fixing the vma’s

(A local news item quick. It had been rumored for weeks, but it’s now official, Lifehouse will be playing ESU on Monday, Sept. 22. The official release just crossed my desk, I’ll have a longer story up on within a half hour. On to the blog.)


A little misdirection here.


Yes, I meant to put up my Wednesday Fall TV viewing guide today. Yes, I meant to keep doing one every day through the week. So it didn’t happen. So what? Sue me. Something came up.


Like the 25th MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday. Wild horses carrying Lager, free wings and a Phillies World Series game on a 56-inch HD plasma couldn’t keep me from  writing about the latest edition of The Train Wreck Awards Show. (Yeah, I just made that up.)


I love the VMAs. It’s the one major pop culture thing that debuted (in 1983), rose to be a cultural sensation (in 1989), peaked (in 1997), descended (in 2003 with the Madonna-Britney kiss) and fell into oblivion (in 2004) all while I was watching. I take pride in saying I’m one of the few people who can lay claim to watching every single VMA show live.


But if it had been going downhill since 2003, 2007 was the rock of the bottom of the rock of the bottom. What’s worse, the spontaneous WTF moments the show is famous for were as close to staged as you’ll ever find. Vince McMahon cringed. It’s been revealed the network KNEW Britney was a wreck in rehearsals, but claimed she’d be fine come show time. Seriously???


The 2007 VMAs were intended to shake things up, boost sagging ratings and truly enter the digital age. It was a calculated risk that went about as well as Chernobyl – it was a complete, utter and hideous failure from the venue (The Palms in Las Vegas when everyone seems to be soooooo over Vegas) to the lack of a true host to the performance suites concept.


So let’s take a mulligan here. Here are five things that need to happen Sunday to bring the show back to relevancy. I’ll come back and grade the results Monday morning:


1. Great performers making great performances. The great performers thing is already in question. There is plenty of current star power (Lil Wayne, the Jonas Brothers) but you’re looking at a bunch of rookies and Kid Rock and Pink. That’s a lot of pressure you’re putting on someone like Rihanna to come up big. Hopefully there is some kind of VMA vet (Springsteen? Madonna? Janet Jackson? They’re all out on tour now) to pick things up. PRE-GRADE: C-


2. Good presenters. You pass with flying colors if you can get the most popular person in the county right now (Michael Phelps) and the hot, young, cast of what is destined to be the biggest movie of the fall (High School Musical 3). PRE-GRADE: A


3. A WTF moment. VMAs that don’t have one are forgotten. No one would give two craps about last year’s show if it wasn’t for Britney’s zaniness, set up or not. There is always potential for it happening – but these days there seem to be more potential for MTV getting in the way of itself. Still, the possibility of having Britney recreate the Madonna kiss with Lindsay Lohan seems almost too good to be true. PRE-GRADE: B-


4. Humor: MTV is promising lots of the pre-taped spoof-type stuff that used to make the MTV Movie Awards semi-interesting to watch. But let’s make sure it’s actually funny along the lines of Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn pitching Titanic 2. PRE-GRADE: B


5. Good host: Memo to MTV: There is a such thing as “too hip.” You can overreach and end up pulling someone out of the WTF??? pile like stateside-unknown comic Russell Brand. I’m actually morally offended by the choice, and I’m not sure why. PRE-GRADE: F-

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