1. The Michael Jackson Tribute - I was both impressed and mildly disappointed in this one. Madonna's monologue at the beginning was very touching, but as Zack pointed out at one point, she talked as much about herself as she did about Michael. Still, what she said sounded very sincere and you could tell she was genuinely saddened by his death. By the time she finished there wasn't, as they say, a dry eye in the house. The musical portion of the tribute was good but the part at the end where Janet came out and performed Scream was my favorite. She recreated the dance that Michael had done in that music video and they played his video on the screen behind her so it was almost like they were dancing together again. That was pretty cool.
This is somewhat off topic but I think she's really just about the only person in the whole world who has the right to even attempt to recreate his music. Not because of her talent level necessarily but because she's his sister. If that weren't the case it would have been doing MJ a disservice to have someone else get out there and try to sing his songs or dance his dances. While I'm here, this is something that bothers me about the music industry in general. I don't watch shows like American Idol very often but every time I have, I've been amazed at the audacity of some of the young contestants who come out there and try to sing songs that are just way, way too big for them. There are a few people out there you can't sing. You just can't. Whitney Houston for example; nobody can sing like Whitney can (or could, pre-cocaine binge). You're not going to top her. You're not even going to sound decent in comparison. Do yourself a favor and pick someone else's song to sing.
Back to last night. Like I said, the whole tribute thing was good. I guess I was left feeling mildly disappointed because over the course of the musical portion they really only covered a few of his songs. They got Thriller in there, and Bad, and of course Scream, but there was so much of his music they didn't even touch. He had such a long career, I was really expecting them to go back and pull some of his music from the Jackson 5 days too. Oh well. I'll say this about MJ and then I'm done. Say what you want about his personal life--he had a lot of problems and what I think was, in a lot of ways, a very sad life. But boy, was he talented. I don't think it is a stretch to say that we won't see another person with his level of talent in our lifetime.
2. Taylor Swift and Kanye - Kanye, Kanye, Kanye *shakes head sadly* What in the world were you thinking? Not only was that incredibly rude and beyond inappropriate, it made you look like a bigger moron than most people already think you are. For those who didn't see it, here's a recap. Taylor Swift won the VMA for Best Female Video. As she was onstage giving her acceptance speech, Kanye West appeared out of nowhere, took the mike out of Taylor's hand, and proceeded to go on a rant about how he thought Beyonce should have won instead. To her credit, Taylor Swift handled it really well. She wasn't able to finish her speech but she did stay on stage to accept a standing ovation once Kanye was removed. She's only like 19 years old but she certainly acts much more mature than that. Based on the look on her face, Beyonce was as surprised and disgusted by Kanye's outburst as everyone else. In one of the classiest acts of the night she made it up to Taylor the best way she could, by inviting her back out on stage later in the evening when she (Beyonce) won the award for Video of the Year. I love Taylor Swift and my respect for Beyonce quadrupled after last night too. Kanye on the other hand...I think someone ought to lock him in a cage. He's unstable.
3. Lady GaGa - Straight up, I love Lady GaGa. I think she's one of the more talented musicians to come around in a long time. Plus (much like Taylor Swift) she writes her own music which is always impressive. Zack says she reminds him of a more eccentric, out-in-left-field early Madonna. Also, I think she's insane. In a good way. I think she's one of those people who is so ahead of her time that the rest of us can't really understand a lot of what she does right now. I've gotta give her props on her daring fashion choices though. Even though most of what she wore last night was completely ridiculous, you gotta respect that she had the nerve to wear it.
4. MTV Overall - Can I just say, I've never really liked MTV? I think the producers of that station have taken what could have been an awesome opportunity to showcase lots of music and turned it, over the years, into the slightly-less-trashy cousin of VH1. Last night only perpetuated this belief in my mind. Between Kanye's drunken escapade (seriously, he walked down the red carpet holding his bottle of cognac; surely no one was surprised that he made a fool of himself later) and the announcers who spent more time advertising for iPhone than anything else, the music kind of got lost in the shuffle I thought. But hey, what do I know?