Critic’s Notebook: At Video Audio Awards, a Lot to Appear Away From

August 26th, 2013

Mike Coppola/Getty Photographs for MTV

Katy Perry performs for the duration of the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards in Empire-Fulton Ferry Park on Sunday.

We knowledge issues in reactions now, rather than head on. As has grow to be the norm, the best way to engage with the 2013 MTV Video clip Music Awards, which aired on MTV Sunday night time from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, was to follow along with the slanderous jokes and instantly-available GIFs of memorable times on Twitter.

Within the arena, way too, it seemed as if not spending direct consideration was the norm, if the cutaway pictures throughout the present of the well-known and bored have been any indication – 1 Path studiously mute during the transient ‘NSync reunion, Drake averting his eyes as Miley Cyrus twerked, Rihanna scarcely relocating her head for any individual.

To be honest to the superstars trapped inside of the Barclays Centre, though, there was not considerably to seem at during the VMAs this calendar year, and even less explanation to look at it. An award display celebrating songs video clips that are nearly never aired on MTV, it is the ultimate thread connecting the MTV of Snooki and “Teen Mom” to its roots – this was the 30th once-a-year installment of the extravaganza. At this point, it serves mostly as an implicit rejoinder to the Grammys, a location in which the youngsters can perform safely with no concern of Adele stealing their lunch income and Moonman statues.

Given that, it must at bare minimum be both disturbingly loose, and also reflective of pop’s correct tidal waves. And yet both ended up only occasionally the case during this display, which lasted a little much more than two hrs, with seemingly twenty percent of that time provided over to Justin Timberlake, recipient of the Movie Vanguard award, and by the age curve of the room, a village elder. (He also received video clip of the year, for “Mirrors,” as anticlimactic a winner as this award present has at any time seen.)

Mr. Timberlake was on development in way, though: this was a banner yr for clumsy white appropriation of black tradition – the shambolic, trickster-esque efficiency by Ms. Cyrus, to whom no one particular has seemingly mentioned “no” for the previous 6 months or so, which incorporated loads of lewdness and a molestation of Robin Thicke the ubiquity of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, the clumsy and intensely well-known hip-hop duo, who had been recipients of 3 awards, like ideal hip-hop movie. They also done “Same Love,” their homosexual legal rights anthem, with the singer Mary Lambert, though when Jennifer Hudson emerged to duet the final portion of the music with Ms. Lambert, it felt like a sort of apologetic payment for the night’s whitewash. (For great evaluate, Eminem declared the information of his new album in commercials sponsored by Beats By Dre.)

This year’s ceremony was also a tribute to the stubborn persistence of pop. There was the extremely brief but nevertheless interesting reunion of ‘NSync, a team lots of artists in the crowd grew up on (to wit, Taylor Swift’s agog response shot). 4-fifths of Danity Kane, 1 of the teams made by Diddy on “Making the Band,” also introduced a reunion on the crimson carpet.

The award for artist to observe was gained by Austin Mahone, a ninth-generation Xerox of Justin Bieber. The British boy band One particular Course received best track of the summer time, a fourth-quarter fabrication of a category dreamed up by marketing executives. But even an award that faux should not have long gone to One particular Route above Daft Punk or Mr. Thicke, who was nominated for 4 awards for his resilient, buoyant “Blurred Strains,” and was both shut out and tasked with actively playing straight male to Ms. Cyrus’s wily narcissism for the duration of his efficiency.

The demonstrate also began and ended with the reigning ladies of pop. Woman Gaga opened with a frenzied, costume-adjust-happy rendition of “Applause” (which also appeared as the soundtrack to commercials for Kia) and Katy Perry shut the night energetically executing “Roar” in a boxing ring erected at the foundation of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Ms. Perry’s performance specifically stood out, as did Ms. Cyrus’s, although for opposite causes. There was also a pair of robust hip-hop performances by Kanye West, who emoted largely in silhouette, and Drake, who equally sang and rapped.

For each and every standout artistic instant, though, there was a questionable logistical one. At different factors, the present was bedeviled by slipshod editing, selective bleeping of offensive language, and intermittent issues with lights and, particularly throughout Mr. Timberlake’s profession-spanning medley, audio.

Bruno Mars’s functionality did not suffer from any of these mishaps – it was purposely unflashy, significantly like the guy himself, and it was also 1 of the best. On a present that had tiny use for it, it was a strong creative assertion – and no 1 appeared to notice.

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