Just how awkward will the awkwardly staged moment between Kanye West and Taylor Swift be? Will Eminem deign to smile? Which uncomfortable pop star will B.o.B choose to bring up on stage with him? And how will your hosts, Pitchfork’s Ryan Dombal and eMusic’s Sean Fennessey, make it to midnight without passing out? The answers to these questions and more, below, on our official SOTC 2010 MTV VMA Live Blog, commencing shortly. (Amuse yourself in the meantime with last year’s edition.)
Nicki Minaj Performs “Check It Out” With Will.i.am on the Pre-Show [8:35 p.m.]
SF: Tim Kash informs us that Nicki Minaj has a “great behind.” And here she is. Will.i.am emerges dressed like the black Max Headroom.
RD: Will.i.am has too much time on his hands. Also, a live-action Jetsons movie just got greenlit. I want to Jazzercise right now.
SF: Nicki, fearlessly weird, and sort of disturbing!
RD: She just did the “Come to Daddy” scream to a dude in all white who’s doing the robot — I think I recognize that guy from Nicki’s Ustreams! I have too much time on my hands.
SF: That man is wearing a “Pink Friday 11.23.10” T-shirt. RIP Macy Gray.
A Preview of the Kanye West Movie [8:49 p.m.]
RD: Kanye’s sampling Eyes Wide Shut now.
SF: Also The Black Swan, and Michael Bay in 45 seconds. “Runaway”!
RD: It’s the “Flashing Lights” video…w/ a deer! I always knew there was something missing from that video.
Ke$ha White Carpet Interview With Sway [8:50 p.m.]
SF: I refuse to let this Ke$ha moment go undocumented: “I have a Trans AM.”
RD: She’s wearing Home Depot. She wins.
Eminem Performs “Not Afraid” and “Love the Way You Lie” With Rihanna [9:00 p.m.]
SF: Biggest musical star on the planet performing in the Batcave. And that cave turned into an awards show!
RD: True but true: Eminem has never been older than he is right now. And they ripped off Kanye’s Storytellers set!
SF: Your wife Rihanna looks like (sounds like?) Wesley Willis.
RD: Never thought I’d say it but RiRi’s Charli Baltimore-as-boot camp ballerina look is played.
Chelsea Handler Monologue [9:07 p.m.]
SF: Would you classify yourself as a Chelsea Handler fan?
SF: Are you comfortable calling her a racist?
SF: Her humor so far has consisted of “fear of a black man” comedy. Chelsea is like the post-modern Johnny Carson — celebrities love her but she’s not as funny as people insist.
RD: “I’m a Jersey girl.” That’s real. And why didn’t they just get Perez to host?
SF: Rosie Perez?
RD: Rick Ross saves the day AGAIN! (Seated, natch.)
SF: He can’t walk.
Gaga Wins Best Female Video for “Bad Romance” [9:15 p.m.]
RD: Lemme guess, she loves her fans. I’ve seen Gaga w/ those boots before. She’s slipping. Where’s Ke$ha when you need her.
SF: “Little monsters” = the cool kids at the party. Lies.
Click this text to watch a drunk Ron Wood present a zoning David Lee Roth with an award at the 1984 VMAs. >>>
Jackass Guys Present 30 Seconds to Mars With Best Rock Video [9:24 p.m.]
RD: Are you looking forward to Jackass 3D or Black Swan more?
SF: Jackass 3D, obvs. Where falling is art.
RD: Will.i.am still in Headroom garb! Committed! Jared Leto is 47 years old. I didn’t make a 30STM banner.
Kim Kardashian Introduces Justin Bieber [9:29 p.m.]
SF: Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan had better sense of the comic moment than Chelsea Handler, a professional comedian.
RD: The parents of Bieber’s guitarist are so proud right now — actually, is that Kevin Rudolf?
SF: Kinda minimal exposure for backing crew Legaci.
RD: Motherfucker shut it down w/ a drum solo. Where’s Phil Collins when you need him?
SF: Proud of Bieber. He did it. Pop stardom, perfectly manicured.
Click this text to watch an ‘N Sync medley — including an OMG-worthy “Bye Bye Bye” bit — from the 2000 VMAs. (Bieber’s got work to do.) >>>
Ke$ha and Trey Songs Introduce Usher [9:38 p.m.]
SF: It feels like Usher is moving at half-speed these days.
RD: Also doesn’t help that he’s geared up for a sledding trip. MTV Europe is super jealous right now.
SF: “OMG” — smartest worst song or worstest smart song?
RD: It’s like a parody of a Will.i.am song. Which is taking it too far, I guess.
SF: At least this isn’t Chris Brown.
RD: Remember when Usher was all about being married and a dad? That was kinda cool in retrospect.
Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry Present Best Male Video [9:45 p.m.]
SF: Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj together. Ryan just passed out.
RD: Where am I?
SF: Ryan has been revived. Katy Perry, added to the list of comedians funnier than Chelsea.
RD: So we’re done now, right.
Chelsea Handler Makes an AutoTune Joke [9:51 p.m.]
SF: AutoTune joke made me laugh. Not gonna lie.
Florence and the Machine Performs [9:55 p.m.]
SF: “Dog Days Are Over” — the song every movie trailer editor loves.
RD: So this is Flo’s “‘Hey, who’s that?’ moment.” It’s working. Please allow me a nerd moment: She was better at the BRIT’s w/ Dizzee.
