‘O’ no, MTV Part 3

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me a third time …

With the climax coming Thursday night, edition No. 3 of MTV’s O Music Awards proved to be the most talked-about rendition yet. Why is that, the disembodied voice asks? Simple: The Flaming Lips. But we’ll get to that in a second.

First, lest we remind you of exactly what the MTV O Music Awards is. For those who don’t recall Matt & Kim’s awkward attempt at hosting a live television show during the initial ceremony or Robyn unleashing her anger on some unfortunate dude sitting in the crowd by showing him her middle finger repeatedly during the second take, MTV’s O Music Awards is an event broadcast only online during which the network’s presumable “in-touch with hip, young culture” interns come up with such giggle-inducing awards as Best Artist With A Cameraphone and Most Intense Social Spat.

This is the point where I lament on how old and angry I am with the world.

Moving on, the ceremony happens every … well, it happens whenever those “in-touch with hip, young culture” interns decide to use their ever-so-smart, Starbucks-loving brains to come up with the aforementioned ground-breaking categories. We can then all assume that they use the word “bro” a lot and eventually figure out whom they can nominate.

The first two tries were, in a word, bad. Wait. Check that. If you are going to give me only one word, that word would be “awful” and not “bad.” OK. Wait. Never mind.

Anyways, if you happen to be one of the two-and-a-half people who have read this blog on a consistent basis, you’ll know that each time they throw one of these things up online, I take to this tiny corner of the InterSpace to ramble about how bad (see: awful) the show typically turns out to be. If you don’t believe me, click here and keep scrolling. On the other hand, if you do believe me, thanks for believing. As Train once said Journey once said, don’t stop doing that.

Oh, but if it were only that easy this time around …

Giving credit where credit is due, I now must admit the following: The third go-around for MTV’s O Music Awards was … not bad. Now, did the aforementioned “in-touch with hip, young culture” interns listen to any of my previous suggestions? Of course not (actually, they did, by bringing back the Most Innovative Music Video Award that I went to bat for the last time I wrote this, though we’ll suppress that thought for now). But did the people behind this makeshift awards ceremony finally figure out how to put together a decent show? Well …

The intelligence in this rendition is that it centered around The Flaming Lips’ attempt at breaking Jay-Z’s record of performing seven concerts in one day. What impact did that have on the ceremony? Well, smartly enough, it seemed that such a move was aimed at celebrating the fact that previous shows had been so low budget. For the first time in the ceremony’s storied (see: three times in a little over a year) history, it stopped pretending that it wanted to be taken seriously. A host’s microphone isn’t on for the first 10 seconds of being on camera? That’s fine, considering this time out, the show was forced to have a revolving door of leaders because as it went, the whole thing simply felt like a glorified mini tour diary of The Lips and their world record quest.

Even more affecting was the fact that the network decided to mostly get people who have dabbled in comedy, and not that detestable D-trix who is more than likely your new favorite overly enthusiastic pizza delivery boy who you can never get to leave when you want him to. This time, we had the Sklar brothers, the I-will-never-ever-go-away Jim Shearer and one of the dudes from That Metal Show, Jim Florentine (who, by the way, constantly looked as though he would have loved to have been anywhere else in the world but where he was, which, in turn, created a fantastic sense of levity on top of the whole thing), among others.

Now, did people win awards? Of course. The triumphant return of the aforementioned Most Innovative Music Video category happened (again, much like I said it should), Adam Lambert won the Must Follow Artist On Twitter award and the Digital Genius Award went to iamamiwhoami. The rest … well, you can figure out who won what by going here. What set these obnoxious awards aside from the previous obnoxious awards was the fact that if you remember correctly, IT ALL TOOK PLACE OVER THE COURSE OF 24 HOURS.

The capital letters were for emphasis.

In short, the awards didn’t really matter as much. Gone were the weird pre-taped acceptance speeches that were never set up properly or come away from properly. In, were the weird pre-taped acceptance speeches that nobody cared about because, again, IT ALL TOOK PLACE OVER THE COURSE OF 24 HOURS. Plus, when those few moments did occur, you actually had real, professional funny people to try and salvage any possible mishaps. The show did what I never thought could be done: It took its weaknesses and made them its strengths. And I’m not even a Flaming Lips guy (by the way — how insufferable did Wayne Coyne come across in all this? On a scale of one to Carly Rae Jepsen, he was a complete Karmin. And also — why did he seem to protective of Jay-Z? Was that subversive or was that genuine?).

More fun for me? Back in the deep, dark and distant summer of 2010, I actually made that initial drive from Memphis to Clarksdale, complete with an air plane that I literally thought would land on my head (don’t ask). So … well … speaking selfishly, it was fun to see the second of the band’s eight concerts performed at a blues club where some guy named Razorblade once asked me to dance.

Self-gratifying words aside, though, the idea was a good one. How MTV can follow this up is beyond me. It’s OK to go find yourself another world record to break, but would it be possible to find another thing that would take this much time, thus leading to an oddly more concise version of the telecast by utilizing the often-ignored idiom of addition by … addition?

If I said that MTV had two strikes after the previous incarnation (which I did), then I think it’s fair to now say that even though the suits behind it didn’t hit a home run, they did get on base. Was it perfect? No. But was it better? Yes. Things should get pretty interesting by the time those “in-touch with hip, young culture” interns get around to thinking about this thing again.

What do you say for a follow up — nine concerts from Ms. Jepsen, in nine different cities, performing nine different versions of “Call Me Maybe” in nine different languages?

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