You didn't need to watch the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night to know exactly what was going down, with far better and more colorful commentary and variety than the program itself had to offer. With a hobbled Jessie J leading the house band through various covers going into and out of the endless stream of commercials (seriously, I'm never eating Taco Bell again), the show was certainly a skippable mess in which MTV pretended to care about music again for one night. What wasn't skippable, however, was the Twitter conversations that took place in real time as the events unfolded.
It's 2011, the age of the real-time worldwide experience, yet MTV still thinks it makes any sense whatsoever to throw a three-hour delay on the West coast feed. Hell, thanks to Twitter half the world knew before the show even aired that Katy Perry would take Video Of The Year for "Firework," that her & Kanye West would win Best Collaboration for their "E.T." jam, and that Foo Fighters were on the winner's list for Best Rock Video for their new single "Walk". We didn't need to wait for the awkward intro by Britney Spears to find out that Lady Gaga would win Best Video With a Message and Best Female Video for "Born This Way".
Oh, and the fact that Lady Gaga dressed as a man as she posed as "Joe Calderone" for a strange monologue intro? Bizarre. She never once broke character the entire evening. The commentary had us all in stitches, with claims she was impersonating actor Adam Goldberg doing a Marisa Tomei impersonation, among other colorful interpretations.
Although losing Video of the Year to Katy, Adele came away a big winner with a total of four awards: Best Art Direction, Editing, Cinematography, and Direction, for her "Rolling in the Deep" video. She also sang "Someone Like You," and it was four minutes of sonic ambien.
Beyonce's pregnant, revealing what appears to be about a 4-month baby bump as she strutted her stuff to a fantastic 80s-styled neo-soul blast of "Love on Top" that marked the talent high point of the night. At the end of her set, she popped opened the jacket to her sequined-blazer-and-tuxedo-shirt combo, caressing her belly with a smile. The cameras cut to Jay-Z, who was beaming with pride as Kanye excitedly laughed alongside him – with Gaga acting manly next to Tony Bennett in the background.
Another significant moment came during Jay-Z & Kanye West's "surprise" collaborative performance of the Watch The Throne track "Otis," complete with pyrotechnics and a massive American flag. Just the way the two men orbited one another onstage made it difficult not to want to go buy tickets to The Throne tour immediately.
After a passionless tribute to Amy Winehouse, crooner Bruno Mars knocked out a fantastic rendition of the late songstress' track "Valerie," complete with four-part backup harmonies. Tremendous stuff. It was the opposite of the tribute itself, which after a strange introduction by Russell Brand and a disconnected sentiment from Tony Bennett, showed that the gravity of Winehouse's limited but tremendous accomplishment just doesn't pull strongly enough to earn more than a cursory reflection.
You don't need the play-by-play – that's what the Twitter experience was for. See below for the winners list, and dig into #VMAs for the tiniest tidbits and 140-character hilarity.
2011 MTV VMAs Winners:
Video of the Year: Katy Perry, "Firework"
Best Female Video: Lady Gaga, "Born This Way"
Best New Artist: Tyler, The Creator, "Yonkers"
Best Male Video: Justin Bieber, "U Smile"
Best Collaboration: Katy Perry featuring Kanye West, "E.T."
Best Hip-Hop Video: Nicki Minaj, "Super Bass"
Best Rock Video: Foo Fighters, "Walk"
Best Pop Video: Britney Spears, "Till the World Ends"
Best Video With A Message: Lady Gaga, "Born This Way"
Best Choreography: Beyoncé, "Run the World (Girls)"
Best Visual Effects: Katy Perry featuring Kanye West, "E.T."
Best Art Direction: Adele, "Rolling in the Deep"
Best Editing: Adele, "Rolling in the Deep"
Best Cinematography: Adele, "Rolling in the Deep"