What to know for the VMA Awards
There was a time when the VMAs showcased legendary performances. Madonna announced her arrival as the Queen of Pop when she performed “Like a Virgin” bedecked in a bridal gown. Michael Jackson brought down the house in 1995 with a medley of his greatest hits. And Madonna (again) caused an uproar when she made out with Britney Spears onstage. Lately, though, all of the ceremony’s buzz-worthy moments seem to have involved Beyoncé Knowles (not that I’m complaining). The singer/goddess revealed that she was pregnant during her performance at last year’s ceremony. And in 2009, Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech to proclaim that Beyoncé’s video for “Single Ladies” had really been the Video of the Year (I cannot argue with that statement). What will happen this year with Beyoncé? Could Blue Ivy become the youngest performer in VMA History? Here are Cadenza’s predictions and performance previews of the 2012 VMAs, hosted by Kevin Hart.
Best New Artist
This is a tossup of the grandest of sorts between two of the catchiest songs of summer. Will Canadian artist Carly Rae Jepsen take it for her infectious “Call Me Maybe,” arguably the most meme-able song in history? Or will U.K. sensation One Direction pull off a victory for bringing back the boy band? This is the first of two battles between Beliebers (Bieber signed Jepsen to his label) and Directioners. At the end of the day, only one super-fanbase will be left standing.
Best Pop Video
Even though the main event of the night is supposed to be Video of the Year, this is where Justin Bieber and One Direction go head-to-head. It should provide for an epic Twitter meltdown. I expect, however, that the VMAs will spread the wealth between the both of them. One Direction is performing “What Makes You Beautiful” as well, so they have to win for it somewhere.
This year, Best Male Video will almost certainly go to a Canadian. Think about that, American male artists. Justin Bieber and his legion of Beliebers probably pushed his video for “Boyfriend” over the edge, but former child star Drake could shock with his black-and-white “Take Care” video with Rihanna.
Best Female Video
This looks to be a tough fight to the very second the VMA is handed out between Rihanna’s “We Found Love” video and Katy Perry’s “Part of Me” video. “We Found Love” featured Rihanna in a tumultuous, drug-driven relationship chronicle while “Part of Me” featured Katy Perry cutting off her hair. Voters will likely reward Perry in other categories, so Rihanna is your favorite for this award.
If there is any justice in the world, this award will go to M.I.A. for her groundbreaking video for “Bad Girls,” which featured insane costumes and car stunts. Alas, we live in a world where Katy Perry is likely to take home gold for “Wide Awake.” A possible dark horse could be the video for Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” which featured a lot of body paint and shouting by the Australian pop star.
Barbadian singer Rihanna will open the VMAs with her raunchy song “Cockiness,” perhaps providing the ceremony with its headline for the night. I foresee family groups ripping her to shreds for performing a song that includes the line “Suck my cockiness, lick my persuasion.” Upcoming rapper A$ap Rocky, last seen in Lana Del Rey’s video for “National Anthem,” will join her onstage.
The boy band from across the pond continues its bid for world domination after topping charts and performing at the Olympic Closing Ceremony. The band’s sophomore album “Take Me Home” will be released in November, with a single debuting at the end of September. But One Direction will apparently perform its hit “What Makes You Beautiful” for its VMA debut. Let’s hope that One Direction changes its mind at the last second and give us some new Britpop goodness to chew on.
The “country”-pop star continued her journey toward becoming a complete self-parody of herself by releasing new single called “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” But she’ll debut a new song from her fourth album “Red” at the VMAs. Title speculation includes “This Is a Breakup Song for My Celebrity Boyfriend Whose Name Rhymes with Mo Monas” and “Don’t Steal My Boyfriend (But I’m Allowed to Steal Yours).”
Minaj recently declared that she was a Republican voting for Mitt Romney in a rap on Lil Wayne’s mixtape. Regardless of whether or not anyone believes Minaj, who is not registered to vote in any of the three states she has held residence in, she is set to perform with a secret guest. Could it be Clint Eastwood—or better yet, the empty chair from Eastwood’s Republican National Convention speech?
The R&B star made headlines over the summer for coming out as bisexual, but lest we forget, he also has an incredible voice and ear for music. His brand of honest, well-written music seems a strange fit for the VMAs, but it’ll be refreshing to have a performer whose sexuality is a part of who he is, not just a way to shock viewers (here’s looking at you, Adam Lambert).
The VMAs will be televised on Sept. 6 on MTV at 7 p.m.