SF: Lots of people confused by Tilda Swinton’s performance there.
RD: White people!
“Travie” McCoy Does One of Those Brief Outro Performances [9:57 p.m.]
SF: “You can call me Travie Claus / Minus the ho ho.” Katy Perry won.
Glee People Present Best Pop Video to Gaga’s “Bad Romance” [10:04 p.m.]
SF: You think Ke$ha looks at Gaga and just thinks, “Almost.”
RD: Yeah, Gaga got heavy-duty garbage bags for her dress. Just ninety-nine cents more! Worth it.
Taylor Swift Performs Some Boring New Song [10:09 p.m.]
SF: Taylor Swift working that Meatloaf “I Would Do Anything” vibe with this set. Also, the drummer is forced to play outside. That’s fucked up.
RD: Kanye wins.
SF: Florence and Taylor both shoeless. Only one can sing live, though.
RD: Caramanica is crying right now.
SF: He ought to be. This is a farce. I am indignant.
RD: Sean just stormed out.
Click this text to watch Lenny Kravitz perform “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” with Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones at the 1993 VMAs. >>>
Cast of The Social Network (Justin Timberlake) Introduces Drake and Swizz and Mary J. Blige for “Fancy” [10:22 p.m.]
RD: Timberlake FTW! Eisenberg is oily. Justin come back, plz.
SF: Who knew Eisenberg didn’t have a natural perm? Swizzy!
RD: Drake’s faces — possibly better than Nicki’s. He wants it so bad. The Mary Dance.
SF: This is actually excellent. Pinky ring. “Fancy” is such a smash.
RD: First great moment of the show, easy.
Cutaway of Katy Perry Talking to Rihanna in the Crowd [10:28 p.m.]
SF: Rihanna to Katy Perry: “Small dick.” Also: Ryan is unconscious again.
RD: I need a moment. I’ve passed out twice and Kanye hasn’t even appeared. Impressive.
Sofia Vergara Presents Best Hip-Hop Video to Eminem, Who Has Left the Building to Be Upstaged By Jay-Z at Yankee Stadium Tomorrow Night [10:35 p.m.]
SF: Wow, Paris Hilton got fat. And Venezuelan.
RD: Eminem is the new Britney w/ all these “sorry” awards.
SF: How long before he puts an umbrella through a car window?
RD: He’s not afraid, Sean.
Click this text to watch another clip of David Lee Roth being more amazingly risque than Chelsea Handler will ever be at the 1984 VMAs. >>>
Selena Gomez and Ne-Yo Introduce Hits Medley With B.o.B. and Paramore’s Hayley Williams and Bruno Mars [10:42 p.m.]
SF: Selena Gomez’s presents with Ne-Yo. Her virginity: Safe tonight. Bruno Mars, rocking the Nic Cage-in-Peggy-Sue-Got-Married.
RD: Hayley solo album in 2011. She is not good at dancing. Is there a word for anti-chemistry?
SF: This is sad how two people I really liked 6 months ago I don’t like anymore.
RD: Still, this is a good look for Hayley. “The Only Exception” deserves to be played in full. (Sincerity.)
Robyn Does Dubstep Remix of “Dancing On My Own” for Outro Performance [10:47 p.m.]
SF: Pretty sure Robyn was lip-synching. Sorry, indie a-holes!
RD: First sign of dubstep in VMA history? People will look back on this performance. Three people.
Emma Stone and Some Other Guy Introduce Linkin Park’s “Number One Single” [10:55 p.m.]
RD: It should be illegal to call a modern rock number one a “number one single.”
SF: Remember Linkin Park?
RD: Yeah, are you still buddies w/ Mike Shinoda?
SF: Nicest guy in music.
RD: This is pretty NIN-y. Not that bad?
SF: Reminds me a lot of 2004, when rock sucked.
RD: At least Shinoda isn’t rapping. They won’t make a big comeback b/c they haven’t recovered, I think. That’s the bar now.
SF: Hard to believe Chester Bennington is some sort of hero to people. He seems like a bummer.
Click this text to watch David Byrne pull his 1985 Video Vanguard Award out of a dryer. >>>
Cher Presents Video of the Year to Gaga [11:06 p.m.]
RD: CHER! TURNING BACK TIME! NATURALLY! MAYBE!
SF: Katy Perry, Rihanna, Ke$ha looking adoringly at her. Chilling. We will all grow old.
RD: Pretty sure Cher just told them to sit down. Gaga looks like she has to use the bathroom.
SF: Nominated in this category: GAGA, GAGA, GAGA, GAGA , and GAGA.
RD: Gaga goes fake meat for the big one.
SF: Currently MIA: Christina Aguilera.
RD: And M.I.A.
Kanye and Pusha T Perform a New Song That Could Reasonably Be Titled “Toast for the Douchebags” (And Is Actually Called “Runaway”) [11:10 p.m.]
RD: Um, Kanye still the best. Like there are few things more obvious than this in the twenty-first century.
SF: That lived up! Feels really good to see the two rappers I’ve been most invested in for the last 10 years closing the VMAs. Frivolous, but weirdly important.
RD: Incredible that Pusha closes the show and Pharrell was seen doing some bullshit commercial w/ Ciara. Tables, turned.
SF: Also stellar watching the closing artist make a beat on an MPC onstage.
RD: Very “I am an artist.”
SF: Taylor Swift lost two years in a row.