Back To The Glory Days: UT’s Coverage of MTV’s 2009 Video Music Awards

Illustration by Max Roberts/The Minaret
Illustration by Max Roberts/The Minaret

The MTV Video Music Awards, aka the VMAs, are among the most edgy, creative, and humorous award shows that air on live, national television.

With over the top performances and acts of undefined nature, the VMAs have served as a pop culture spinoff to the Grammy’s for about 25 years.

The award show focuses on music videos, and highlights the year’s most successful entertainers in music. Various awards are given out to winners based on the votes of the people watching; each award is in the shape of a moon man, an iconic figure of the VMAs since the show first aired in 1984.

The VMAs have broadcasted from a myriad of venues in cities including: New York, Las Angeles, Miami and Las Vegas; the shows typically air in New York City’s famous and historic Radio City Music Hall, which seats roughly six thousand people.

The VMAs have hosted some of the most memorable performances by artists of all kind including: Madonna, Michael Jackson, Miriah Carey, Janet Jackson, NSYNC and Britney Spears.

This past Sunday, hundreds of today’s hottest and most popular actors and musicians gathered in New York City, at the Radio City Music Hall, for this year’s 2009 VMA.

Once again, MTV provided viewers from around the world with a show like no other, including heart throbbing performances, jaw dropping moments and a house full of celebrities. Each year, the VMAs seem to top the previous and by the looks of things, this fallacy could, in fact, be true. The night began with a performance tribute to the king of pop, Michael Jackson, reminiscing the world premiere of his music video, “Thriller.”

Not only did the tribute performance incorporate phenomenal dancers, but also midway through the song, Michael’s beloved sister, Janet Jackson, took over with a spin on Michael’s single, “Scream.”

The song received a standing ovation and turned out to be the perfect start to a memorable evening. Janet wasn’t the only one to pay tribute to the king of pop, but Madonna as well, with a beautiful, crafted eulogy of the king of pop and her experiences with him. The host of the show and last year’s host, Russell Brand, made a dramatic entrance during Katy Perry’s rendition of Queen’s “We Will Rock You”, which she performed alongside Aerosmith’s, Joe Perry.

He, like most hosts, gave the show it’s humor with his witty English remarks on the many celebrities, such as their performances and what they were wearing. Although, at times, his sarcasm and odd remarks can be misunderstood, he served as a great asset to the show.

As the show carried on, with its usual raunchy, explicit manner, performances by the year’s most popular musicians stole the show. Performances by Wale, 3OH!3, Green Day, Muse, the All American Rejects and Jay-Z all got the crowd cheering, but couldn’t compare to the other, in some cases death defying, performances of the evening.

Taylor Swift performed her hit single, “You Belong with Me”, in which she won best female video for on the set of a subway station inside Radio City Music Hall and ended the song standing on a cab amongst hundreds of fans outside the venue.

One of the most death defying acts of the evening was Pink’s performance of “Sober”. In the beginning of the song, Pink was attached to cables and hoisted up into the air onto a trapeze, where she performed the entire song. (along side a male trapeze artist) while flipping, swaying, and gliding through the air.

Lady Gaga not only gave a memorable evening with her attire, (4 outfits total, including her performance), but with her uniquely, odd performance of Paparazzi.

The song was semi-normal until midway through she left center stage to play a beautiful piano piece over the playing track, and came back with blood running down her body. Not to mention at the end of the song she was hoisted into the air, covered in blood, and appeared to be dead.

The evening wouldn’t have been the same with out Video of the Year winner Beyonce’s performance medley of “Sweet Dreams” and the hit single, “Single Ladies”. Once again she showed off her voluptuous, curvy body in a very revealing, sequined leotard. The performance truly showed off her egotistic stage persona “Sasha Fierce” as she danced and sang simultaneously, and effortlessly alongside two other female dancers.

Besides the epic performances given, the evening was also hyped up on the never before seen trailers of future movies hitting the big screen this fall. Two very highly anticipated trailers that aired during the VMAs Sunday were: Michael Jackson’s “This Is It”, a combination of rehearsal footage and tribute footage all into one movie experience, and the Twilight Saga: “New Moon” starring heart-throbs: Robert Pattinson, Taylor Launter and Kristin Stewart.

Both movies will be released sometime this fall. Overall, the 2009 MTV VMAs did what it intends to do every year; draw attention, cause commotion, and give the viewers that extra oomph they don’t get from other award shows. MTV has done it again, and will continue to shock and impress viewers with each year to come. If you haven’t had a chance to watch this year’s VMAs, you can do so online at

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