Now that the awards have all been handed out and the VMAs have wrapped, we can figure out who the true winners and losers of the evening were. Yeah, we know who won Best Pop Video and Best Special Effects and whatnot, but who made the biggest news splash of the evening? Which hosts fell the flattest on their face? Who tried the hardest to keep the rock flame alive against tremendous evidence that the genre was fading from relevance? Only at Popdust can you find the true scorecard of MTV's biggest night, so take a flip through our slideshow-style list of some of the bests and worsts from the 20111 Video Music Awards:
BEST USE OF GEOMETRY: NICKI MINAJ & KATY PERRY
Nicki and Katy each could've taken far more superlatives, the former for "Super Bass" getting more long-overdue recognition and the latter for winning that tiny award at the end of the show. We think cubes are much more interesting; maybe we're just nostalgic for building blocks. We don't even care that Katy Perry's ensemble was a straightforward rip from Christian Dior--it worked then, it worked now.
WORST CASE OF BORDERLINE SEXUAL HARASSMENT: JO CALDERONE
We'll let Jo's increasingly lewd comments about Lady Gaga slide, because for those a) Grammys-and-VMAs TV-goers b) completely out of touch with reality, Jo Calderone is in fact Lady Gaga and cannot sexually harass herself. And that was the opener, several drunken rambles before Jo became annoying. We speak, of course, of the Britney Spears tribute-if-you're-generous. Any lingering ick from tweens acting out Brit's old dance moves was completely erased--you forgot about the kids until just now, didn't you?--by Jo going in for about fifteen kiboshed kisses while Britney tried, unconvincingly, to look carefree. We're not saying MTV didn't plan all or part of this nonsense, but we will say that Britney's acting resume does not convince us she can fake this level of discomfort.
BEST PLEA FOR MTV FANS NOT TO LET ROCK DIE COMPLETELY: FOO FIGHTERS
"Never lose faith in real rock and roll music," Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters begged the audience upon the group's Best Rock Video win for "Walk." "You might have to look a little harder, but it's always gonna be there." Maybe, but not at the VMAs—aside from the Foos' win and Young the Giant's live performance, rock was miserably under-represented at the ceremonies. Ironically, it's the Foos winning the moonman that's systemic of what's wrong with mainstream rock, as the maybe-12th best song and video from a nearly two-decades-old act beat out much worthier choices from young guns like Foster the People, Mumford & Sons and The Black Keys. "we just won an mtv award, turns out rock and roll is still alive," the group tweeted afterwards. Convincing.
WORST OFFENSE TO DEAD PEOPLE: LISA "LEFT EYE" LOPEZ & KURT COBAIN
What's more insulting: being a great rock musician with issues with domestic violence and needless commercialism witnessing his most famous song being averagely danced to by a domestic abuser, or being a great, genuinely outre R&B star witnessing her group's most famous song being subjected to an off-key massacre by an affectedly quirky, overhyped singer liked by maybe two people in the audience at most? At least Amy Winehouse's tribute was heartfelt.
BEST ENDORSEMENT FOR CURSING: TYLER, THE CREATOR
Tyler, the Creator has created quite the reputation for himself in only a few months, namely by filling his songs with misogynistic lyrics and threats to stab fellow artist Bruno Mars. After giving a typically candid Tyler interview on the black-carpet, where he explained he doesn't like Mars because he really doesn't like his music, the 20-year-old let all the swag and toughness subside inside the theater, sitting next to his mom and looking genuinely excited by his Best New Artist win. While his speech needed lots of help from the network's tape delay, he managed to fit in some inspirational message to all the kids at home. "Yo, I'm excited as fuck right now, yo," he said, with his mom standing and cheering from her seat. "I really can't believe I'm here right now. I didn't write a thank you speech. I don't know. Fuck. To all the kids watching, you can do this shit. Thank you." Winning a Moonman seemed to put him in a lovey dovey mood, as he went so far as to tweet something close to complimentary about his public foe. "Fuck I Hate Bruno But That Was Really Good," he said, following the singer's tribute to Amy Winehouse. Growing up before our eyes, ladies and gents!
WORST USE OF A FADING CELEBRITY: REBECCA BLACK
You knew Rebecca Black had to make an appearance at the Video Music Awards this year in some capacity, you just hoped it wouldn't be terribly degrading. But when you have a celebrity only known for doing one thing on an award show, there's only two directions you can go with it—getting them to do the one thing everyone knows them for, or having them do some completely random shit that makes no sense. Unfortunately, MTV went the latter route, and Rebecca dressed up as a Dougie-performing dinosaur for the pleasure of Joe Jonas. (Don't ask.) This might be the last time we see Rebecca Black until I Love the 2010's, and you hate to see her go out like this.
