-mother figure to bring everyone back down to Earth every time a rap-metal band rips up the stage or a pop goddess dazzles us by stripping away her clothing in one swoop. You need someone to be there for us, to guide us through the chaos, to answer our Did-She-Just-Do-That? with a confirming head shake or witty commentary.
And now we turn to the night's highly anticipated opening act, Britney Spears...
All together now: What. Was. She. Thinking?
The trauma we experienced was unexpected. What we saw first was the bad weave. Then, it was the alien-blue contacts. Then, it was the unnecessary outfit that did little to hide the abs she thought she still had. Then, it was the actual performance. She acted as if she had never been on stage before. Yes, there was the obligatory lip-synching, but this time it was blatant and ridiculous. For the first time, her dancers had outperformed her. Her pelvic thrusts were limp. Her steps were awkward (damn those stiletto boots). Overall, the girl didn't seem to know what she was doing. Did she even care?
According to sources we tracked down immediately after the performance (remember, we were on the West Coast and behind the rest of the Americans who witnessed the horror live), MTV scrapped her original plan which involved famed magician Criss Angel (the current Mr. Cameron Diaz). Allegedly, Britney was supposed to float in mid-air along with her dancers in a number that proved to be to controversial for the cable network. Was this pitiful performance then put together at the last minute? Was this Britney's F-You to MTV? Did she fail...on purpose? Or was she so nervous about performing at the VMAs for the first time in four years that she overloaded on Xanax before stepping on stage? The critics (read: fans) are going to be harsh either way
(Perez Hilton? Hate all the way).
As for the rest of the mess:
Sarah Silverman, for the first time, bombed. You could hear crickets when she called Britney's babies "mistakes" and impersonated a vagina with her mouth. The audio on Pete Wentz's mic went out during his report from the Fall Out Boy party. Justin Timberlake made a public plea for MTV to play more videos - twice (JT, don't you get it by now? That joke is sooo six years ago). Beyonce looked as if she wanted to get the hell out of there after accepting a Moonman for "Beautiful Liar" (Shakira? She was "in Canada"). Nelly Furtado was on crack. Dr. Dre was on steroids. Kid Rock punched out Tommy Lee. And Nelly held an open cup of beer on camera for all underagers to see.
And yet there are those of us who come back and tune in every year to check out at least one possibly hot performance with the fading hope that the whole shebang won't suck as much as the previous year. And yet we're let down every year, bashed over the head by an increasingly irritating barrage of drunk rockers, incomprehensive hip-hop artists, and shoddy camerawork (the angles couldn't have been more unflattering).
VMAs, it's a long road to redemption. Can you, will you get it together and wise up?
Perhaps we'll find out once the bong smoke clears, the vomit is cleaned up, and every scantily clad twit goes home to sleep off the vodka.
Yours truly (disgusted),