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Cosmic Slop #118: VMA’s 2017 – Visual Gonorrhoea

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Fri 01 September, 2017

Suffering from eczema wasn’t the most irritating thing Shaun Ponsonby experienced this week, it was the interminable MTV Video Music Awards 2017.

I suffer from eczema.

It is extremely annoying. It mainly manifests itself on my right hand, but occasionally shows up in more bizarre places. Right now it’s showing up on my feet and making just sitting around difficult, and makes me look kind of repulsive.

It is the second most irritating thing I have had to deal with this week.

The first is the VMA Awards.

At this point the MTV VMA Awards are like an ongoing case of gonorrhoea. You keep contracting it from the same person, but there’s something that keeps you coming back, even though you know afterwards  there will be a nasty discharge from your private parts. You don’t even want to. The sex isn’t even good, you’re just weirdly compelled.

This year’s awards was the lowest rating in its history, although I would assume it got more viewers online. Kids today just wanna see their favourite stars without having to put up with Godawful sketches.

Oh, yeah! The sketches! This year’s show was hosted by Katy Perry, who began the show with a bizarre sketch about going into space, for which she got advice from the likes of second man on the moon Buzz Aldrin and the actor Kevin Bacon.

If nothing else, it proved why she has never made a leap to a movie career (like I obviously have). She flew onto the stage as if she had been in space and made a lot of half arsed jokes, where the punch line was basically “YOU REMEMBER A THING THAT HAPPENED!!!” There were close-ups of a lot of bored looking rappers.

Still, it was an improvement on last year when they got some people who are only famous on Twitter to make comments on the show as it progressed in an attempt to be meta. Sadly, along with opinion columnists, every single person who has ever become famous via social media is the scourge of our times, so it deservedly fell flat on its tits. So did Perry, but marginally less so.

Still, for some reason she felt the need to keep this “I’ve just been in space” motif going throughout the whole show. It wasn’t funny the first time, ya’ll. Repeating it won’t make it any funnier. There was also a bizarre sketch that featured Perry, a marimba and a squeaky dog toy that was nowhere near as interesting as it sounds.

P!nk won the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which she achieved despite having punctuation in the middle of her name.  I was surprised, I didn’t think she was all that relevant.

She started her performance on what appeared to be the flying car from the end of Grease, before switching to another vehicle, which honestly just seemed wasteful in these days of global warming.

The medley itself was pretty disjointed actually. The songs didn’t really flow together, and it seemed like more effort went into the set pieces. After the performance, Ellen Degeneres presented P!nk with her award and showed the kind of charisma and comic timing that Katy Perry couldn’t muster. It really just made you wish she was hosting instead. Not that MTV would do that, because there is an insulting assumption that bona fide young people will only stand for watching other young people.

All half-arsed jibes about P!nk’s performance aside, though, it probably was one of the best of the night. Most of the others were either desperate, lifeless or bizarre.

Miley Cyrus somehow managed to be all of them. Now that she has achieved all she can from cultural appropriation, she has decided to appropriate different time periods instead.

Her infamous twerking performance with Robin “Remember Him?” Thicke a couple of years ago was a memorable moment. But not because it was particularly shocking (it really wasn’t), because it was awful. Badly sung, badly choreographed, dead, lifeless, desperate. Just plain weird. Here she has recreated all of that, without the twerking.

She was singing in a 50’s get up, surrounded by people who looked like they were teenagers in the 50s, before singing in front of some kids, and then performing a very, very slow dance routine with the old people again. I really couldn’t get what she was saying.  That age is just a number? If that was the case, the old people wouldn’t have struggled to keep up with the dance routine the way they did.

My favourite was Demi Lovato, who kept up the fine VMA tradition of performing a song outside, and making the audience wait around for hours to hear one song.

This time was different though. It was poolside and the audience were forced to swim, whether they wanted to or not. But that was it – there were no special effects, nothing interesting happened. There were no synchronised swim dancers. For the expense of staging the song, they could have at least pushed the boat out a little. Or someone could have at least pushed Demi into the pool. Whilst wired. That would have been interesting, if horrific, to watch.

There was another outside performance, from DNCE, Joe Jonas’ terrible attempt at a funk-pop band. Despite being ripped, fairly good looking and singing songs about sex, Jonas and his group have all the sex appeal of a cathedral. I mean, yeah, the architecture is nice, but the idea of porking it is hilarious.

But they were joined by a special guest. The single most relevant artist in the world – Rod Stewart.

Rod may not have had a hit in 20 years, but I’m sure the way he shuffled around, looking like Joe Jonas’ drunk grandad at a wedding convinced kids all over the world to go buy his latest album of badly sung oldies.

There were good performances, of course. Kendrick Lamar kicked things off with a performance that started understated and concentrated on his own undoubted charisma, before ending with a man dancing on fire.  It was an apt visual metaphor, given how firey his performance was.

And then there was…

Actually, no, I think that was about it.

What did hit home was how rock really is dead. There are constantly people telling me that this has been said time and time again. The difference is, in those times there were big rock hits, massive rock performances. Tonight, the only references to rock came from Thirty Seconds To Mars, who for some reason performed in infrared, no doubt for some pretentious, artsy reason. It really just looked silly.

Jared Leto also spoke about Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell, although it felt like he was being rushed along by the producers so that they could show us an advert for Geordie Shore.

I don’t think the Best Rock Video was even broadcast, but out of the five nominees, four of them have been around for about 20 years at least. Imagine if the Best Rock nominees in the 80s were The Kinks. That would have been a sign that rock & roll was on its arse, no?

One of the big moments for the show this year was the premiere on Taylor Swift’s new video for Look What You Made Me Do, in which Swift continues to play the little victimy wictimy by having a go at her critics, a charge that she pre-empted by referencing it in the video itself.

She actually makes some pretty decent pop music, truth be told, but her public image is horrific. Remember the year after the Kanye incident when she re-enacted it in a song called Innocent? Bah! If the worst thing that has ever happened to you is that someone interrupted you whilst accepting an award, then consider yourself lucky.

The whole shitfest ended with Katy Perry performing her new single underneath the giant pointing hand from the 90s National Lottery adverts, before Nicki Minaj outclassed her and she moved on to the set of Space Jam, for some reason.

How can this be reasonably viewed as youth programming? It is so bland, so devoid of personality. It is far too slick, it’s like watching a very clean room with someone lip synching to a shit Shawn Mendes song.

It was a whopping three hours of nothing – maybe the most bored I’ve ever been watching the VMA’s. MTV, please, you gotta do better.

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