‘O’ no, MTV Part 2

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

“… So, what good came from this? … In case you missed the last two paragraphs, this was a good idea. It’s something other awards show entities will flock to as the years go on (what? you mean to tell me there won’t be some type of Web-related aspect to the Academy Awards ceremony in 50 years?). It’s just that the execution was poor. And that’s all. You can’t blame MTV, a network that has been more criticized in the last 20 years than any American president, for looking forward when thinking about music, technology and television. It would be a shame if the network let this first go-around be the last. A few adjustments, some higher-profile names, a better game plan, a more structured approach and a few more interesting tweaks, and you could have yourself an awfully successful venture. …”

That was what I wrote in May of this year in response to MTV’s first installment of its O Awards, the ceremony designed to acknowledge those musical artists who have utilized the many, many aspects of the Interwebs in a (sometimes) innovative way and hand out trophies for such things as “Best Fan Cover” and “Best Tweet.” Yes. Best Tweet.

The original go-around wasn’t groundbreaking, but it was interesting enough to suggest the oh-so-hip suits at MTV were making an effort to take advantage of this always-changing world of technology and the impact it can have on the music industry. You couldn’t blame the network for trying, yet you couldn’t really find a good reason to actually sit down and re-watch the broadcast on MTV’s Website. Like I said: maybe some higher-profile names and a little more structure and the O Awards could be the next … it could be the next … well, it could be the next mildly interesting something for people who like music and the Internet.

Enter the O Awards volume two. Yes. That’s right. Instead of waiting a full year before having another go at it, the music television mainstay decided to offer up another ceremony on, of all days, Halloween, from, of all places, West Hollywood, California. And the result was, of all things, not much better than the inaugural ceremony.

Higher-profile names? Check.

Structure? Oh, my God, no.

We’ll begin with the former. The better-known names came this time in the form of the Robyn, who served as this ceremony’s Matt & Kim by performing a grand total of five times throughout the hour webcast (while even showing some anger during “Hang With Me” as she continuously gave somebody in the crowd the bird, entertainingly enough). Unlike the aforementioned Brooklyn duo, though, Robyn did not act as host. That title went to, among other people, Matt Pinfield, the network’s one-time tastemaker and resident walking musical encyclopedia (his presence, too, fell in the “higher-profile names” category, mind you).

Both individuals were welcome additions to the show and even provided a bit of hope that the network knew what it was doing this time around. Robyn has found a second career as an indie dance darling who has a more rabid fan base than three Demi Lovato’s and two Jessie J’s. Pinfield, on the other hand, is somewhat of a failed legend that never could figure out how to maintain a career around music. He went from cool, all-knowing MTV host, to record label A&R guy, to your latest VH1 list commentator, to, well, hosting the second O Awards ceremony in six months. You do the math. But his presence did indeed provide some much-needed credibility and Robyn’s house-band-ish role was without any doubt the correct move for MTV and the people it was looking to draw.

Everything else, on the other hand, was just one hot mess of awful.

This ceremony’s token world-record-breaking event was centered around the longest team dance marathon time. Let’s say this again. The longest team dance marathon time. It sounds as bad as it looked, but neither sound nor presentation could possibly top the incessant, all-I-want-to-do-is-punch-you-as-hard-as-I-can-in-the-face nature of somebody called D-Trix, the young-looking metro-sexual, overly-excited dude “reporting” from the world-record site. His presence alone is enough for me to never tune in again, and I swear if I saw that guy on the street tomorrow …

But I digress. All D-trix diatribes aside, MTV again found itself scrambling to not look low-rent, a problem I thought would have been the easiest to fix coming away from the first ceremony. Instead, the second installment looked even more flippant than the first. Shockingly (yes, shockingly), they actually took awards away from the first go-around. For instance, remember how much I gushed over Andy Grammer’s “Keep Your Head Up” after discovering it through the O Awards after he won the “Most Innovative Music Video” category? Idiotically, that category was apparently banished. Gone. Kaput.

It makes no sense, really. Of all the stupid awards a show like this could conjure up, why get rid of the one that could actually provide some neatness or interest to those who might actually take the time to sit down and watch? It’s a disservice to the viewers and more than anything, it’s a pretty big step back for an awards ceremony designed to show how well MTV can sprint forward.

Was there any good that came from all of this? Well, considering the precedent set with the first webcast, the short answer is no. But do I go back on my thought that this could potentially be a great idea if the right people get behind the controls of such a thing? Absolutely not. This is where the future is going. There is not a doubt in my mind that the MTV O Awards could someday be just as important as the MTV Video Music Awards.

But while one problem was addressed, another, more important issue still remains and that’s the show’s element of professionalism and the lack thereof. Come on, guys. There is no excuse to have hosts not knowing which camera to look into at this point in the game.

You want to do better? First, ditch the twice a year model. What makes awards shows interesting is the fact that they only happen once a year. Giving out awards every six months discredits the actual award, however ridiculous the award might be. Second, bring back the “Most Innovative Music Video” category, and think of some more ideas for categories that are similar. You have a platform, MTV, so use it to your advantage. Actually care about this kind of stuff. “Best Artist With A Camera Phone” should not be an award handed out ever. One more time. Ever. Third, fire D-Trix right now. Right. Now. And finally, start putting pride into the production. Both ceremonies felt like glorified street concerts and irrelevant world-record attempts. Figure out a better formula for the idea of a Web-based awards show. I know it exists somewhere. It has to.

That’s two strikes, MTV. Let’s try to at least get some wood on the ball the next time we see a pitch, fellas. Goodness. For the sake of The Flaming Lips’ cover of The Beatles’ “Revolution,” let’s try to get some wood on the ball next time we see a pitch.

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