Entertainment behind the scenes
Britney Spears returns to scene of the crime at MTV Awards
For the second year in a row, Britney Spears took center stage at Sunday’s event, winning all three categories in which she was nominated, including the coveted video of the year.
Unfortunately, her triumph could be overshadowed by the failure of MTV’s hype machine.
After weeks of speculation, the cable channel confirmed a few days ago that Spears would open the show. No, she would not sing, but the network promised something fun and unexpected.
What viewers got was a drawn-out prerecorded skit in which the ungainly actor Jonah Hill used mind-control techniques to try to kiss her. Then we were treated to her brief, real-time trek from the dressing room to the stage, surrounded by flustered handlers. Once in the spotlight, she awkwardly held her microphone over much of her face, and delivered four groundbreaking sentences.
“Thank you so much. Thank you for all the love. I’m here tonight to celebrate a very important birthday, the 25th anniverary of the VMAs. This is the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards and it starts right now.”
She went on to win the first three “Moonman” statuettes of her career, but her acceptance speeches were pretty bland. It’s hard to imagine that she showed up without a guarantee that she would win some hardware. How much more humiliation can the cable channel dish out to her following her disastrous lip-synch at last year’s show?
To be fair, no one really cares who wins at MTV’s flagship kudocast. It’s all about the performances and the drama and the fashion. Even with “real” awards shows like the Oscars and the Grammys, the key winners are usually erased from the public consciousness within a day or so.
Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, Pink and Kid Rock delivered memorable performances. (Disclaimer: Kid Rock’s performance of “All Summer Long,” a mashup of Sweet Home Alabama and Werewolves of London, was the only song I knew.)
On-stage fireworks were limited to a rather silly controversy initiated by host Russell Brand about the Jonas Brothers’ chastity vows. Jordin Sparks, Ashley Tisdale and Paris Hilton quickly came to the boys’ defence.
Ashley and Paris came back to the chilly, distant soundstage where the humble reporters were uncomfortably sequestered next to the photographers. They deigned to talk to us. People like Britney and LL Cool J ignored us as they made a bee line for the photo area.
A dance troupe called Fanny Pack executed a series of wacky poses for photograpers, but no one took their photos. No reporters were interested in talking to them.
The Pussycat Dolls posed with their Moonman statuette for best dancing in a video (a somewhat dubious accolade). Nicole Scherzinger, who had custody of the statuette, stayed on the podium posing long after her bandmates had left.
- Reporting by Dean Goodman