If video killed, the radio star, and reality TV killed the MTV star, would it be save to say that musical sexual expression has killed the music star.
Not so Grande. But at least none else got BIT.
Ariana Grande, Nikki and Jessie J Performance
Ariana Grande (ps she is super short [not hating, it just didn’t realize how short she was) kicking off the VMA was a risky move, especially because her new album was being released after the VMA (no pressure, Arianna). However, such an over produced; synthesized song like “Break Free” is always going to stretch the live performer’s ability to recreate the production. And that performance did not fail the critics.
Nikki’s “Anaconda” was no Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke nastiness, but it was still raunchy and…um uncalled for. Well at least Arianna got a second chance, and her voice was phenomenal the second time around. Jessie J, and Ariana sounded great together, however it did get a little chaotic with the three of them tried to nail the ending. Chances are their in-ear monitors didn’t have much of the other singer’s vocals in the mix.
Two Ten Grade: C
Best Female Video
Katty Perry “Dark Horse”
Don’t jump Taylor. You funny girl!
Taylor Swift Performance
The 1920’s meets the 80’s was a classy performance. Taylor Swift had a comedic moment with the “I don’t care if it’s the VMA’s, I’m not jumping off this thing…people getting bit by snacks and stuff” improve moment was great. The performance was fun, light hearted, and classy.
Two Ten Grade: A
Best Male Video
Ed Sherman “Sing”
Best Pop Video
Ariana Grande “Problem”
Sam Smith Performance
Spot light, piano, microphone, and singer…bring it! Sam Smith killed this performance, with a powerful simplicity that highlighted why he should be an artist to watch this year. His performance show cased his control, range, and ability to captivate.
Two Ten Grade: A+
“Hip Hop has always presented a voice for the revolution”
Best Hip Hop Video
Drake “Hold On”
So much for SO MUCH HYPE!
Usher & Nikki Performance
Usher singing was slightly lackluster, but his overall stage presence was energetic. Playing the bass during Nikki’s verse, minus the butt bumping nonsense, was a testament of his musicianship. When a performer is a dancer and singer, it usually leads to one or the other being compromised. In this case, it was so true. His singing was not the best of Usher, but his dancing was on point.
Two Ten Grade: C
Best Rock Video
5 Seconds needed 10 additional minutes
The classic acoustic, lead electric, bass, and drummer is a thing of the 90’s, but not for 5 Seconds of Summer, their basic band set up and performance was a refreshing look back and hope for the future of rock.
Two Ten Grade: B+
Artist to Watch
Fifth Harmony “Miss Movin’ On”
(Not going to lie, I didn’t think you were going to win either. We were all surprised)
Black Widow’s Web will be all over the World Wide Web
Iggy Azalea feat Rita Ora Performance
The impressive string and orchestra intro was just alluding to the fact that this performance was going to be just that; impressive. Iggy Azalea held up her part of the performance very well. However, Rita Ora did a little too much to attempt to match the larger-than-life intro, that she dropped the ball on her chorus. Regardless, of the chorus, IGGY was on point with her verses. She did not show an ounce of fatigue during her long winded, breathe consuming tongue twister type verses.
Two Ten Grade: A-
Wait Maroon 5 is Performing…GET MY PHONE
Maroon 5 Performance
“I would rather see my favorite band via my cell phone…that’s the new LIVE experience .” Who can post the snippets on YouTube, Instagram, and other social media’s site faster determines how great of a fan you are. That performance was amazing, however, I don’t think many people actually saw it
Two Ten Grade: B
Video of the year
Miley Cyrus “Cannonball”
Miley Cyrus’ song Cannonball, receiving that award shocked me in two ways. For one, Pharells “Happy” transcended a ton of boundaries and it didn’t get a single award tonight ; this should have been that award. This song has been listened to by 5 year olds and loved, and listened by 95 years and equally loved. Happy should have won, however, the second shocker of was; “who is that guy going up…is this another Kanye moment?” The speech was from the heart a young man who was once homeless. Miley arranged for this former homeless teen to accept the award on her behalf, and to take the time that would have been allotted to her speech to raise awareness of homeless youth of America. It was a powerful witness of what happens when you judge a book by its cover. By no means am I trying to say that Miley Cyrus ought to canonized for her decision, however, think about it. From a secular point of view, her witness tonight, was a testament of the power of love, which was created in her heart from the beginning of time. Miley (like all of us reading and all the artist there) were created in God’s image and likeness. That one moment showed that although her song s video was as wreckless as a canoonball, that her heart is not. That one moment , showed that some in the industry have not turned a blind eye to the vulnerable of our society.
Feminism at its WORST
Beyonce Vanguard Performance
“I'm not gon compromise my Christianity (I'm better than that)” (Survivor, Destiny Child)
From a performance point of view, the dancing (when there was actually dancing) was good. It gave certain songs a bizarre mysterious intrigue about the songs, they often weren’t even clear enough to be appreciated. Here dedication to Blue Ivy was moving, and you can see the love that she has for her daughter, as she struggled to keep it together .The surprise on her face when Jay Z awarding her with the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award was an amazing moment. To see a strong pop culture couple showing the power of family made the performance.
Now for the nitty gritty. I’m all about artistic expression, but what in the world is going on with this over sexualized notation that sexual expression is empowering women and the new feminism. As a role model she has a responsibility to protect woman from making their bodies weapons of manipulation, control, and power. Telling girls to get what they want via sex, promiscuity, and sex appeal contradicts all that the feminist movement did to make sure women were not being used. But now the message is “as long as your using men via your bodies it’s okay”. It’s a shame that women like Beyonce would rather see woman take many steps backwards in order to get ahead in life. I understand that performers are just that; performers. But at the end of the day people are sponges and they soak this in thinking that, “well this is how Beyonce did it, and look where it got it” Newsflash my dear women, she did not do anything that she is singing about to get where she is. She worked hard, respected herself, prayed, sacrificed, and paid tribute to the man who gave her these blessing, JESUS CHRIST. So don’t fall into the trap of this new artistic sexual feminism, because it will not land you your dreams.
Two Ten Grade: C
Pushing the envelope seems to be the norm for most mainstream artist. Miley did this, so I’m going to do this, Nikki did this so next year I’m going to do something news worthy. It’s a vicious over sexualized competition as to who can out sexify the next artist. It’s getting a little bit embarrassing for the music industry. The overall rating on this was PG-13 (modern PG-13) compared to last year’s R rating, so I will rejoice in the improvement. Overall this VMA gets an average grade is B-. Taylor, Sam, 5sos, and Azalea helped significantly with their stellar performances. However, the Beyonce, Usher, and Nikki were undoubtedly the reasons that this VMA did not achieve higher in my gradebook.
OVERALL Performance GRADE: B-
Oscar "Two Ten" Rivera is all about bringing the fire. Passionate, comedic, and driven to deliver the truth, the right way.