2013 VMAs: A Night to Remember

August 26, 2013


Although MTV has gotten plenty of criticism over the past decade about losing the “Music” in “Music Television,” August 25th was all about the music. On the last Sunday of August, the relatively new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York was the place to be. The arena, opened by musical legend Jay Z in September 2012, was the venue that held the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. Throughout history, the VMAs have always been one of the year’s most risqué award shows and this year was no different.

Austin Mahone was first to turn the red carpet into a stage with a live performance of “What About Love.” The young singer donned black and red leather and a beanie while showing off a much-choreographed number. Austin kept with the black and red theme but looked little more award show-ready when he accepted the Moonman for the final award of the night, Artist to Watch. The Artist to Watch win marks Austin’s first Moonman but if he keeps up with this pace, I’m sure he’ll add a few more to his collection. Austin wasn’t the only young artist to perform during the pre-show, Ariana Grande also showed off her incredible voice in a set that included newest single “Baby I” featuring Big Sean and “The Way” featuring Mac Miller. Although neither rapper joined Ms. Grande during the performance, she definitely held her own. The newest addition to Scooter Braun Records is releasing her début album, Yours Truly, on September 8th and if it’s anything like the tracks we’ve already heard, it’s going to be an album you aren’t going to want to miss!

The Barclays Center stage didn’t feature one dull moment, especially when it came to performances. Austin wasn’t the only one to bring home his first Moonman; Selena Gomez won her first for Best Pop Video for “Come & Get It” and Bruno Mars took home his first Moonman for Best Male Video for “Locked Out of Heaven.” Bruno Mars also revealed his newest single “Gorilla,” off of his album Unorthodox Jukebox” with a performance that was complete with an abundance of green lasers and gorilla screams behind him. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis took home Moonmen for Best Rap Video, Best Cinematography and Best Video with a Social Message. The duo performed their gay rights anthem “Same Love” with Mary Lambert and Jennifer Hudson. Kanye West put a pause on fatherhood for the night to make the appearance in Brooklyn where he rapped “Blood on the Leaves” against a forest screen in darkness. His silhouette could be seen but that’s about it. Girlfriend Kim Kardashian tweeted “Best performance of the night @kanyewest !!!!!!!!!” but I’m starting to think it was a tiny bit biased, after all, he is the father of her adorable baby North West. Unfortunately Drake didn’t bring home any Moonmen last night but he did kill it on stage with “Hold On, We’re Going Home” and “Started From the Bottom.” The Toronto native started his set with a backdrop and real-life version of his upcoming album artwork, showing off his creative abilities, or at least the creative ability of someone on his team! Saving the best for last? Katy Perry visited the Brooklyn Bridge to perform her newest single “Roar.” The bombshell fought her way to the show-ending spot in a boxing ring surrounded by giant lions made of gold, backup dancers and a live band while fans surrounded the ring.

Although the show ended with Perry in a boxing ring beside her gold semi-truck and the Brooklyn Bridge, the beginning of the show proved to be the most controversial in terms of performances. The show kicked off with Lady Gaga (who can go a long time without blinking) performing her new single “Applause” which featured a number of costume changes, various wings and dancers in tight black outfits. Mother Monster ended her set in a seashell bikini, similar to the one in the “Applause” music video. While the world might have been shocked by Lady Gaga’s bikini, Miley Cyrus’ onstage performance made Mother Monster seem almost conservative. The former Disney star proved she’s definitely not a Disney princess anymore when she left the world speechless by her “We Can’t Stop” performance. Miley showed up on stage in a mouse costume of some sort while dancing with giant teddy bears, repeating her controversial music video for the single. Although a little outrageous, I was expecting it from Miley. I couldn’t prepare myself for what came next though, Miley stripped down to practically nothing while joining Robin Thicke on “Blurred Lines.” Honestly, the performance could’ve been done in a classier fashion, maybe by leaving Miley off the stage. I can confirm that I’ll never look at a foam finger the same way. Although ratchet is a broad term to use, I’m not sure there’s any other way to describe Miley last night. Once Cyrus’ “performance” ended, gears switched a little bit, Thicke performed his newest single “Give It 2 U” with 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar. After causing media mayhem last week, it was nice to see Kendrick on stage, rapping his heart out.

The general opinion surrounding last night’s awards is that Justin Timberlake was the best part of the night and I definitely have to agree! Every award show has the most coveted award and for the VMAs, the Video Vanguard Award is the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award. The Video Vanguard Award isn’t the only Moonman that will be placed atop Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel’s mantle; the former NSYNC member also took home Video of the Year for “Mirrors.” You’d assume the two biggest awards would be enough for Mr. Timberlake but then again, you can’t make assumptions when it comes to JT! He’s been in the music industry for quite some time so it’s only appropriate that his set included a prolonged medley of some of his greatest hits. Timberlake started his performance with “Take Back the Night” followed by “SexyBack,” and “Like I Love You.” Then came the moment everyone was waiting for, NSYNC reunited! This was a reunion so big that it deserves it’s own Weknowthedj post so keep an eye open for that. The 90s boy band sang a few verses from “Girlfriend” and “Bye Bye Bye” before the crowd went wild. Justin didn’t end there though, he came back to perform “Suit and Tie” and “Mirrors” before accepting the Moonman for Video of the Year.

So, as another award show comes to a close, we’re all somewhat grateful that we get a break from the chaos. In two and a half hours we saw Lady Gaga’s ability to keep her eyes wide open, Miley Cyrus’s lack of a wardrobe, Eminem announe his new album, Justin Timberlake steal the show, Katy Perry portray Mike Tyson, One Direction claim the song of the summer and Taylor Swift express every single emotion all over her face. Send us a tweet at @weknowthedj and let us know your thoughts on the show as a whole. What was your favorite part? What was your least favorite part? We’re interested to get all of your opinions! Personally, as much as I enjoyed certain aspects, I’m glad it’s over. Until next year, MTV VMAs!

Meg C. (@megchamp07)


Complete list of 2013 VMA winners:

Video of the Year- Justin Timberlake, “Mirrors”

Best Male Video- Bruno Mars, “Locked Out of Heaven” (first-time winner)

Artist to Watch- Austin Mahone, “What About Love” (first-time winner)

Best Song of the Summer- One Direction, “Best Song Ever”

Best Video with a Social Message- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert, “Same Love”

Best Female Video- Taylor Swift, “I Knew You Were Trouble”

Best Hip-Hop Video- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton, “Can’t Hold Us”

Best Pop Video- Selena Gomez, “Come & Get It” (first-time winner)

Best Rock Video- Thirty Seconds to Mars, “Up In The Air”

Best Collaboration: P!nk featuring Nate Ruess, “Just Give Me A Reason”

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