By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
By Raillan Brooks
God Bless MTV. For the VMAs, we expect no less than Christina Aguilera cloaked by a sea of white fog, Beyonce backed by the bomb squad, Al Gore stopping in for a public service announcement, and stage crashers risking life and limb just to drop their website URL. And of course there was that opening with Jay Z, filmed by helicopter from a New York City rooftop for a grand total of 20 seconds; Sarah Silverman wrangled in to fill the awkward-joke role left empty by the absence of Chris Rock; the emcee (this year, Jack Black) running through an opening skit that goes over like the best of Saturday Night Live, 2006. And the fashion, of course, will never disappoint.
And the awards go to:
Greatest proof you're truly maturing as a band, as evidenced by simultaneously-timed facial hair growth: The Killers. Is that moustache stick-on?
Hardest-working hairpiece that made it through prison bitchfights and lived to tell the tale: Lil' Kim and whatever her head was wearing.
Clearest sign MTV would hand out an award to a Cheez Doodle: Wow, a moonman for Ringtone of the Year.
Worst trend to hit live award shows: Broadcasting the magic backstage by mic-ing up the producers. "You guys, I have Pharrell on his way""I need Paris out of that green room now""I'm staying with Sarah Silverman, we're backstage, we're ready""I need Diddy, where is he?" Someone was actually paid to make this happen.
Bravest equestrian: The fashion press will probably fry him for those riding pants and boots topped with an Atlanta Braves cap, but to us, Andre 3000 commits no fashion mistakes. His ensemble was sweetly bizarre, and he looked like the only artist up there that wasn't lobotomized by his stylist.
Most likely to have been attacked by a rabid beaver: Pink's head. Sweet coiffure: prom-in-the-front, army-bitch-in-the-back.
Hottest neck beard: Jack White, congrats.
Outfit so ugly the fashion police will be stumped for comment: J. Lo's high-necked gold minidress, complete with matching swim cap.
Most heartfelt Hype Williams tribute we actually believed: Missy Elliot, appearing on stage in the garbage-bag suit she wore for her Hype-directed "I Can't Stand the Rain" video. Beamed into every TV in America as a big Missy balloon, without even the assistance of a wind machine or quick music-video cutaways. This woman relived her fat days just for you. There is no greater love, Hype.
Most glorious return of the Club MTV crotch shot: We thought nothing could improve upon Beyonce performing an orgiastic version of "Ring the Alarm," dressed in little more than patent leather hot pants and thigh high boots--but that completely unnecessary, gratuitous crotch shot was a gift from the Viacom heavens straight to you, cable subscriber.
Prettiest manicure: Jared Leto and those delicate man hands he kept fluttering, adorned in black fingerless gloves. Whoa, tiger, is that black nail polish?! All the way from giving it to Claire Danes in the boiler room to looking like Marilyn Manson's fluffer-girl. Ditch the Jordan Catalano choker, and look how you've soared.