Monday, August 31, 2015

Red Carpet Manners at the 2015 VMA’s – A Bacchanal Buffet of Erratic Behavior

After last year’s less-than-stellar ratings, MTV was ready for a comeback and they did so in spades by inviting Miley Cyrus to host their signature event.  Channeling her 2013 no-holds-barred, viral performance with Robin Thicke, they figured she was the perfect gal to turn up the heat, and capture the controversy.  And, boy did their bets pay off.  She was just what they needed to put the famous moon man back on the map.

The overly sexualized twenty-two year old seemed proud to dispel all notions of her younger, innocent self.  No longer preaching “It’s the Climb,” but coming across more like a “Wrecking Ball,” she was now running wild on an endless rampage to shock, provoke and disturb.  Perhaps this is a passing phase, but it stings nonetheless, especially while trying to raise my two impressionable girls.  How to rationalize all the references to her “titties,” her unabashed love of marijuana, and her erotically-charged demeanor has become quite the challenge both as a mom and a manners expert. 

The night was a spectacle of low brow entertainment.  The only association made to etiquette was when Miley called out Kayne for not sharing his personal stash of grass, “Where’s your awards show etiquette?”  There was, however, a sprinkling of fairy dust in the form of Taylor Swift who for brief moments elevated the show along with a couple of other standout performers.  On that note, here is a recap of the night’s red carpet manners hits and misses…

Most Brash & Brazen Host. Miley has claimed that her onstage persona is all fun and games, nothing to take seriously.  Okay, but does she have to flash her middle finger and spew expletives every five seconds?  We get it, she’s butting up against the establishment.  Hardly an original idea, but I can think of a lot more creative and intelligent ways to express the same sentiment.  And, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the ten wardrobe changes.  While she’s never been in better shape revealing some seriously lithe hip bones, her ensembles resembled more of a cross between I Dream of Jeannie and a circus clown than anything. 

Underdressed & Understated on the Red Carpet. MTV has always broken the barrier when it comes to red carpet fashion with a motto that screams, the more skin, the better. Miley led the pack and Nicki, Rita, Chrissy, Gigi, Ciara, Serayah and Demi all followed suit with a showcase of lissome legs, bodacious booties, and daring declotage.  However, statuesque goddess Taylor Swift, is the only one who gets our vote for her appropriately hip head-to-toe stunner of an outfit and heels. On the male front, only Empire’s, Jussie Smollett, stood out in his dapper suit ensemble.  Otherwise, it was a less is more feel for Kanye and Justin Beiber who dressed down purposefully not wanting to look like they put too much effort into their appearance.  And, what possessed Kim Kardashian to go braless?  Her massive pregnancy boobs should’ve been harnessed and her nipples properly tucked into place.  They were a complete distraction.  Even Miley noticed it!

Music’s Amiable Ambassador.  From the moment Taylor Swift arrived with her Bad Blood posse, she was all smiles and owning the room.  Bonding with her beautiful friends, raking up award after award, she professed her gratefulness and exuded graciousness whether it was to acknowledge her "Blank Space" director and production team for their hard work on her video or to convey her congratulations to the Straight Outta Compton crew for the film's huge box office success. She is a world-class collaborator, a consummate performer and a professional who deserves every accolade.

The Beibs is Back.  After a five year hiatus from his last VMA performance, the boy who once relieved himself in a restaurant mop bucket was feeling pretty relieved after the successful premiere of his new single “What Do You Mean?”  He was overcome with emotion as tears of joy flowed down his face.  The last several years he had gotten used to being booed for his behavior so when the audience jumped to their feet cheering for the heartthrob, he seemed genuinely grateful and appreciative to be back.

Mad Love & Bad Blood.  The evening began with a mea culpa between Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift who collaborated on Nicki’s “The Night is Still Young” burying the hatchet on a scuttle that exploded on Twitter weeks earlier.  But audiences were stumped by the Nicki Minaj challenge that erupted with host Miley Cyrus later in the show.  Miley, who was interviewed by the New York Times, had commented on the Taylor/NIcki rift and claimed her words were twisted by the press. Nicki wasn't buying it and before she excited the stage went on to mouth, “Don’t play with me, bitch.”  

Video Vanguard Award Goes Wild.  No one puts Yeezus in the corner, especially not MTV.  The highly anticipated Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award presentation went completely off script when a gum-chewing Kanye West took a painstaking thirteen minutes to soak up accolades from the audience and then proceed on an endless rant of ‘bros’ and ‘listen to the kids’ references before announcing his run for presidency in 2020.  Taylor Swift, who presented him with the award, miraculously kept her composure while Kanye recalled the infamous incident in 2009 when he interrupted her acceptance speech to delare Beyonce the more deserving winner.  She didn’t flinch when he admitted to smoking a little something to take the edge off before taking the stage, and she stuck loyally by Kim’s side offering her own personal “Imma let you finish” moment to Kayne as he continued to bury himself on live TV.  My eleven year old summed up his speech best when she turned to me and said, “Kanye West is having an emotional breakdown and needs to see a therapist.”  

Packed Performances That Blew Away.  Unfortunately, the best performances of the night went largely unnoticed compared to the outlandish celebrity behavior that stole the thunder.  In the event you missed it, our favorites were an energy packed Macklemore & Ryan Lewis debuting their song “Downtown” set in downtown Los Angeles, Tori Kelly who came out of the woodwork and literally brought down the house with a simple guitar and stunning vocals on “Should’ve Been Us”, and happy-go-lucky Pharrell whose penetrating “Freedom” should be one for the history books.  

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