The Washington Post

The most awkward moments at the VMAs

Who are you, what happened to your foot and why are you doing that to these popular songs? (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Because nobody fell or vomited onstage we're going to consider VMAs 2011 a success, though the ceremony raised more questions than it answered, such as:

Will Beyonce have a wind machine in the delivery room? Is her pregnancy the reason why the set was designed to look like an enormous birth canal? Does Cloris Leachman really know what that three-letter acronym means? Yes, possibly and no, are our guesses. Successful or not, the 2011 ceremony still had its share of awkward moments. Let's run them down.

6. Jessie J exists

The British R&B singer was seated on a white, throne-like contraption throughout the show, from which she would provide off-key versions of beloved hits as the show was thrown to commercial. MTV's insistence on trying to make Jessie J happen, against America's explicit wishes to the contrary, was baffling. By the end, Jessie J seemed cognizant of how she was going over. Maybe she checked Twitter, which was full of tweets such as "Jessie J desiste, você não vai cantar nenhuma música toda" (which is Portuguese for "Jessie J gives up, you will not sing any music throughout"). Anyway, after a while leaving her out there just seemed mean.

5. Adele looks sad

Her performance was predictably superb, but she was one of the only nominees who seemed visibly disappointed to lose (or even interested one way or the other). In almost every reaction shot for the rest of the night she looked miserable and regal, like a sad Kate Middleton, barely able to muster a golf clap.

Is everything all right, Biebs?(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

Weezy's Jessie J-like insistence on trying to make rock stardom happen is unsettling, as is his obvious use of AutoTune. Someone should tell him that animal pant-jeggings aren't very rock and roll. Neither is brutalizing a guitar that you haven't really learned how to play yet. This, combined with his new, sad-people-running-down-hallways video makes us worry about him.

3. Justin Bieber is off, somehow

What is with him? He looked confused and irritated throughout, and conducted a weird pre-show interview in which he joked with girlfriend Selena Gomez about his snake named Johnson while holding a snake named Johnson (which is two more entendres than we thought he was capable of), making us less convinced than ever that these two are actually dating.

2. Chris Brown is forgiven

Since he ascended heavenward wearing a white suit while the audience rapturously applauded, we're guessing his re-introduction into polite society is now officially complete. The evening's most appalling moment: The inclusion of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" into his medley. Nirvana would have had no interest in being commemorated by anyone who smacked his girlfriend in the face.

Britney Spears barely spoke during her acceptance speech. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Her tribute was half-hearted at best, but it was the brevity of her remarks that bothered us the most: It's like her handlers are afraid to risk letting her speak for more than fifteen seconds, because they're afraid of…what? At first, Lady Gaga and her Danny Zuko, will-they-or-won't-they-kiss shtick seemed like an invasion of Britney's moment, but maybe she was up there so Britney wouldn't have to be alone?

Moments that could have been awkward but totally weren't:

-Tyler, the Creator's unexpectedly touching acceptance speech for his "Best New Artist" win. He's always seemed torn between wanting to be the kid that everybody hates and the kid that everybody loves, and last night he settled on the latter. It will it be harder to take him seriously as a misanthropic sociopath after this.

-The Amy Winehouse tribute: Nicely done, Russell Brand!


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