Katy Perry was the worst part of the VMAs, which Kendrick Lamar owned

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The performances at the live MTV Movie Awards last night were, for the most part, incredible, which is much more than I can say for the Grammys this year. They were energetic and fun, and the settings, props and dancing were amazing, both in the auditorium and out. MTV is smart about their staging and audience engagement and the show is long but fun to watch. Kendrick Lamar was the big opener and winner. He took home six moonpeople overall (the VMAs started being gender neutral with no male/female distinctions in categories last year), with three being shown during the ceremony, for Video of The Year for “Humble,” Best Hip Hop also for “Humble,” and the video also took home separate awards for best Cinematography, Direction, Art Direction and Visual Effects. Unfortunately Ed Sheeran got Artist of the Year, which I get but I was hoping it would go to Kendrick. Here’s a complete list of winners. My girls Fifth Harmony took home Best Pop Video, for “Down” with Gucci Mane. Khalid (“Location,” “Young Dumb and Broke“) won Best New Artist and Zayn and Taylor Swift got Best Collaboration for Fifty Shades Darker’s “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever.” Pink won the Video Vanguard award and absolutely owned that stage with a medley of her hits followed by a speech honoring personal beauty, androgyny and being true to yourself.

Katy Perry was awful, but that’s on the writers
Before we get into the individual performances I have to mention how Katy Perry did as a host, which was awful but somewhat understandable given the terrible material. We heard that this was going to be the Katy Perry vs. the ghost of absent Taylor Swift show and it was not. Taylor debuted her new video (Kaiser will cover that in a separate post) and it was like she was trying to steal the show without even being there, but that didn’t happen. It was all about Kendrick Lamar and the other artists who slayed their performances. Plus it’s like the VMAs tried too hard not to mention 45’s name or how it’s all his fault that white supremacists have a platform. They did take on the issues of suicide prevention/mental health awareness as well as diversity and condemning the rise of racism. Otherwise the theme was how much things have changed in the past year or so (Katy’s opening had her away in space?) but they tried to do this with apolitical jokes that fell completely flat. When Katy came on during the show her little pre-recorded segments were just out of touch and not at all entertaining. Katy’s live appearances broke up the flow of the performances with how inane she seemed, but that was on the writers, not her necessarily. Here’s Katy’s opening (below) and here’s a link to another stupid bit she did. They were all bad.

Kendrick Lamar set the bar high for the other performances
Kendrick opened the show with a performance of DNA and Humble complete with lasers, smoke, and a ninja literally on fire. The entire wall behind him set on fire, guys in karate suits climbed up it and he just nailed that performance. It was powerful and Kendrick owned that stage and the night.

Ed Sheeran’s performance was cute but Lil Uzi Vert stole it
Ed Sheeran did Shape of You among a bunch of stalagmites and it was cute and understated then Lil Uzi Vert came in and did XO TOUR Llif3, which added much-needed entertainment value to Ed’s song. I get that they’re different genres and that no one can really follow Kendrick and look good. At least Shape of You is catchy, but in no way should Sheeran have won Artist of the Year.

Lorde didn’t bother to lip sync and it was everything
Lorde did an interpretive dance to Homemade Dynamite in a little flouncy metallic dress with sweatpants and sneakers. She didn’t even bother to sing along to the track and it was glorious.

Fifth Harmony worked it
Fifth Harmony did a remixed version of Down complete with glass booths they faux kicked open, perfectly coordinated moves, and an entrance by Gucci Mane. I love them so much. Normani Kordei did a split that looked effortless and it ended in a rainstorm. This was one of my favorite performances. They do not need Camila at all.

Miley Cyrus still doesn’t know who she’s trying to be
Miley did Younger Now with styling and backup people dressed like a community theater troupe trying to do the Cry Baby musical. She had old people and toddlers as props. Coupled with how sh-tty the song is it’s clear that she’s riding on her laurels at this point. At least they didn’t let her sister Noah perform.

Demi Lovato’s poolside performance was excellent
Demi Lovato killed Sorry, Not Sorry, one of my favorite new hits, with a performance in front of a pool full of fans. Her outfit was pretty bad, she should have ditched the mesh chaps, but that didn’t distract from how she dominated that song. She really gave this her all, the setting is consistent with the video, and I loved this. Demi is > Taylor and Katy’s bullshit and she’s putting out better music.