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE BY A BAND PROP: LMFAO SHUFFLE BOT
LMFAO were able to parlay the monster success of "Party Rock Anthem" into not only a high-profile introduction at the VMAs pre-show this year, but an appearance in a Kia Soul commercial that debuted during the ceremonies. Both times, the duo were upstaged by the group's Shuffle Bot, a cardboard-headed, "Intergalactic"-style robot whose dual purpose in life seems to be to perform the group's signature dance at will and to keep interviewers from having to talk to SkyBlu and RedFoo themselves any more than necessary. Shuffle Bot commanded all the attention during the duo's pre-show bit, and stole all the girls in the Kia Soul commercial—not bad for a day's shufflin', though we can't help be a little disappointed that he never took of his helmet to reveal that he was Rockwell underneath.
WORST NO-SHOW FROM A POP SUPERSTAR: RIHANNA
We're not saying "S&M" is Ri's greatest song, but it did hit No. 1, as did "What's My Name?" and "Only Girl (In the World)," all released since the last VMAs. And forget Ri's own work--every other pop singer these days is affecting her vocal style. Or if that's too studio-geeky for you, remember how unexpectedly awesome her Grammys performance with Drake was? Where was she, anyway? The Nicki Minaj video snippet doesn't count.
BEST DEBUT OF AN AUTO-TUNED REMIX: THE STATE FARM "HOT TUB" COMMERCIAL
For the dying generation of cable viewers that occasionally still which television live on TV, and thus have to sometimes sit through commercials, the State Farm "Can I Get a Hot Tub?" ad has become a cult classic not seen since the days of GEICO's "Tiny House." So for some of us, the first look at the minute-plus auto-tuned remix to the spot (now viewable in full here) was far more exciting a premiere than anything related to Nicki Minaj or The Hunger Games. Watching the kitchen table get shredded by the spontaneous existence of that hot tub never gets old, and believe us, we've tested it.
WORST AND MOST UNNECESSARY HOST: SELENA GOMEZ
Poor Selena. This really wasn't your fault. You're just a nice kid with a surprisingly solid album, none of which really prepares you to wrench the preshow's charisma back from dozens of fifteenth-minute semi-stars, camera bombers and Jersey Shore members. We know how hard it can be to act excited about some of these people, especially for someone 19 and green. Call it a life lesson: if somebody somehow ever asks you to host again, say no or send in a sacrificial Bieb in your place. Relationships come with privileges, right?
BEST BABY SHOWER: BEYONCE
The typically private Beyonce has been the subject of baby rumors ever since the public caught wind of her secret marriage to Jay-Z, with media fervor reaching new heights last year. After hinting at a baby bump on the VMA black-carpet, B decided to use her slotted performance of "Love On Top" to share her private news with the world, in a deeply personal reveal unlike anything we've seen from her before. Perhaps she's overwhelmed by all the new hormones surging through her body, was instructed by her husband Jay-Z (or Kanye West) to help promote their new album or, is simply just really excited. Normally we'd shake our heads at a tacky "me" moment, but those pure looks of joy radiating across Jay's face, plus the presence of happy, non-confrontational Kanye were simply to good to ignore. We just hope 'Ye knows how to share the Jiggaman's attention nine months from now.
WORST HOUSE ARTIST, LIKE, EVER: JESSIE J
In the words of Regina George, stop trying to make Jessie J happen, MTV. Jessie bravely soldiered on in her responsibilities as VMAs house artist last night despite breaking her leg earlier this month, but watching her off-key caterwauling through her own mediocre catalogue and pop classics from Cyndi Lauper and TLC that she was largely unworthy of covering, you wish she'd stayed at home eating chicken soup and watching Teen Mom marathons on TV instead. "Price Tag" was a hit but not nearly the smash everyone thought it would be, and her follow-up singles have have all belly-flopped. Why are we still pretending that this person matters?
BEST "YOU REALLY LIKE ME!" MOMENT: BRITNEY SPEARS
Sure Britney's Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance speech was kept criminally short before giving way to introducing Beyonce's showstopping, pregnancy-confirming performance of "Love On Top," but it was her win at the top of the night that we'll remember. After a history of being shut out at these things, Spears kicked the show off by taking home a Moonman for Best Pop Video for Femme Fatale smash "Till The World Ends." Of course we love the song, but it was her genuine emotion, something we haven't seen from Spears for quite some time—what's that strange liquid emerging from her tear ducts?—tha had us cheering. Despite the fear some may have of letting Britney-bot go off script, she eloquently thanked her babies and God, before walking backstage with her hardwear, giving us reason to to believe the end of world is in fact not near.
Any bests and/or worsts of your own to share? Let us know about it in the comments section.