My 2009 MTV VMAs Retrospective

Here comes my personal recap of the evening as perceived from my perch in front of the TV. I'm bolding celeb names so you can skip to the ones you're interested in if you like...

So VMA night rolls around yet again, and I'm still in Michigan watching it on TV, wishing I was there. (The clock is ticking. Somebody ::cough cough:: needs to work harder at her music.) Except if I had been there, I would have stormed the stage during Kanye West's drunken rant and tackled him to the ground. Taylor Swift had much more class than I could have mustered up if I were in her situation. So maybe everyone was better off without me there this time. Ha :) Except Taylor Swift. She'd have been better off with me there. Because I would have thrown down for her. And I'm not even a big fan. I think the whole world is angry on her behalf tonight. Doing crazy things to get attention is nothing new, but when you steal someone else's big moment, you are an a**hole. Period. He crossed the line tonight. That's taking it way too far.

**EDIT: After I wrote that, Beyonce closed the show by giving her stage time to Taylor Swift so she could redo that ill-fated acceptance speech. That was a beautiful gesture. Beyonce and Madonna both stole my heart tonight. I think I'm in love. <3 ... Kanye is permanently kicked out of the bed, but Madonna and Beyonce can come cuddle up anytime. In the virtual bedroom of my iPod, that is. Sorry superstars, I'm taken. :)

Speaking of the material girl, I know you're waiting for my comments on Madonna and Janet Jackson's tributes to Michael Jackson! :) But I'm going to hit all the rest before I even touch that. I know I've got four or five heavy paragraphs cooking in the kitchen, and I don't want you to gorge yourselves on that when I can give you the appetizers first--the light, fluffy, short, sweet (and not-so-sweet) comments on other artists! So let's wind our way through those before we talk about the reigning Queens of Pop paying tribute to their fallen King, shall we?

OK, first things first. Lady GaGa. The whole blood thing had me captivated. I hate the sight of blood, and I actually have an irrational fear of performers being shot on stage (I worry about that at every damn concert that I go to), so you'd think I'd react differently to that, but nope! I thought it was brilliant. I don't know what her concept is with the "Fame Kills" tour, I'm not a die-hard fan that would know those kinds of details (though I do love her album). But you know, she's singing the song Paparazzi, and you think about the paparazzi chasing Princess Diana to her death, you think about Elvis Presley succumbing to the pressures of fame you think about the price of fame and the hand it may have played in Michael Jackson's ultimate demise... and there Lady GaGa is, suddenly bleeding to death at the end of her song, being devoured by the masses and strung up like a piece of morbid art. I know a lot of people really despise her for her crazy antics, but I have respect for anybody who can captivate the world's attention like that. Love it or hate it, you're paying attention. I think she's fascinating.

Who else killed it onstage, albeit in a much less violent way? Beyonce. That girl puts every damn ounce of passion into her performances. I have never seen anything lacklustre from her. She had a million dancers onstage with her, but she didn't even need one. She's a powerhouse. I think the ballads on her album are the true gems, but when she kicks it into high gear like that onstage, you can see why she's gotta have those numbers that are so frantic and hectic that they make your heart beat too fast! She's undeniably one of the biggest talents we've got.

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys were wonderful of course. I love the way she sounds on that track. And can I please have those pants??? Those were show stoppers. Pink was awesome as usual, but she scared the hell out of me with that trapeze act! I like my favorite performers to stay safely on the ground! No elements of danger are needed on stage, thank you very much! Ha :) I was happy to see Eminem get an award, representing for Detroit as always. Gotta root for the kid from The D even if I'm only a casual listener of his work, 'cause I am a kid from The D myself. :)

Happy that they respectfully remembered DJ AM for a sec. I don't know much about him myself but he seemed like a good guy that left us too soon. Katy Perry was adorable as usual. Where'd she get those cupie doll eyes and why didn't God give me some when I was being manufactured? :) I think she was the only one not checking Twitter from her seat, because when everybody else was looking down at their Blackberry or iPhone, she was looking up at the stage and having fun. My kinda girl. Though I'd probably have been tweeting a bit too. I admit it. 2009 is the year of the tweet. Can't fight it.

That trailer for Twilight: New Moon definitely looked good, but um... what does that have to do with music and music videos? Why does MTV have such a love affair with things non-music???? The money is in the teens' pockets, and the teens love Twilight, so MTV kisses their asses to get them to tune in. VMA night is the one night of the year when MTV is supposed to be about music. Think about that and realize how messed up that is, and then throw in the Twilight stuff on top of it. GOD I MISS THE MTV OF THE 80s. Come back to us. I know you're still living and breathing out there somewhere. We miss you, MTV.

