Well, it was definitely ladies’ night last night. The 2014 Video Music Awards was a tribute to all the female pop stars in the Hollywood-verse. From moon mans, to extravagant showmanship, to emotional breakdowns, to Beyoncé’s 15-minute set and Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award (presented by none other than hubby Jay Z) – the night played it safe, but was still one to remember. (Click here to watch all the performances on MTV.)
It all started with a “Bang Bang,” The slammin’ new song from Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj. Vocally, Jessie and Ariana murdered it; Nicki, however, had a wardrobe malfunction that had her clutching her little black dress throughout. Oops.
Speaking of wardrobes, let’s talk about the ass grab that was Nicki’s earlier “Anaconda” performance. We obviously expected “Anaconda”, a remix of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back,” to have a whole lotta “back,” but the TV audience were not the only ones left with their mouth hanging open when Nicki Minaj gyrated her lobes on stage in a green mini! Pretty sure I saw J.Lo stunned into silence like “Whaa…?”.
Which brings us to someone who, as Chelsea Handler joked, has no ass at all. “I want to thank Taylor Swift for being so white,” the comedienne said after Taylor threw down her first country-goes-pop performance to “Shake It Off”. Dressed in a glitzy sparkly not-so-Taylor-y number, the songbird threw a little Broadway in her step as she shimmied with a group of tuxed-out dudes. Her singing started off a little shaky, but with a little more finessing, Taylor’ll make it just fine in the pop world. The most adorbs part of performance was when she refused to jump into her dancers’ arms: “I don’t care if it’s the VMAs, I’m not jumping there!”
Speaking of jumping into new territory, Miley Cyrus made us see her in a whole new light. First of all, she had clothes on. (Whaa…?!?) After the crotch grinding-foam-finger-Robin Thicke-twerk-a-thon fiasco that was last year’s VMA performance, no one is ever sure what antic Miley’s got up her sleeve. But, alas, no antics this year. When Jimmy Fallon announced that Miley’s “Wrecking Ball” had received the most coveted award, Video Of The Year, Miley surprised by simply staying in her seat. She sent a long-haired homeless man, Jesse Helt, to the mic.
“My name is Jesse,” he said, fumbling with his notes. “I am accepting this award on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now. I know, because I am one of those people.”
As Miley sat crying, she re-directed the world from her crazy antics to her charity cause, and managed to silence the entire celebrity-packed Inglewood Forum. Thus, again, becoming the talk of the night. Stirring. Redemptive. Great PR.
As for other award recipients, Katy Perry received Best Female Video for “Dark Horse.” I, for one, am super bummed that didn’t go to Iggy Azalea for the chart-topping “Fancy;” Iggy, however, shared a moon man with Ariana Grande who won for “Problem.” She also did a bomb-ass rap performance with Rita Ora in “Black Widow.” Lorde nabbed Best Rock Video for “Royals.” (I actually did not know that was a rock song). Drake and Majid Jordan (totally forgot about the dudes but they were there) won Best Hip-Hop Video for “Hold On (We’re Going Home).” And, big ups to Common for delivering a moment of silence for Michael Brown and the protest in Ferguson.
Then, of course, the big winner of the night – Beyoncé – what everyone in the 2.5 hour telecast was waiting for. Beyoncé delivered a straight up 15-minute medley of her entire sneak attack visual album, Beyoncé, in a bejeweled unitard. Her voice was “Flawless,” however, her usually flamboyant dance moves were somewhat sedated. Still, it was an ambitious, if mellifluous performance. With her social message about feminism from activist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Beyoncé was the crown jewel of the feminist movement that was the VMAs (especially when she glided across the stage with the word “Feminist” in the background). Queen Bey schooled all those aforementioned pop princesses on what it takes to really be a great performer. Bow Down. Afterwards, her husband and sweet baby Blue Ivy presented her with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award (MTV’s version of a Lifetime Achievement).
“And the greatest living entertainer is Beyoncé,” said Jay Z. To which Beyoncé called Jay her beloved. (How’s that for divorce rumors, tabloids?) Tears flowed as Blue Ivy clapped and gurgled at her proud momma.
“I’m so full, I have nothing to say,” she choked. “I’m filled with so much gratitude, I just thank God for this moment. I love ya’ll so much. Blue I love you Blue, my beloved (Jay Z) I love you. My fans, I love you. MTV, I love you, goodnight.” Destiny fulfilled. VMAs fulfilled.
Full list of 2014 Video Music Award winners:
Video of the Year: Miley Cyrus “Wrecking Ball”
Best Hip Hop Video: Drake ft. Majid Jordan “Hold On (We’re Going Home)”
Best Male Video: Ed Sheeran “Sing”
Best Female Video: Katy Perry ft. Juicy J “Dark Horse”
Best Pop Video: Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea “Problem”
Best Rock Video: Lorde “Royals”
MTV Artist to Watch: Fifth Harmony “Miss Movin On”
Best Collaboration: Beyoncé & Jay Z “Drunk In Love”
MTV Clubland Award: Zedd ft. Hayley Williams “Stay the Night”
Best Video With a Social Message: Beyoncé “Pretty Hurts”
Best Cinematography: Beyoncé “Pretty Hurts”
Best Editing: Eminem “Rap God”
Best Choreography: Sia “Chandelier”
Best Direction : DJ Snake & Lil Jon “Turn Down For What”
Best Art Direction: Arcade Fire “Reflektor”
Best Visual Effects: OK Go “The Writing’s On the Wall”
Best Lyric Video: 5 Seconds of Summer “Don’t Stop”
Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award: Beyoncé