Nominees had barely made their entrances on MTV’s black carpet when the most memorable moment of the 2011 Video Music Awards occurred. Wearing a deep red, flowing Lanvin gown as she strolling into the award show, Beyonce exposed her baby bump, pulling the loose-fitting fabric over her noticeable tummy and confirming for the first time that she is in fact pregnant.
Bloggers at Click Track were as elated about the news as the Twitterverse, which exploded with congratulatory tweets throughout the evening.
“Beyonce upstaged the entire event by announcing her pregnancy pre-show. It will be the first child for her and Jay-Z, and we at Click Track look forward to serving the Golden Child in whatever capacity possible.”
It wasn’t long before Nicki Minaj won back some of the attention that was heaped on the new mommy-to-be. Minaj rode an escalator into the pre-show, dressed in one of the night’s most interesting ensembles. Jen Chaney of Celebritology surmised a theory behind the bizarre look:
“In addition to this weekend’s hurricane, apparently there was a Toys R Us tornado that landed directly on Minaj. The surgical mask was Geoffrey Giraffe’s attempt to keep the hip-hop star silent about what transpired.”
Justin Bieber likewise chose some odd accessories to accompany him to the pre-show, most notably his pet snake. The unfortunate reptile provided an unpleasant topic of conversation between him and girlfriend/interviewer Selena Gomez. Allison Stewart of Click Track ranked the exchange as the third most awkward moment of the event:
“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.”
Lady Gaga was far from lost in the shuffle of uncomfortable moments and outrageous outfits, although she didn’t hatch from a giant egg or don raw meat. She wore a simple black suit by Brooks Brothers and white tee-shirt, a-typical for her ostentatious style. But it wasn’t her clothes that made audience members gawk in unified confusion. It was Gaga’s assumption of her male alter-ego, Jo Calderone, through the entirely of the night that confounded most. Like or loathe her drag-king get-up, as Celebritology’s Chaney put it:
“Her [Ralph] Macchio resemblance may be somewhat debatable, but her performance made for undeniably over-the-top, can’t-look-away TV.”
Songstress Adele seemed to be the only participant taking the outlandish charade seriously. Her performance would have been appropriate for more formal venues, sans the explicit language and strikingly short hemlines. Chaney asked the somewhat rhetorical question of whether Adele’s moment on stage was the best of the night.
So what was her gimmick? Standing in one spot in an elegant dress and belting the heck out of her song “Someone Like You.” That was it. And it was precisely that simple, classy approach that earned her a standing ovation from the crowd and offered further proof that she is one of the most universally embraceable artists in contemporary pop music.
Most presenters and nominees, however, practiced little restraint. Crass monologues and foul acceptance speeches littered the show, enabling the tendency of tastelessness that has become a signature of the show. Chaney notes that the awards “often revel in the controversial, profane and/or generally tacky moments that typically generate conversation on Twitter and around the office coffee maker.”
Five standout moments made Chaney’s tasteless list, including Tyler, the Creator’s acceptance speech, Cloris Leachman’s appearance with the “Jersey Shore” girls and Lady Gaga’s obscenity-filled monologue.
But in the end, perhaps the lewd and unimaginable keeps us coming back every year for more.
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