After lackluster years in Miami and New York, MTV went west this year to seek its fortune for the Video Music Awards at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
But like most Vegas gaming rooms, the VMAs were filled with dizzying lights, an air of heightened anticipation, and very infrequent payouts.
The plan was to shake things up, but unfortunately it felt like MTV shook a little too hard.
As usual, the telecast was technically impressive as cameras smash cut to a half-dozen performance spaces, including the main stage, the Rain nightclub, and four chaotic, fan-packed “fantasy suite” parties headlined by Kanye West, Foo Fighters, Fall Out Boy, and BFFs Timbaland and Justin Timberlake, respectively.
But the frenetic pace – there’s 50 Cent rocking “Ayo Technology” with Justin and Tim! Look, Fall Out Boy is backing Rihanna on “Shut Up and Drive!” Hey, it’s Adam Levine of Maroon 5 doing “Wake Up Call” with uber DJ Mark Ronson and the house band! – was disorienting, and worse, meant that there were very few whole performances. While the parties looked like loads of fun for the revelers, full performances would have been welcome from West, the Foos, and Common. Adding to the ADD-encouraging clutter were on-screen directives urging viewers to text their votes for best new artist or to check out more action online. Phew. Can’t we just watch?