Confession time: I'm a bit of an awards nerd. Yes, okay, I realize this not a huge surprise coming from me as I follow the Oscar race all year long. But there is a difference between loving the Oscars, which many ordinarily rational people do, and loving the MTV Video Music Awards, which is certifiably insane. The VMAs are completely silly and the winners are often times arbitrary as hell, but I can't help loving them and using them as a guidepost for discovering fascinating videos I never would have known about otherwise. My favorite category is, not surprisingly, Best Female Video, a category which has given Madonna 12 nominations over the years and regularly nominated Britney, Janet, Paula Abdul, Beyoncé and many other fabulous artists. I like this category so much I thought it would be fun to go through some of the big contenders and see how they stack up against each other. It's a completely futile task but, hey, I think it's rather fun to through them.
The Top 5
"Born This Way"
2/3 Noms/1 Win
In Her Favor: Have you noticed that Gaga is the biggest popstar on the planet right now? She easily swept last year's VMAs and, judging from the reception the Born This Way singles have gotten, her dominance should continue this year.
But: The video, die hard stans aside, went over like a lead balloon. Will this deter her less emotionally invested fans?
3 Noms/0 Wins
In Her Favor: "Firework" was a monster "It Gets Better" anthem that, months later, is still being used exhaustively in movie trailer after movie trailer. The song has resonated with a lot of people and proved it has staying power. Plus, if she does get her fourth nomination, odds are that she will win; Christina Aguilera is the only artist with four or more nominations and no win.
But: By the time the VMAs actually air, "Firework" will be close to a year old. And will the spectacular "E.T." video siphon any votes?
"Hold It Against Me"
5 Noms/1 Win
In Her Favor: Not only is Britney the undisputed Queen of Pop in Madonna's absence, but "Hold It Against Me" shot straight to the top of the charts when it was released. Britney is at the top of her form.
But: The video wasn't well received, even among her massive supporters
Rihanna featuring Drake
"What's My Name?"
2 Noms/0 Wins
In Her Favor: Now that her dark, "uncommercial" Rated R era is over, expect the VMAs to embrace her once again. And how else to reward Rihanna's "return" than by honoring her most commercial song since Good Girl Gone Bad.
But: Like "Firework," "What's My Name?" will have been out for nearly a year by the time of the VMAs. Plus, could the much louder "S&M" video make an appearance?
Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull
"On the Floor"
3 Noms/0 Wins
In Her Favor: J. Lo, thanks in part to her new gig on American Idol, has once again reclaimed her throne as America's Sweetheart.
But: Her last nomination was in 2003. As she sings in the beginning of "On the Floor," "it's a new generation." Can this diva still compete with the kiddies?
In the Running:
In Her Favor: She the year's hottest artist, crafting her own unique image in the male-dominated rap industry with a fanbase as diverse and strange as she is.
But: Nicki is incredibly famous but it doesn't really feel like she's had her own massive hit to match the hype, does it?
"Rolling in the Deep"
In Her Favor: Adele's 21 just spent her fifteenth non-consecutive week at #1 in the UK while hitting #1 with both her album and this song here in America. This line-up feels like it is missing a real critical darling/vocal powerhouse.
But: Can't you just imagine 15 year olds giving a collective shrug or, even worse, a "Who?" when someone mentions Adele? Sad but it has been known to happen.
"Back to December"
2 Noms/1 Win
In Her Favor: Kanyegate got her a second nomination last year. Do they still feel bad for that incident? "Back to December" is her most recent offering and it's a much more memorable jam than what got her nominated last time ("Fifteen").
But: Not that it truly matters, even though it should, the "Back to December" video is horrendous. Besides, how long can MTV make amends for The Incident before we're all ready to move on?
"Raise Your Glass"
1 Nom/1 Win
In Her Favor: Another massive "It Gets Better" anthem. P!nk proved once again that can she still rock out in an era of Ke$has and Katy Perrys.
But: Doesn't it feel like P!nk should have a lot more than one nomination? Maybe they're just not that into her.
1 Nom/0 Wins
In Her Favor: A wonderful James Van Der Beek cameo made this the first Ke$ha video to truly encapsulate her strange persona in visual form.
But: The song wasn't as big as "We R Who We R" or her other hits from the first album. Will people care enough about this song in a couple months?
Never Say Never:
"Run the World (Girls)"
5 Noms/2 Wins
In Her Favor: The video hasn't premiered yet, but B is always a threat in this category. She amassed her 5 noms in an eight year span; only Madonna did it quicker.
But: The song FLOPPED. Will a second single materialize before the eligibility field is closed?
Jessie J featuring B.O.B.
In Her Favor: She'd be the critical darling of the category.
But: Who? Was "Price Tag" big enough to earn her a spot with such megastars as Gaga and Britney?
"Pretty Girl Rock"
In Her Favor: The category is severely lacking in some R&B divas.
But: "Pretty Girl Rock" hasn't exactly been burning up the charts, has it? And if she couldn't get in for "Knock You Down," chances are she won't for this.
Selena Gomez & The Scene
In Her Favor: While Miley has gone and pissed on the pop community, Selena has embraced it. Britney is contributing to her next album.
But: "Who Says" isn't a major hit. There are still a lot of people who don't know her at all or just know her as Justin Bieber's girlfriend.