Finally (here we go), the aspect of tonight's VMAs that I was most looking forward to was Janet Jackson's tribute performance, but it wasn't quite what I had in mind. Major respect to her for even being able to get up there and perform a virtual duet with her brother, but if I'd been in the driver's seat for that, I'd have conceptualized a medley of her personal favorite Michael songs, mostly mid-tempos and ballads, with huge screens showing videos of him over the years, and with Janet's personal touch on everything. I've seen Janet live in concert five times, twice from the 2nd row (and YES I'm bragging when I say that, you SHOULD be jealous if you haven't, there is no one better to see live! lol). But what I'm trying to say is that Janet's everyday performances are stronger and more meaningful than that performance felt to me. I absolutely hate to sound like I'm complaining, because I'm not. She didn't have to give us ANYTHING tonight. She didn't ever have to share a single breath of a tribute with us, but she did. I am thankful, and I adore this woman, and that's why I know that wasn't even one tenth of what she is capable of, even in the midst of this loss. And I would have loved to see her pull out all the stops for her brother. I'm sure eventually she will. Tonight just wasn't that night.

Madonna actually stole the show without ever singing a single note before Janet even took the stage. She is my HERO tonight for standing on that stage and talking about Michael Jackson's lost childhood and giving the world another human vision of him.. Few people have spoken about that with so much heart, and even fewer have uttered the words, "We abandoned him." She both humbled herself and elevated herself to a new level in my eyes when she said that. I loved Madonna with wild abandon as a child, she was my IDOL and that is no understatement. Tonight she broke down barriers with that speech. She opened up as a human being, and opened up hearts with honesty and generosity. She proved herself to be a better friend to him than most, even if it is only now, after the fact.

"We abandoned him", she said. I repeat that again for emphais. I have been the most hardcore Michael Jackson fan all my life, but in 2005 I abandoned him too. I freaked out when the second round of allegations came about, and at that age I could only see things as black or white (no pun intended!), never in the gray area that most things really are. I was scared to believe in him anymore, and I checked out. Just checked out. I felt abandoned and betrayed and lied to. I never questioned him prior to that; never saw the weirdness that the rest of the world saw. Weird, bottom line, simply did not matter to me and does not matter to me. I was always called weird as a child, by friends, foes, and even family (no joke), so the last thing I'd ever judge someone for is uniqueness or eccentricities. But yes, the allegations freaked me the f*ck out, and I did abandon him.

Quite a while after they proclaimed him innocent, I pulled the music back out again and decided that I could still enjoy the professional without regard for the personal. But the lesson that I have learned from Michael Jackson is that you must reach out to the people who are misunderstanding you. Don't feed the ones who are hurting you, but share your reality with people instead of hiding it. He made his life into a "Michael Jackon vs. The World" movie, and we allowed him to. My movie used to be the same one until I painstakingly rewrote the script, and sometimes certain scenes still contain traces of that paranoia. There are some things that can't be completely erased. It takes hard emotional work to save yourself from identifying as the victim, and I don't think he was capable of removing himself from that role without the help of others. Too many yes men and too few friends adds up to a tragic drug-induced death. I just have so much gratitude to Madonna tonight for saying the things that so few are willing to say. I didn't want to talk about the negatives too soon after his death. Tonight felt like the right time.

On a better note, the trailer for Michael Jackson's This Is It was even better than I imagined it would be. The rehearsal footage looks amazing, much better than the Dangerous or HIStory tours, really mind blowing stuff. He dropped the insecure high-pitched voice and used his real voice (anybody notice that?) and that tells me that we're going to see the real deal, the artist at his most comfortable with his guard let down, crafting what will still be his greatest performance even in death. I know, somehow, it was meant to be this way. The world would never have received this with such open arms if he was still alive. He was meant to light up the world again, but he couldn't do it while there was still air in his lungs. That's sad, but it's the blunt truth. He should have just faked his death so he could have enjoyed watching all this from a secluded hidden Neverland somewhere no one could find him. But I'm sure he can see all of this from where he is, and without the siniter faked death plot to cloud the story! Haha... Gotta laugh a little through the pain, right? And smile through those tears.

So the VMAs were overwhelmingly entertaining this year if you ask me. Even Kanye, as awful as that was, somehow turned out to be entertainment and something to get us talking. Now, True Blood has been waiting patiently for me on the DVR, so I'm going to close the laptop and find out what happened in Bon Temps while I was busy watching these stars make spectacles of themselves. :) 'Night all...

Janet Jackson's new song / gift to the fans: "Make Me"

The VMAs and Janet Jackson's tribute performance