The 2011 MTV Video Music Awards took place August 28 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
For better or worse, the VMAs remain one of the youngest and most diverse televised award shows since starting up in 1984.
Though this year’s ceremony was relatively tame and conservative, it still broke ratings records for MTV and cable in general. According to MTV, “In addition to bringing in a record-breaking 12.4 million total viewers, Sunday night’s VMAs now rank as the #1 cable telecast of the year among viewers ages 12 to 34, and the #1 non-sports cable telecast of 2011 with total viewers.”
Some of the ceremony’s highlights:
- The night’s biggest news happened even before the show began, when Beyoncé announced on the red carpet that she and hubby Jay-Z are expecting their first child. When she revealed her baby bump at the end of her performance of “Love on Top,” the announcement set a new Twitter record for most Tweets per second.
- Whatever you think about Lady Gaga in male drag as Jo Calderone, you have to give it up to her for her commitment. No? Just me?
- Brilliant, understated performance by Adele of her soulful ballad “Someone Like You.” It felt refreshingly out of place for the VMAs.
- Russell Brand pays tribute to Amy Winehouse (see his powerful blog post after her death), along with the help of Tony Bennett and Bruno Mars. Easily one of the best moments of the show.
- A range of solid, mostly entertaining performances by the likes of Jay-Z and Kanye West, Pitbull and Ne-Yo, Chris Brown, Young the Giant, and Lil Wayne. Even Jessie J, who awkwardly played out to commercials while wearing a bedazzled cast and sitting in a giant white armchair, showcased her undeniable talent.
- There was no host! Except that Kevin Hart kinda seemed to be hosting.
- Wackiest outfits of the night: Nicki Minaj’s “Harajuku Barbie” look and Katy Perry’s … well, something involving a giant yellow cube on her head (really, Christian Dior?).
- Tyler the Creator wins Best New Artist and wants to encourage kids to go for their dreams. Except kids couldn’t hear his important message, because most of his acceptance speech was bleeped. Oh yeah, and then there’s his homophobic, misogynistic music.
- While presenting the Video of the Year award, Katie Holmes said that Tyler the Creator makes her want to run in the other direction. Seriously?
See the VMAs’ official website for the full list of winners and videos of their acceptance speeches. You can also watch the whole show online.