The Incredible and Sad Tale of the Twerk-Filled VMAs
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I'm not going to blast the Video Music Awards. I'd like to, but I can't. The ceremony did exactly what it was supposed to do: It presented the top tier, high-money pop music celebrities in all their awful reality, warts and all.
I still have to say something about the whole affair. Partly because the memory is a demon that must be exorcised. Partly, with regard to Miley Cyrus in particular, because I've been assuming others would say what needed to be said and they haven't. Plenty tried. There's been no shortage of opinion on the subject this week. But it all falls short.
Mind you, I may not be the best judge. I wouldn't have watched the damn thing in the first place, but my daughter commandeered the TV Sunday night and I found myself drawn in against my will, fascinated and horrified, unable to look away from the devastation from this man-made disaster.
Friends, my hopes for the spectacle were not high -- yet, still too high.
Regarding my suitability to judge, the issue has also come up that I may simply be the wrong age group. Referring to all of us who remember the 1980s fondly, my TheStreet colleague Jason Notte commented on Facebook that if we thought it was terrible, we're probably too old.
I am old. No question. Old enough that I remember veejays. But I reject the argument that age disqualifies my distaste. Yes, I thought the performers at the ceremony sucked and yes, I think the VMAs usually suck. I'm on the fringe of MTV's target demographic in another way, too: in addition to being over the hill, I'm over-educated.
I grant you all that. Yet, it is undeniable this VMA ceremony did indeed suck terribly. That fact is inescapable. In fact, I would put it into a rare category of suckiness, transcending bad into superbad. Just take it on its own merits, not even bothering to compare it to past VMAs -- it was abysmal.
High points? O.K., to be fair, there were exactly two.
Kanye West's performance of Blood on the Leaves was exceptional. Sticking closely to the minimalist script of New Slaves and Black Skinheads , West was high-energy wild and artfully stylish at once. He came out, bounded around and was brilliant, then he left. Bewildered by anything of actual quality, everybody in the Brooklyn audience and everybody watching at home quickly forgot about him.
Justin Timberlake's Broadway-style 15-minute song-and-dance medley was phenomenal. He and his dancers were clearly having a great time and executed pretty much flawlessly. The music, as is most Timberlake music, was beautiful and wholly empty, the performance meaningless but, damn, he is a huge talent. Would be nice if he had some material worthy of it.