By Shannon Carlin
Let’s be honest, no one really cares who takes home a Moonman at the MTV Video Music Awards. Well, unless Kanye West tries to steal it from them. And unfortunately on this night–the 30th anniversary of the awards show–‘Ye was on his best behavior. What we really want to see are the performances. From who wowed us to who really made us say, “What?!” Yep, we’re definitely talking about Miley Cyrus who had everyone in Brooklyn wondering what happened to our little Hannah Montana?
In the end, we here at Radio.com decided to give out a few awards of our own. We ranked the performances from best to worst to figure out who actually won the night.
BEST USE OF SHADOW PUPPETS: KANYE WEST “BLOOD ON THE LEAVES”
Kanye West’s performance of “Blood on the Leaves” from his latest album, Yeezus was minimalist to say the least. It was just a shadow of ‘Ye projected against a picture of a forest. He danced and jumped around rapping about betrayal as Nina Simone sang “Strange Fruit.” Though the sound was staticy, the visual was simple and artistic. Just as Kanye intended it to be.
BEST COMMERCIAL FOR BALLY’S TOTAL FITNESS: KATY PERRY “ROAR”
For Katy Perry’s first performance of “Roar” she set up shop under the Brooklyn Bridge to prove she’s got the eye of the tiger. The Rocky-inspired performance featured Perry in the ring jumping rope, floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee. Though she didn’t actually throw a punch, she probably inspired more than a few people to go out and get a gym membership. And maybe even finally sign up for that kickboxing class they’ve been talking about taking alt these years.
BEST USE OF JAZZ HANDS: LADY GAGA “APPLAUSE”
Lady Gaga opened the night’s show with a performance that was heavily influenced by her new video for “Applause.” There were a lot of wig changes, smeared makeup and yes, jazz hands. Looking like a local theater production of Cabaret, Gaga and her team of dancers waved their hands like they just didn’t care. And in the end, Gaga got what she wanted: a little applause.
BEST MICHAEL JACKSON IMPRESSION: JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
Perhaps it was because he was being honored with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, but it seemed like Justin Timberlake was trying to dethrone the King Of Pop. His nearly 15-minute performance was like Michael Jackson’s This Is It 2: Electric Boogaloo. In JT’s first performance on the VMAs in six years he played a medley of solo hits like “Sexy Back,” “Like I Love You,” “My Love,” “Cry Me A River,” “Senorita,” “Rock Your Body,” “Suit & Tie,” “Mirrors” and his latest single, “Take Back The Night,” from The 20/20 Experience Part 2. He also reunited with *NSYNC for .2 seconds to perform a few bars of “Girlfriend” and “Bye Bye Bye.” But in the end it was all about Timberlake and those fancy feet of his, which were wearing MJ-esque black and white sneaks. Coincidence? We think not.
MOST OPENMINDED: MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS “SAME LOVE”
Macklmore & Ryan Lewis kept things simple for their performance of “Same Love.” There was nothing flashy, just a simple stage setup that looked like a very well decorated living room. As Macklemore rapped about being free to love whoever you like, Jennifer Hudson joined the duo to help belt out the chorus. Making her the second biggest surprise of the night after Eminem’s official album announcement.
BEST USE OF A MAN TANK: DRAKE “HOLD ON, WE’RE GOING HOME” & “STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM”
When Drake first appeared on screen, he looked exactly like that airbrushed image of himself from the cover of his upcoming album, Nothing Was The Same. But all we could think about as he sang “Hold On, We’re Going Home” in front of that beautiful blue sky backdrop was that awesome man tank he was rocking. He continued to show off those arms as he took the stage for “Started From The Bottom” and it was clear that though Drizzy was doing his thing, it was the tank top that really held the power.
MOST LIKELY TO BE ON MOLLY: MILEY CYRUS “WE CAN’T STOP”
Miley Cyrus twerked, she wore a teddy bear teddy, brought back the bear backpacks from the “We Can’t Stop” video and danced alongside a lot of giant bears with crazy eyes. And of course, she spent most of the time with her tongue hanging out of her mouth. That is, before she stripped down to a nude-colored bikini and sexually harassed Robin Thicke. If she wasn’t actually on something then we’re going to need a logical explanation of what all that was, like right now.
MOST ANIMALISTIC: BRUNO MARS “GORILLA”
Bruno Mars performed his new single, “Gorilla” off his album, Unorthodox Jukebox, in front of a screen that flashed shots of, what else, a gorilla every time he sang the word. To add to his animal magnetism, Mars wore a leopard print shirt and dropped to his knees to crawl around like the jungle cat he is. We would have liked to see him show off his catlike dance moves instead of standing so still, but his spirit animal just wasn’t quote up to it this night.
MOST OVERSHADOWED: ROBIN THICKE “GIVE IT 2 U”
No one can get “Blurred Lines” out of their head, but on this night, Robin Thicke was relegated to the background, which is no easy feat when you’re dressed like a referee. But he should have called foul on Miley, who took the lead on “Blurred Lines” and Kendrick Lamar and 2 Chainz, who were the focus during the performance of his newest single, “Give It 2 U.” Even those paper-mâché floats seemed to get more screen time than the singer. He might be the king of the summer, but unfortunately summer’s almost over.
MOST UNDERWHELMING: DAFT PUNK
Remember the time Stephen Colbert ruined the surprise about Daft Punk performing at the VMAs? Well, turns out there was no performance. There was only a snippet of their upcoming video for “Lose Yourself To Dance,” featuring the French electronic duo, Nile Rodgers and Pharrell all in sparkly suit jackets. But besides those flashy coats, the appearance was more than a little disappointing.
Oh yeah, MTV also gave out a few awards of their over the course of the show. Check out the full list of VMA winners here.