Pop Life

Miley's Stoner Antics Make an Awkward VMAs Even Worse

Well, somewhere, Kennedy and Kurt Loder are slurping up the remnants of Kanye's Hennessey and thinking to themselves, “What in the everloving fuck just happened to VMAs?" Jesus actual Christ, that was painful. But at least Britney looked pretty? The rest of it, not so much. 

Much like Kennedy and Kurt Loder (#RIP classic MTV), I also do not understand life after Sunday night's show. And maybe I don't want to, because if life now boils down to a Miley/Nicki Minaj beef and a (very terrible) Wayne Coyne collaboration about how much pot she smokes, I'm good. I'll just quit life instead. 

In case you missed it, though, here's what I'm talking about. Miley Cyrus hosted the VMAs, and it wasn't good. It should have at least been interesting — this is Miley Cyrus, for Chrissake, and she's not exactly a demure flower — but her hosting shtick just relied on being half-naked and perpetually stoned instead, rendering the whole night awkward.

There's nothing wrong with being super-stoned. There's nothing wrong with being half-naked. But there are limits.

You know that friend you had in high school who would always smoke way too much of the weed and would ultimately end up obnoxiously, vapidly stoned? And then he or she would spend the next hour and a half jabbering about nonsense and ruining your high? That's Miley. She still gets high-school stoned and runs around telling anyone who'll listen while the rest of us are just trying to pour some cereal and watch some fucking Netflix.

As expected, Miley went for the shock factor during her first VMA hosting gig, pulling everything from a "say marijuana" crowd selfie to repetitively blathering about pot brownies, but nothing worked. When you try that damn hard, it will always come out trite and forced. 

Between Miley acting high-school-high and the antics by everyone from Kanye to Justin Bieber, Sunday's awards show was the most uncomfortable thing I've ever watched on MTV, bar none.

The night all started off with a super-awkward argument — maybe staged? Who knows? — between Miley and Nicki Minaj after Nicki collected the best hip-hop video for "Anaconda." Ms. Minaj, who struggled to get onto the stage because of her very, very tight wardrobe, said her thank-yous and then took it to some next-level shit, though, telling the audience: "And now back to this bitch that had a lot to say about me a lot in the press. Miley, what's good?"

Apparently she was referencing Miley's pre-VMAs interview with The New York Times, in which she said Minaj was "not very nice," among other things, when she was questioned about the supposed Twitter beef between the rapper and Taylor Swift.

While there's a chance the beef was staged, I am still leaning toward it being doubtful, considering the producers cut off Minaj's mike as Cyrus fired back with "we all know how they manipulate" words during interviews. "I lost this award in 2008 and I was fine with it. Whatever! Because it's no big deal. It's just an award and I persevered," she added, before making a stumbling mess of her hosting lines.

But that wasn't Miley's only awkward moment. She was just plain old boring — which is tough to do, considering she was very naked — and played way too far into the stoner stereotypes to even come off as shocking. There was also a moment during a sketch when she called Snoop Dogg “my real mammy," which...you know...is an offensive word to practically everyone, regardless of skin color. 

It wasn't just Miley making this year's VMAs the very worst, though. There were plenty of other uncomfortable moments, including Justin Bieber's post-performance crying. Bieber performed two (new?) songs during the VMAs, during which he levitated, which was pretty cool, and then he cried, which was not so cool. Like most people on Twitter (who aren't 14 years old), I do not understand why Justin Bieber was crying last night.  

Was his performance the first time he listened to that two-song montage the entire way through? Were the tears the after-effects of levitating? I mean, I don't know what hovering in a tube does to you — I've unfortunately never perfected the art of flying like Peter Pan — but maybe it's so awesome it brings you to tears. Or maybe the Biebs was just up there all awkward and crying. Who knows.

What I do know, though, is that Kanye West, who was awarded this year's Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, helped ease that awkwardness not one bit when he gave the most uncomfortable speech of all time. But that speech only came after a stumbling, forced intro by Taylor Swift, even an obligatory reference to that "Imma let you finish" debacle of olde.

When Kanye went up onstage to accept his award, he went off, going on and on about...well, I'm not sure. He bashed everything, though, from brands — his kid won't be raised on "brands," apparently — to awards shows, where artists' dreams are crushed when they're told they suck by not winning. His rant went on for 15 minutes or so, and ended with him announcing his 2020 Presidential candidacy. 

Is he okay, you guys? Like, for real, for real? I mean that with very little snark. Nothing he said made any sense, and while I appreciated his "fuck it, I'm out" gesture at the end — he even threw down the mike, all Kanye-style — even Kim K. looked puzzled, an impressive feat given the lack of mobility in her face.

Now that I've had some time to process it, I can say with certainty that there is still so much from the 2015 VMAs that I still don't understand. Didn't this show used to be exciting? Or interesting? Or...slightly unexpected? I mean, maybe it's a sign of the olds, but I very much remember watching and being fascinated (albeit confused) by the moment when Rage Against the Machine drummer Tim Commerford climbed up the stage scaffolding and refused to come down. 

I was not fascinated by Miley's shtick. I am just confused as to why this is still a thing.

I also don't understand why John Travolta was on a commercial with The Weeknd. Was that a reference to Taxi? Who's going to be both watching the VMAs and understand a reference to Taxi?! I don't understand how someone who is dressed in a giant fuzzy sweater with eyeballs slapped across the boobage (read: Miley) could be so bland and yet so...neon. And I don't understand Pharrell's performance, which was pretty much interchangeable with any early '00s Gap commercial.

And, more than anything, I don't understand how many people need to reassure Miley Cyrus that she is very, very edgy and very, very shocking before she will stop trying so damn hard. Someone needs to pull the child aside by her G-string and tell her she can be a special neon snowflake without all the played-out, Reefer Madness-meets-Clockwork-Orange awkwardness that happened last night. It's ruining all the highs, everywhere.  

Let's just go back to square one if we're going to continue the yearly VMA heinousness, and maybe ask Matt Pinfield or Bill Bellamy to come host it instead. Hell, I'll even take Jesse Camp — his cowboy hat and goofy persona were obnoxious, but they weren't as obnoxious as Miley last night. That host is just not the one. 
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Angelica Leicht
Contact: Angelica Leicht