Video Music Awards lackluster with Gaga sweep

Lori Vetrano

Usually something absolutely shocking happens at the VMAs — something that gets the world talking about it for the next few days.

We’ve seen Lil Kim’s semi-exposed, um, assets, Britney and Madonna’s girl-on-girl kiss (sorry Christina, no one noticed yours) and Kanye’s ultimate moment of shame last year. So of course, we were all watching expectantly for another appalling celebrity stunt.

Despite host Chelsea Handler’s starting request for everyone to be on their “worst behavior,” everyone seemed to be on their best, including Handler.

She did well for being the first female host in 16 years, making shameless but funny cracks about “The Jersey Shore” and Lady Gaga’s outfits, all the while looking as fabulous as a female host should look. Eminem and Rihanna opened the show with everyone’s current radio favorite, “Love the Way You Lie.”

 It was no surprise when Lady Gaga won eight awards (Best Female Video, Best Pop Video, Best Dance Video, Best Collaboration, Best Choreography, Best Editing, Best Direction and Video of the Year) and accepted them with perfect grace and bizarre outfits. For all of the “Monsters” who missed the VMAs, she revealed in her last speech that the title of her new album is “Born this Way.” 

Justin Bieber’s performance showed everyone exactly why he won the Best New Artist award, and Usher’s proved that, even at age 31, he’s still got it.

Not surprisingly, Eminem won Best Male Video and Best Hip-Hop Video, but he had to fly to New York for a concert, so he was not present when the awards were announced.

Best Rock Video went to 30 Seconds to Mars’ “Kings and Queens,” and Best Art Direction was awarded to Florence + the Machines’ “Dog Days are Over.” Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind” took the Best Cinematography award, and Muse’s “Uprising” won Best Special Effects. 

There were also great performances by Bruno Mars, Drake, B.o.B., Linkin Park, Paramore, Florence + the Machine, deadmau5, Nicki Minaj, Ke$ha and Trey Songz. But the two most memorable were Taylor Swift’s and Kanye West’s, whose songs addressed last year’s incident.

Taylor performed a new song that inclined toward forgiving West, and West closed the VMAs with a song that appeared to be an apology to Swift and the rest of the world for his unforgivable stunt last year.

Other celebrities who addressed their public scandals were Kim Kardashian, who joked about the media’s obsession with her seemingly inappropriate relationship with Justin Bieber, and Lindsay Lohan, who, in a skit with Chelsea Handler, referred to her own famous issues with alcohol and rehab. 

Of course, the VMAs aren’t complete without some buzzworthy clothing — Lady Gaga didn’t fail to astonish with an outfit that seemed to be made entirely of meat; Ke$ha actually wore a dress made out of a trash bag [insert joke about Ke$ha and, well, trash]; and Cher’s long, black, completely see-through outfit definitely made a few mouths drop. But for the most part, everyone was appropriately glammed up.

There were no scandals, no shocking events, no gasp-worthy moments — just an evening of great perfomances and gorgeous outfits. Everyone was more preoccupied with confronting their public issues rather than starting new ones — which was probably a better way to start off the decade anyway.