The 2015 MTV Music Video Awards were an experience, to say the least. We got to see Miley's nipple, Bieber's tears and Kanye announced he would be running for president in 2020 (yes, this actually happened).
The annual spectacle is always a highlight in the music world, for better or worse, and tonight's show did its best to shoot for the latter, attempting to shock it's way into the history books of awards show insanity. Here's a recap of everything you didn't want to miss, and everything you're probably better off without, from Sunday night's show.
Kanye announced he's running for president in 2020
In a night full of huge moments, the biggest came when Kanye accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award from Taylor Swift. Given to artists who have made a profound effect on the MTV culture, the award celebrated Kanye's illustrious career and, fortunately for everyone watching, a chance to speak his mind to an audience of millions. After touching on his infamous moment with Swift from years ago, he launched into a diatribe about his career, and the public perception he's carried, admitting he's wondered whether he would have done some things differently if given the chance. It was a truly memorable speech, if not for its bashing of awards shows or his passion at furthering art and creativity, for his odd references to "fruit juice" or his liberal use of "bro." Oh, and because he announced he's going to be running for president in 2020!
Yes, after admitting that he may have smoked a little something before the night's events, he told the world that he would be running for president, something I'm sure we'll be reminded of constantly for the forseeable future. The Internet collectively lost its shit upon the announcement.
Kendrick was a lot less involved then everyone expected
People were expecting huge things from Kendrick Lamar at this year's VMAs. His "Alright" video was nominated four times, out of a total of thirteen nominations. But not only did Kendrick not perform, he wasn't even at the show.
It's true that he's now the co-owner of a Video of the Year award, but it's a tad less meaningful when it comes in the form of a guest spot on a Taylor Swift record. "Alright" lost out to Nicki's "Anaconda" for Best Hip-Hop Video and we're left with yet another year of Kendrick being ousted on the biggest stage in favor of the mainstream. Rap Twitter predictably voiced its outrage, though it should be noted that his Flying Lotus collaboration, "Never Catch Me," won for Best Cinematography and that "Alright" picked up the win for Best Direction. Still, though...
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis went "Downtown"
The duo performed their latest single ouside, in downtown Los Angeles, with plenty of mopeds, clapping and appearances from Kool Moe Dee, Grandmaster Caz and Melle Mel. However, it was pretty awkward when Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars accepted their Best Male Video award for "Uptown Funk" only minutes later, considering the incredible similarities between the two records/videos.
The Weeknd couldn't feel his face
Michael Jackson reborn The Weeknd has done a masterful job of claiming the throne as R&B's current king, despite the obvious pop direction in which his sound is progressing. Sunday night's performance was good, and while it was nothing spectacular, it received a big boost on account of the overall low quality of the remainder of the show. While I was personally wondering if he might showcase some hardcore dedication and actually light himself on fire, he achieved the next best thing by simply having fire around him. I guess that works too.
Justin Bieber cried
Okay, that might be a little harsh, but he did shed some tears at the conclusion of his performance. Bieber 2.0 is attempting to shed his prepubescent boy superstar image in favor of EDM man superstar, and the next step after crafting a smash hit with Skrillex and Diplo is rocking all black and Yeezy Boosts to perform at the VMAs. It says something that in a night of crazy, Bieber was perhaps one of the most understated acts.
Pharrell was free
There are few certainties in life, among them death, taxes, Miley Cyrus nipple pasties and Cap'n Crunch tearing up the roof of your mouth. Also on that list? Dope Pharrell performances. Sunday night's showing was no different, as Skateboard P took to the outdoor stage to perform "Freedom," ensuring that Kanye wasn't the only one to speak empowering words.
A$AP Rocky and Twenty One Pilots combined genres
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Pretty Flacko took the stage with rock duo Twenty One Pilots, and though the performance was heavy on rhymes it was still an energized mash-up of two genres that didn't sound overly forced. It is a little questionable that maybe the most rap-heavy piece of the evening came as part of a rock mash-up, though. The better Rocky moment of the evening, however, happened when Miley shouted his name out - something he obviously didn't seem too enthused about.
Fetty Wap wins big, and isn't even in the building
Congratulations to Fetty Wap, as music's biggest blow-up took home the win for Artist to Watch (which is admittedly not too prestigious-sounding). Unfortunately, the 1738 Remy Boy wasn't in the house to accept. I think it's safe to assume that Fetty Wap has already bypassed whatever stage of an artist's career where one would care about a VMA win. That or he's just on tour with Chris Brown right now. SMH.
Taylor Swift did what Taylor Swift does
To the surprise of no one, T-Swift was everywhere. The night started off with Nicki and Taylor "squashing their beef" and they performed together for the show's opening as Minaj brought Swift out for "The Night Is Still Young." Later, she presented Kanye's award and then stood in an embrace with Kim for the duration of Ye's rant. She ended up winning awards for the Best Female Video and Video of the Year with Kendrick.
Miley Cyrus was a circus act
Say what you will about Miley Cyrus as an outstanding human being who fights for a variety of social issues, all that is fine. The host of Sunday's VMAs predictably relied on shock and awe to spread a sloppy agenda of shock appeal to the masses. As a devout opponent of censorship, and an open-minded individual rarely offended or left speechless, even I was shaking my head at Miley's antics, and the show in general.
For the most part, MTV should be embarrassed, as the night was a gimmicky, distasteful showcase of the more negative aspects of the youth culture. Freedom, individuality and legalization all have their merits, but rather than take a refined stand on any, the 2015 VMAs chose instead to slap us in the face repeatedly with an aura of "FUCK YOU, SMOKE POT AND FLASH YOUR TITS OR YOU'RE LAME" in abrasive and unrelenting fashion. Oh, and while it's hard to know how seriously to take their "beef," Nicki Minaj fully flexed on Miley for a dispute they've been having through the press. So all in all, yes, Miley's tenure was a circus, minus the fin things about an actual circus.
Here's the full list of 2015 VMA winners from Sunday's show:
Video of the Year: Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar - "Bad Blood"
Artist to Watch: Fetty Wap
Best Video With a Social Message: Big Sean ft. Kanye West & John Legend - "One Man Can Change The World"
Best Female Video: Taylor Swift - "Blank Space"
Best Male Video: Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, "Uptown Funk"
Best Hip-Hop Video: Nicki Minaj - "Anaconda"
Best Pop Video: Taylor Swift, "Blank Space"
Best Rock Video: Fall Out Boy, "Uma Thurman"
Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award: Kanye West
[By Brendan Varan. He's getting an MRI to make sure his brain is fully functional after watching this year's VMAs. Follow him on Twitter.]