This year’s MTV Video Music Awards may have sparked its usual share of social media chatter but as far as excitement that rose to last year’s Beyonce-has-a-baby-bump level, it fell short. The announcement during the broadcast that Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose are expecting a child was happy news, sure. But as previously noted in this blog, it’s no Bey-baby.
Overshadowed by the Democratic National Convention — which boasted its own killer performances (Foo Fighters, Mary J. Blige) and, arguably, a bigger rock star (President Obama) than anyone nominated for a Moon Man trophy — the 2012 VMAs achieved a buzz factor of a 4 or 5, on par with the 2008 VMAs. Maybe election years really aren’t good for MTV trophy shows.
Still, for the purposes of being pop culturally conversant, you may want to have some sense of what happened at the VMAs. In case you missed some or all of the broadcast, here’s a quick summary of the key moments, video clips included.
Rihanna opened the show with “Cockiness,” in the form of both the song and her confident stage swagger.
Host Kevin Hart delivered an opening monologue in which he attempted to broker a peace agreement between Drake and Chris Brown (I believe they hit a stalemate) and spoke briefly about Kristen Stewart while cameras, mercifully, failed to pan over to Robert Pattinson.
One Direction won trophies for best pop video and best new artist and also performed the song “One Thing,” which is basically “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. But as usual, no one seemed to mind, including the Fab Five Olympic gymnasts in the audience. Note: One Direction’s gorgeously coiffed hair did not move at any point during these proceedings.
Frank Ocean delivered the night’s most moving performance with “Thinkin’ Bout You.”
Pink — who is officially Miley Cyrus’s hair twin — sang a new song called “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” and did her usual spin-around-on-ropes-suspended-in-midair routine, which is still pretty great because Pink is kind of awesome.
Nicki Minaj won the award for best female video and used the phrase “Oh my God” more times than most humans can count. The trophy was presented by The Wanted and Rebel Wilson wearing what was obviously the best VMAs ensemble of the night and, possibly, in history.
Robert Pattinson was there! Robert Pattinson was there! And he and some of his “Twilight” cast members presented an exciting clip from ”Breaking Dawn Part 2” that ... really wasn’t that exciting. We’ve pretty much seen all this Volturi business in previous teasers and trailers, haven’t we?
All right, fine. Here’s the clip so you can see for yourself.
Alicia Keys performed her new song, “Girl on Fire,” with help from Nicki Minaj and a flying squirrel. No, THE Flying Squirrel, in the form of gymnast Gabby Douglas.
Rihanna snagged her one VMA out of five nominations. It was the biggie: best video of the year for “We Found Love.”
And, finally, Taylor Swift and a few Furries closed up shop by singing “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” while Taylor Lautner sat in the audience and assumed his best “I swear this song is not about me” face.