The 2011 MTV Video Music Awards
  • MONDAY, AUGUST 29, 2011

  • Posted by: Joe Puglisi

MTV has grown a lot since the first Moonman was given out in 1984. The network has since dropped "music" from its acronym (simply claiming "MTV" as enough of a brand), attracted millions of viewers, fans, and artists to the VMA stage, gained a significant amount of clout and funding, and spawned more than its fair share of controversies and watercooler chatter. So it only makes sense that MTV's flagship awards show, the one celebrating the very thing MTV was created to air, is an elongated pat-on-the-back/cry for attention from today's most aggressively celebrated musicians (and a few choice celebrities related to tween culture and/or MTV's programming). The cast of Jersey Shore got as much screen time as most of the nominees, so there's that.

The show's narrative has devolved into a series of tweetable moments, like Lady Gaga spending the entire show in her trannie Elvis character, Beyonce announcing her pregnancy, Russel Brand doing stand-up comedy about Amy Winehouse's death, the list goes on and on. But despite the attention grabs, the award still holds value, and the performances are still some of the most talked about on television. So let's talk about them!

We apologize in advance for the probably inconsistency of all of these videos working/getting removed/working again.

Lady Gaga kicked the evening off with her "You and I" manboy character (it has a name—Jo Calderone?) dancing in a sea of greasemonkeys, marking the only time in human history that someone has one-upped themselves in ridiculousness after literally wearing a meat-costume to an awards show. Congratulations? Queen's Brian May plays guest guitar:



Jay-Z and Kanye made a "surprise" appearance to perform "Otis" off their recent collab Watch The Throne. The only thing I found myself watching was Kanye dodging the over-the-top pyrotechnics. As it turns out, bursts of flames were the only thing that was hot about this performa—(gunshot).



Ne-Yo sounded great while performing with rap's token knock-knock joke, Pitbull. Then Adele must have been sponsored by Kleenex or something, because DAMN. Somehow true talent always finds a way to shine at this thing, even if it's just for a brief tear-jerking riff.

Get More: 2011 VMA, Music, Adele



Chris Brown performed a dance routine that could have been choreographed by Ang Lee. Then a bunch of 12 year olds dressed up like Britney Spears through the ages to perform a tribute. While presenting the Lifetime Original Moonman or whatever its called to Britney, Lady Gaga (sorry, I mean Jo) tried to kiss Ms. Spears and got shut down. It could have been this year's "thing"! Beyonce performed, same usual fierceness. And then our boys Young The Giant made an appearance and totally killed it.



Also check out our interview with the band.

Bruno Mars was great in his Amy Winehouse tribute performance, doing the whole doo-wop thing. Tyler The Creator won Best New Artist (best new HUH?), and Katy Perry walked away with the big one — Video of The Year for "Firework", probably decided by Youtube viewcount. Yeah, that's the one where fireworks shoot out of her boobs. The end.

Oh, and Lil Wayne performed, but it was really just a lot of auto-tune and jumping around with his pants half off.

The show was followed by a sneak peak of MTV's new show I Just Want My Pants Back, which coincidentally is kinda how we feel about MTV. Until next year, VMAs!

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