I did both. Quite often, actually.
I’m not going to rehash the entire spectacle, primarily because I am still trying to bleach the images of Miley Cyrus from my head. I had nightmares that included a foam finger chasing Robin Thicke….not something I ever wish to dream about again, and if I could slap Miley this morning, I would. The girl needs to find some class and maturity, quickly. It’s OK to be shocking. The popularity of rock and roll has always been based on a certain amount of shock and envelope pushing. I’ve watched everything from Prince appearing in backless pants to Madonna and Britney smooching it up for publicity. I survived, and while those events were certainly shocking in their time – it just didn’t have whatever it was that I saw last night. Maybe I’m just old, and I own that…but I just think that if you’re going to go that route, it might be helpful to have some talent to back it up. Unfortunately, Miss Cyrus has neither talent nor class at this moment, and she doesn’t have the wisdom of age to let her know that she’s just being an ass. Sad.
There were relatively few highlights in the show for me last night (I will readily admit that I gave up and went to bed just before Katy Perry hit the stage. By that time – I’d had more than my fair share.), but I will admit here for all to see that Justin Timberlake’s performance was *the* best part of the show. (well, actually Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video was my favorite part – but performance-wise, I’ll give it to not-the-real-JT.) Yes, you read that right – I actually liked Justin’s performance. That said, it would have been better had he not lip synched 90% of it and not relied on his backing track – but hey, you try dancing like that and singing at the same time. No Simon, that “dancing” to Skin Trade or your Notorious karate-movements do not count. Honestly though, the highlight for me came during a 45 second (or so it seemed) portion of his 20-minute performance when the members of NSYNC joined him onstage. I’m such a sucker for nostalgia, even when it comes by way of a boy group singing “Bye Bye Bye”. There is no hope for me.
Another point worth mentioning that should hit all the hearts and heads of Duranies ’round the world was during One Direction’s acceptance speech. They won the category of “Song of Summer” – which was an online voting category, and as any good boy group does – they had a legion of fans voting their way to victory. Their song, entitled “Best Song Ever”, is not one I’ve actually heard before, but then – I try and avoid pop however possible. My kids aren’t top 40 people, although my youngest is proving to be a bit of a traitor in that regard because as the group stood up to receive their award, my little one proudly announced that she’s “A really big fan of that group, mommy!” Skeptic as I am, I asked about her favorite song. She gave me a one-million watt grin, and sang “…that’s because you’re beautiful.” in near-perfect tune.
I’m in big trouble…. but not in as much trouble as One Direction might have been last night with the VMA audience.
As they walked up to the stage, amongst the applause, I could hear booing. Wait, booing?? This coming from the crowd who tolerated Miley’s lewd and lascivious molestation of Robin Thicke…as well as several teddy bears/dancers?? Really?? I perked up at this point, because just as I was shocked, I think it was clear that One Direction was just as surprised by the chilly reception. I will give the group credit, because while I think they were at least spooked, it could have gone so much worse had they commented on it, but instead they quickly got through their thank-yous and left the stage. Not an easy night for the group.
The interesting point here is that the award was earned by voting, and it was their fans that won the award for them. Like nearly any boy group/boy band I’ve ever heard of – One Direction has an army of young teen fans behind them. Sound at all familiar? The critics don’t like the group, and apparently – their peers (or whomever I would consider to be their peers at this point), aren’t in love with the group either. Now, I’m not going to comment on their talent, or whether or not I believe in the virtues of a corporate-created group…there have been many before this group came along and I’m sure there will be many more to come, but I do have to talk about the fans, because let’s face it – if you’re reading this blog, you’ve been there.
I won’t lie, there was a part of me that felt for the group last night. I did, because even IF the group is incredibly talented, and even IF they outdo every other boy group before them – the plain and simple fact is that because they have a young teenage following, no one will ever take them seriously. Maybe they shouldn’t be taken seriously, I really don’t know – but they won’t ever be given the chance anyway. They might be a smashing financial success for Simon Cowell, but beyond that? I think we all know the way this is going to go. My goodness, Duran Duran even played instruments. They were innovative beyond measure when it came to their sound, look and video, and to this day, critics either pan them or ignore them. They’re coined a “nostalgia” act even when we all know that’s pretty far from reality. My point really isn’t to say that they’re a great boy group and should be given credit, it’s that 1. They’ll never get credit no matter whether it’s deserved or not. 2. I know what it’s like to be one of those teenage fans.
Last night, Tyler Glenn from Neon Trees was tweeting during the VMA’s. He tweeted that he’d never heard “Best Song Ever”, and was surprised that One Direction had won. Fair enough, I was surprised as well until I understood HOW the voting was done. Well, Tyler was apparently inundated after that comment with replies from One Direction fans – and let me just say – the ones he retweeted were not kind. They were the kind of replies I’ve seen during times like a certain band being announced as performing during an Olympic Festival at Hyde Park and a reporter writing a story about such news, expressing her displeasure. Mr. Glenn then responded, saying that he was going to delete his tweet about the award because “a certain bands fanbase is cray and I don’t have the time”. I can’t blame him. The responses to him WERE tinged with craziness, and a whole lot of disrespect as well.
Funny how it all looks when you’re an innocent bystander. Someone responded back to him saying that they weren’t at all “cray”…just very devoted and loyal.
Oh, I have no doubt. None. Let’s face it, had it been Duran Duran up there on stage last night – after we’d all finished having heart attacks from the shock of the band getting an award again – we’d have taken to social media ready to take down any dissenter in our path. I’ve seen it too many times over the years to think it’d be any different. So while I’m no One Direction fan, there is a part of me that understands….and I’m almost willing to go see their movie (I said almost!), just to see how much of that insanity reminds me of my own.
I’m really not sure how many more years I’ll decide to endure the MTV VMA’s. I saw many, many comments on twitter last night about the award show’s lack of relevance…and I must agree. For a channel that is so bent on NOT being a music channel to continue an award show that is dangerously teetering on the edge of being more of a circus than a genuine award show makes no real sense, and only continues to make the channel more of a pop culture joke. It is that fact, not Miley Cyrus, not NSYNC, and certainly not One Direction that continues to bruise the industry.