The MTV Video Music Awards are usually a hit-or-miss affair. It's what gives them a cracked up charm which compels me to watch year after year, even when better judgment tells me otherwise. Last year's ceremony, and maybe this was the alcohol clouding my judgment, was actually quite good, so I was feeling optimistic. If you followed my Live Tweeting last night, it goes without saying that feeling went out the window 90 seconds in the broadcast. The whole ceremony was a shitfest, but nothing enraged me more than one particular moment of the broadcast: the so-called "Tribute" to Britney.
|Britney looking absolutely flawless. The healthiest and happiest and prettiest she has looked in ages.|
For a couple weeks now, MTV has been hinting in their promos for this year's Video Music Awards at some sort of tribute to Britney Spears. I am not shy about professing my love for Britney, so I was super excited that MTV would be honoring her. This is an artist who defined MTV in its final days as a music giant. She was a vital member of the TRL Generation, which made new music videos an event, a shared experience between fans everywhere. And the videos! A mere list of them would make any mere mortal quiver in excitement: "...Baby One More Time", "(You Drive Me) Crazy)", "Oops!...I Did It Again", "Toxic", "Stronger", "Everytime", "Womanizer", "Sometimes", "I Wanna Go", "I'm a Slave 4 U'. Say what you want about Britney as a musician, as a performer, or even as a person, she was, and still is, a major influence on 21st century pop culture.
So this Video Vanguard award/tribute should have been a slam dunk, right? I knew things were going awry the moment Lady Gaga stepped on stage to introduce the award. Earlier in the night, she opened the show and
entertained bored the audience silly with a rambling, pretentious, unfunny monologue dressed as her drag king alter ego (who looks like a horrifying Danny Zuko). It was almost as painful to watch as Britney's infamous performance at the VMAs four years ago. I don't want to go in depth about how this performance practically killed any remaining love I had for this woman like a radiation therapy treatment for cancer, but, trust me, the performance was bad. Anyways, Gaga comes out for what is supposed to be Britney's big moment still dressed up like her alter ego. Leave it to an attention whore like Lady Gaga to stink up what should be a tender tribute to someone she/he/what-the-fuck-ever claims as a big influence on her career with some dumb schtick that only her hardcore fans were clearly enjoying. And leave it to MTV to suck Lady Gaga's dick once again by allowing her to do this in the first place so as not to alienate her and her "monsters." She can claim the contrary all she wants, but is there any popstar on the planet who shamelessly latches on to those she counts as her "influences" and then treats them with such little respect? Don't forget this is the same woman who mourned on Twitter that she felt guilty for not saving her "friend" Amy Winehouse after her tragic overdose. Really, Gaga? It's one thing to express sympathy and grief for such a tragedy but its a completely different thing to act like you really cared that much about someone you probably met only a couple times. But that is Gaga's nature; like a parasite, she latches on to other celebrities and sucks them for all their worth.
Gaga finally shuts up and we are then treated to a megamix of Britney's songs with choreography by a gaggle of young female dancers. It's cute and fun and Britney was clearly enjoying it, but we all know it's merely the warm-up to something legendary...right? Except it wasn't. That's right, as soon as it was over, Gaga called Britney on stage and she accepted her award (and there was that bit where Gaga wanted Brit to recreate her iconic kiss with Madonna at the 2003 VMAs and Brit was having none of that but that was completely awkward). As Britney spoke, however, Gaga, instead of stepping back and letting Britney have her moment, stood right next to her and made a host of dumb faces, effectively upstaging one of her so-called idols. Real classy, Gaga. But I guess it didn't really matter in the long run since Britney wasn't even making an acceptance speech. Instead, they had her reading from the teleprompter, introducing the next performer, Beyoncé. Yes, on what was supposed to be her night, Britney had to take a back seat to both Gaga and Beyoncé. What a fucking disgrace. This is a woman who has been in the business for 12 years, smashed countless sales records, came back from a public meltdown stronger than ever, regularly sells out world tours and has made some of the most treasured music videos of all time and this is how MTV treats her, making her play second fiddle to two other popstars. I was so pissed I couldn't even enjoy Beyoncé's performance.
Listen, I realize that the VMAs are under time restrictions and a proper tribute would probably take 20 minutes, at least. But that was just a slap in the face to someone MTV claims to hold in high esteem. Since Britney is probably the sweetest, most genuine popstar in the planet, of course she was thrilled by the moment. To hardcore fans like myself, however, the whole disgusting "tribute" to her was nothing but a sick joke. The Amy Winehouse tribute at the end of the show was nicely done and a respectful testament to the woman's talent. But you shouldn't have to die tragically to receive a proper tribute, especially when you're an artist like Britney who has contributed far more to MTV than Amy ever did.