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Yet Another VMA Running Diary


Diddy flexes impressive joke-telling muscles

Apologies to OG bossman Fluxblog.

I missed most of the pre-show, which apparently means I missed Kurt Loder calling Young Jeezy “Lil Jeezy” to his face. Ballsy!

7:51: Fall Out Boy, playing the pre-show, sounds pretty terrible. The more I think about this guy’s sideburns, the more they piss me off.

7:55: 50 Cent is here with Mase to let everyone know the G-Unit signing is official. Mase is wearing a ridiculously ugly banana-yellow suit and a G-Unit spinner, and the signing is looking like a worse and worse idea for everyone involved. 50 Cent says his performance is going to be a “melody” when he means “medley.”

8:00: Green Day gets the Springsteen Important-Band pole position. In related news, no one ever needs to hear “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” again.

8:06: Lil Jon and Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park did the “original score” for the show, and so far it sounds like background music from Cleopatra 2525. Diddy has an amazingly overblown entrance, rising slowly from a pool of water on a platform elevator, then going on to dance with some girls holding white streamers while Rennaissance-Festival music plays and jets of water shoot up from the ground. Diddy daringly opts not to tell any jokes or actually introduce anyone. I hope he does this all night.

8:11: Nelly and Lindsay Lohan present the Best Male and Best Female Video awards at the same time, and there’s a confusing onstage logjam while Kelly Clarkson and Kanye West figure out what to do.

8:14: Beavis and Butt-Head make their long-overdue return to MTV to announce the Viewers’ Choice Award nominees. This is already better than last year’s show.

8:23: The great plague of rappers performing with live bands claims its latest victim: Ludacris, who has the go-go band Rare Essence playing their version of “Pimping All Over the World.” The sound is horrible and muddy, and Luda has to yell to be heard over it. I can’t wait until people realize this live-band thing is just a horrible idea.

8:27: Diddy announces that he’s a gentleman and that no vulgarity will be allowed that night, and then he says a bunch of bleeped-out cusswords. Hilarious. He also announces some bullshit fashion challenge.

8:41: In a confusing mess of a bit, Diddy has an aborted dance-off with Omarion, and Uncle Luke comes out to yell for a few seconds. Is Diddy dancing that badly on purpose?

8:42: MC Hammer does a new version of “U Can’t Touch This.” It’s nice to see him.

9:00: Usher introduces some people krumping. I hate this krumping shit.

9:05: Someone let Eric Roberts onstage to plug his son’s band. Someone is getting fired right now.

9:08: In a truly bizarre move, R. Kelly lip-synchs Chapter 3 of “Trapped in the Closet,” playing all the characters and introducing a brand-new chapter. The narrator leaves the apartment as Cathy and Chuck fight over Rufus. Kelly’s hilarious over-the-top wrist-flapping performance as Chuck is easily the funniest thing to happen all night.

9:23: The Killers play at a motel in Miami, standing over a pool while fireworks explode overhead. It looks amazing.

9:26: So who did more coke before coming onstage: Jeremy Piven or Lil Kim?

9:38: Diddy conducts an orchestra playing some lameass seesaw shit under “Juicy” and “Warning.” It’s nice to see another Biggie tribute and all, but can’t Diddy just leave those songs alone and let them be good songs?

9:41: Common busts an incredibly lame freestyle, and Johnny Knoxville stands around uncomfortably. Then Johnny Knoxville says something about a pocketful of amphetamines, and Common stands around uncomfortably. Then they give out an award.

9:44: Every year, some emo band wins the MTV2 award and then goes on to do absolutely nothing of note. Welcome to the club, Fall Out Boy.

9:50: Fat Joe introduces Don Omar, Tego Calderon, and Daddy Yankee, all of whom get about 45 seconds of stage time. Joe says it’s a historic occasion. Whatever. Joe also manages to slip in a sneaky G-Unit dis, saying that he feels safe with so many police there. Sly! According to online reports, 50 Cent jumps up onstage, but MTV fucks up and doesn’t put it on TV.

9:59: Diddy says “anything can happen” for the millionth time.

10:01: In a truly pretty visual, Coldplay plays “Speed of Sound” in front of a fluorescent indoor waterfall.

10:09: Is Joss Stone really popular and no one told me? How does she keep getting invited to stuff like this?

10:13: Kanye West and Jamie Foxx make a grand entrance, rocking Miami Vice tuxes and striking back-to-back poses on a revolving elevator platform. My girlfriend says, “They must get together like ‘We love ourselves!’ It’s like explosive self-love!” They also totally rip the stage, Jamie Foxx running through the crowd with his tuxedo shirt torn open while jets of dollar bills shoot up from the stage.

10:18: Kanye’s performance is followed by a Kanye MTV promo spot and a Kanye Pepsi ad.

10:23: Dane Cook is a special new breed of not funny. It never works when MTV tries throwing a comic out onstage, even if he’s wearing a stupid motorcycle jacket (see: Clay, Andrew Dice).

10:33: Mariah Carey looks like a frightened baby deer performing at some Miami hotel with dancers jumping into fountains and Jermaine Dupri playing hypeman while sitting on a giant wicker throne. She looks nervous and fragile, like even she isn’t sure when she’ll melt down.

10:46: The Gorillaz win Breakthrough Video, confusing a cracked-out Paulina Rubio.

10:47: The G-Unit performance turns out to be a massive train wreck. 50 Cent wears giant leather pants, MTV bleeps everything Tony Yayo says, and Mobb Deep can’t even get a closeup. They respond to Fat Joe’s relatively slick, subtle dis by yelling cusswords at him, some of which make it past the censors. Fat Joe wins this round!

11:02: Bow Wow is much, much shorter than Paris Hilton.

11:12: Michelle from Destiny’s Child tries to say some stuff about God while Jamie Foxx yells “Hallelujah” like an idiot.

11:19: Kelly Clarkson headbanging in an onstage fountain makes a nice end to a relatively quiet, unassuming VMAs with no big surprises or self-conscious blockbuster duets. It was oddly reassuring to see a show where no one was working overtime to grab attention from anyone else, everyone doing their jobs and going home. I approve.

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