Vulture

Skip to content, or skip to search.

vma wrap-up

VMA Wrap-up: Beyoncé’s Baby Already Making Things More Fun Than They Should Be

The hostless MTV Video Music Awards just wrapped up and, guys, Beyoncé is pregnant. As befits an award show that could bring us such joyous news, these VMAs were pretty much a hoot. Sure, there were (as always at the VMAs) some random, unsavory moments — there was Chris Brown dancing on a trampoline while "Smells Like Teen Spirit" played; there was house act Jessie J mauling "No Scrubs" in a bedazzled air cast; there was Katy Perry's cube-of-cheese hat; there was a "tribute" to Britney Spears that lasted a mere four minutes and was just a horrible remix of her songs; there were a couple performances we forgot/blocked out as they were happening — but there was also the fun, the goofy, the Babyoncé of it all. In hindsight, the decision not to have a host was a good one: no lame comedian to get in the way of Bey, Gaga, and Tyler the Creator. On to the highlights!

1) As previously mentioned: Beyoncé is pregnant! This was announced before the show even began, but Bey saw fit to announce it again, after she tore the roof off with a performance of her not even that great single "Love on Top" (which Adele cutely knew all the words to). Following the performance, which Beyoncé did in a very Janelle Monae–ish sequined tux, Beyoncé straight dropped the mike on the stage, rubbed her tummy, and laughed really, really big. The camera cut to Jay-Z, as Kanye gave him a big, proud shoulder grab. Total adorableness all around. Yay! Hooray! Make way for Bey-Z! It was all so feel-good, it even made it seem humane that Britney Spears won a lifetime achievement award and all she got to do with it was introduce Beyoncé's performance: It really is an honor to introduce B.

Get More: 2011 VMA, Music, Beyoncé


2) Lady Gaga As Jo Calderone. Gaga opened the show dressed as her male alter ego, Jo Calderone, and didn't break character throughout the long show. If the Jo persona got off to a rocky start — a three-minute monologue as Lenny Bruce meets Al Pacino meets a chain smoker meets someone who wants to say the word "guy" a million times —  it picked up once the performance of "You & I" got going. (Seriously, though, the anti-cigarette lobby is going to have some words for Gaga tomorrow.) Those expecting a costume change didn't get one — yes, Gaga turned down a costume change! — but whatever makeup artist did Gaga's stubble is to be commended, and the sight of all those Brooks Brothers–suited dancers moving in unison behind Gaga was actually quite something. Not as "something" as the audience's "huh?" reaction shots, though. (Bieber, who after Chris Brown's performance said "That's my boy!" had no idea what to make of Calderone.) Jo appeared two other times that night: when Gaga won for "Born This Way," and to give the Video Vanguard award to Spears. In both of these instances, Gaga committed to the "performance," and even had some really nice, genuine words to offer about Spears's influence. Also some crass ones: "I used to hang pictures of [Britney] on my wall and touch myself when I would go to bed." Oh Gaga, don't ever change.

Anyway! Here's Gaga's performance.

3) Tyler, the ... Adorable Creator? Whatever your feelings about Odd Future and Tyler, the Creator, they had a good night. It started with the Wolf Gang presenting the award for best hip hop video to Nicki Minaj (we're skipping over the less good part, where they had a cringe-worthy dance-off with Seth Rogen, Jack Black, and Will Ferrell, who came onstage as the "future Beastie Boys"). Tyler admitted, sweetly, that he was really nervous, and then went wild when he got to announce that Nicki won. (Yay for Nicki and your deranged tutu!) Later, Odd Future won the Best Newcomer VMA, and Tyler's mom — and Tyler — were both incredibly geeked about it. No matter how uncool MTV has become, even the cool kids let it move them from time to time; that may make them a little less cool, but, eh, cool, who wants to think about it all the time? Not Tyler, apparently, who took the opportunity to jump around, curse, seem really happy, and shout out Earl. Also Odd Future–related: the speed at which Selena Gomez, who presented them the award, peeled out of their way as they ran onstage, and Katie Holmes cracking a joke about how she's scared of them.

4) Kanye and Jay-Z being best buds. 'Ye and Jay came out early for their "surprise" performance of "Otis." A dude rushed the stage in the middle, but that couldn't stop the pair from smiling at each other, just the night's first instance of them laughing together. They did it again and again, making themselves the most reliable fun reaction shot of the evening. Jay's going to be a dad! They had a good time!

5) Feel-Good Errata. Some dribs and drabs. Rick Ross and Paul Rudd introduced a band together — Oscars, make this happen; Drake, introducing Lil' Wayne at the end of the show, rocked his cardigan game; if the Bruno Mars tribute to Amy Winehouse just made everyone miss Amy Winehouse, it was still sweet to see how many people could sing along to "Valerie."


5) Feel-Good Errata. Some dribs and drabs. Rick Ross and Paul Rudd introduced a band together — Oscars, make this happen; Drake, introducing Lil' Wayne at the end of the show, rocked his cardigan game; if the Bruno Mars tribute to Amy Winehouse just made everyone miss Amy Winehouse, it was still sweet to see how many people could sing along to "Valerie."