2010 MTV Video Music Awards

Dave Iannacone

Going into the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, hopes were high for an amazing and memorable night. With a great lineup of performers and presenters, Chelsea Handler hosting, and the Kanye/Taylor Swift debacle still fresh on everyone’s mind, this year’s show was almost guaranteed to be full of great surprises, amazing music, and (hopefully) a few screwballs thrown into the mix. Unfortunately, the show failed to live up to expectations. Handler, who stars in her popular talk show Chelsea Lately on E! was the perfect host for the event, because she fearlessly poked fun at almost every major nominee in attendance over the course of the night.

Lady Gaga, left, accepts the award for Video of the Year from Cher at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

The performances were about 50/50 this year. Eminem kicked off the show with an amazing medley of his number one singles “Not Afraid” and “Love the Way You Lie,” where the show’s only surprise guest, Rihanna, joined him. Usher also performed a medley of his hits “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love” and “OMG” with an absolutely incredible light show and high-energy choreography, which not only showed his experience, but talent as well. While many people might not know Florence + the Machine, the group made everyone aware of their existence with their elaborate performance of “Dog Days Are Over.” Both Taylor Swift and Kanye West debuted new songs at the show, both seemingly written about last year’s incident. Swift’s song, “Forgiveness” was a clear peace offering to West, with the performance even starting off with a clip from her interrupted speech. Kanye ended the show with his new song “Runaway,” which showed a rare, humble side of him owning up to his actions. While the song itself may have missed the mark, he left the stage with the audience chanting his name.
Other performances included Linkin Park’s new single “The Catalyst” and a medley that featured the B.o.B. hits “Nothin’ on You” and “Airplanes” featuring Bruno Mars and Haley Williams of Paramore, respectively, which led right into Paramore’s “The Only Exception.” While the performance was strong, the songs were cut so much to fit for time that it almost didn’t seem worth it, especially seeing as B.o.B. was one of the least featured parts of his own headlining performance. Another performance that missed the mark was Drake featuring Mary J. Blige and Swizz beats on “Fancy.” It was really hard to call this a “Drake performance” at all, seeing as Blige sang a majority of the song. Probably the worst performance of the evening was teen singing sensation Justin Bieber, who unfortunately couldn’t mask his lip-syncing well and managed to lose a drum stick early on in his (already impressive) drunk solo. Overall, the good performances were good and the bad ones were bad, but nothing really stood out as being amazing. The lack of surprises was also incredibly disappointing, seeing as the VMAs are known for those great moments.
As far as the awards go, it was pretty close to being a clean sweep for Lady Gaga, who took home 8 moonmen, including Video of the Year, Best Pop Video, and Best Collaboration, as well as awards for Best Direction, Choreography, and Editing. After Cher (dressed in an outfit most 64 year olds should not be wearing) handed out the award for Video of the Year, Gaga revealed the title of her upcoming album, Born This Way and proceeded to sing a snippet of a new song (seemingly the title track.) Other big winners included Eminem, who took home two awards for “Not Afraid,” while Justin Bieber was crowned Best New Artist for his hit “Baby.”
Overall, the 2010 VMAs were a series of hits and misses as usual, but it unfortunately lacked the spark of previous ceremonies. There were no shocking or monumental moments like everyone was hoping for, but it wasn’t exactly a complete failure. If anything, this was the calm before the storm, and next year’s show should be full of everything this year’s lacked.