I get it. I’m not their demo. I’m in my 30’s, and MTV no longer cares whether or not I tune into the VMA’s. I may as well just flip back to… hold on. Did Kanye just refer to himself as a millennial? Isn’t he like, 38? You mean my pass is still good here? Great, I’m in!
My wife and I have watched and generally enjoyed poking fun the VMA’s for the last 14 years and this year was no exception.
Here are 3 things I learned watching the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards:
1. Tori Kelly killed it. Also, who the heck is Tory Kelly? If you watched, I don’t need to tell you a thing. If you didn’t, YOUTUBE it, here.
What I liked: No need for scantily clad anything, no use of the B-word, F-word, or S-words in the middle of her song and especially no need for pre-recorded vocal tracks. Just her and that incredible voice. Wow.
— Tori Kelly (@ToriKelly) September 3, 2015
(She performs “Should’ve Been Us,” from her debut album, “Unbreakable Smile”) Based on the rest of the (much more over the top/gaudy) performances that night, I like to imagine there must have been a conversation with an MTV producer and Kelly at some point in the days leading up to the performance that went something like this: MTV: So, have you made a decision on those outfits we discussed? Our focus groups are still pushing towards a bathing suit bottom and pasties with a python around your waist and an eagle perched on your head. We good? TK: Uh, no. MTV: Let’s come back to the outfit. How about backup dancers? We can rustle up some zombie robot chickens or I think we’ve got some pregnant teens doing gymnastics in the back… which would you say is a better fit to the song? TK: Serious? MTV: No dancers, check. Just so we can tell the lighting folks, approximately how many times do you plan on touching yourself inappropriately during your performance? TK: (Shakes head)
You get the idea.
Kelly did (actually, in a real quote) tell MTV that it’s all about the music for her.
“My performance kind of came naturally this time around because I really wanted it to be about the music first,” she said. “Of course I know the song, because I’ve been performing it for so long, but I really just wanted it to be about the song and the music, nothing too crazy stage-wise, at least with props and stuff like that. I wanted to focus on the simplicity of the music and strip it back.”
Get in the know at www.torikellymusic.com.
2. Kanye West almost, sort of, apologized to Taylor Swift for stealing her microphone and going on a rant at the 2009 VMA’s but ended up in another rant complete with announcing his candidacy for President of the United States because of course he did.
We’ve all had moments of reflection, although most of us don’t do it on a stage in front of millions of people watching from home. Kanye’s reflection speech while accepting his Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2015 VMA’s was, well, different. On the one hand, you have Taylor Swift (in the role of the good sport), presenting the award to Kanye and playfully declaring “imma let you finish”, a throwback from West’s 2009 rant when he jumped on stage and stole her microphone to tell the audience who really should have won the award. (No disrespect, the judges were wrong and you just shouldn’t have won.)
He clearly describes the aftermath of the incident as having a major on his daily life.
“You know, I think about when I’m in the grocery store with my daughter and I have a really great conversation about… fresh juice at, you know. And at the end, they say, ‘oh you’re not that bad after all’. And like, I think about it sometimes like, it crosses my mind a little bit, like when I go to a baseball game and like, 60,000 people boo me.”
Clearly, he’s not enjoying the “villain-esque” reputation earned by stealing the spotlight from America’s sweetheart.
“And I think if I had to do it all over again what would I have done. Would I have wore a leather shirt? Would I have drank a half a bottle of Hennessy and gave the rest of it to the audience.”
Good reflections. Apology coming. Love it. Keep going.
“If I had a daughter at that time, would I have went on stage and grabbed the mic from someone else’s…”
Yes… yes… here it comes…
“You know, this arena, tomorrow… it’s gonna be a completely different setup. Some concert, something like that. This stage will be gone. After that night, the stage was gone, but the effect that it had on people, remained. The problem was, the contraction. The contradiction is, I do fight for artists. But in that fight, I somehow was disrespectful to artists.”
Somehow disrespectful? It doesn’t get much more disrepectful then stealing someone’s microphone from their hand during an acceptance speech, but sure. Yeah, I get it. You’ve learned.
“I didn’t know how to say the right thing, the perfect thing. I just… I sat at the Grammys and saw Justin Timberlake and CeeLo lose. Gnarls Barkley and the future SexyBack album… and bro, Justin I ain’t trying to put you on blast but I saw that man in tears, bro. You know, and I was thinking like, he deserved to win album of the year.”
Sorry, where’s this going?
“I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight, I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, bro. But all I can say to my artists, my fellow artists, just worry how you feel at the time, man. Just worry about how you feel. And don’t never… You know what I’m saying? I’m confident. I believe in myself. We the millennials, bro.”
So, you’re… not sorry then? And you’re a millennial? Wait, if you’re a millennial, then I’m a millennial, and last time I checked I’m not a millennial… by definition of course. Not that there’s anything wrong with millennials, I’m just trying to be accurate as to the age demographic descriptor… never mind.
Am I alone in thinking he was building up to an apology? It seems like he did do everything else including describing the effect the incident has had on his personal life and reputation. He had every opportunity to say those two little words but became so emotionally sidetracked, he didn’t (or couldn’t) get ’em out.
Oh well. Next time, maybe.
3. I don’t understand Miley Cyrus at all.
I’ll pray for her. That’s all. Goodbye.
(Tori Kelly Image by Getty Images)