Pink showed everyone why she won the Video Vanguard Award
Pink did a medley of her hits including Coming Out, Raise your Glass and So What on an urban-themed set that included a flying convertible and then a lawn mower. Some of her dancers had black privacy bars covering their bits, which was clever, and they were the perfect complement to her performance. She walked through the crowd and just gave it her all. She then did Less Than Perfect, Give Me a Reason and What About Us on a stripped down stage and it was amazing. Now I want to see her live.

Here’s a link to Pink’s speech, which was one of the best of the night and emphasized embracing your uniqueness.

Alessia Cara had a lot of tough acts to follow
Alessia Cara’s Scars to Your Beautiful felt kind of underwhelming after Pink and all the other acts did their thing. She can belt it out and this is a great message though.

Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid’s moving 1-800-273-8255
Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid did 1-800-273-8255, a song about reaching out for help when you’re going through depression and suicidal thoughts. The performance was introduced by Kesha, who emphasized mental health awareness. They brought people on stage who were suicide survivors and it got to me.

30 Seconds to Mars and Travis $cott did Walk on Water with live heat revealing cameras and it was ok for about half a minute and then it looked like a photoshop filter that was popular for a few months in 2002. You can see that here, I’m not even going to embed it.

Susan Bro, Heather Heyer’s mom, announced a foundation in her daughter’s name
A descendant of Robert E Lee, a pastor named Robert Lee, condemned the use of his ancestor as a symbol for hate. He introduced Heather Heyer’s mom, Susan Bro, who announced the launch of the Heather Heyer Foundation, a nonprofit organization that will provide scholarships. Bro said she wants “people to know that Heather never marched alone. She was always joined by people from every race and every background in this country.” Then she announced that MTV is not going to give a moonperson to just one of the nominees in the Fight Against the System Category, and that they all would be honored.

DNCE did If You Want My Body by Rod Stewart in a 70s themed club on a rooftop and then Rod Stewart came in like a boss. The remote performances were especially good this year!

Katy Perry came on at the end to remind us how she dragged this show
Finally, after Kendrick Lamar rightfully won Video of The Year, Katy Perry tried to close out the show with her lame basketball-themed “Swish Swish.” I just cringed for her. Usually Nicki Minaj’s guest verses add to an otherwise solid pop hit (see: Ariana Grande, Jesse J) but in case of this performance and song she’s pulling all the weight and it still falls flat. It’s a weak song with bad lyrics and a mess of a video. Katy has lost her mojo and it shows.

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52 Responses to “Katy Perry was the worst part of the VMAs, which Kendrick Lamar owned”

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  1. Enough Already says:

    I would like to give an award to CB for this breakdown. Perfect.

  2. Allie B. says:

    Lorde looked ridiculous. I would’ve rather seen almost anyone get up there and actually sing than watch that half-arsed SIA interpretive dance she put on. It was literally 5th grade recital level. I loved Ed Sheeran with Lil Uzi Vert, which definitely was my pick for song of the summer(xo tour life).

  3. Mama says:

    Katy Perry was terrible. They tried to make her to cutesy or something. I thought Miley sounded great. I didn’t hate it. Song of Summer? Despacito was robbed. Seriously? Demi was amazing!! I mean I’m not the targeted market for this show but thought it was alright. I watched with my 16 yo and she knew less people than me. haha.

    • naomipaige says:

      KP was awful! I have no clue why they even had her hosting the show. WTF!?!?

    • Veronica says:

      For real. Despacito is the song that has kept me from turning on the radio for the past month, but I have no idea you could justify the argument that it wasn’t “Song of the Summer.”

  4. StartupSpouse says:

    I’ve seen Pink live. She was outstanding. I went to the show not expecting much, and she absolutely blew me away and now I’m a huge fan.

  5. OhDear says:

    Writers must hate Kate …that was painful to watch.
    Why force a funny girl persona on her ? A host doesn’t need to be a clown just let her be herself it would bd way better and not a embarrassment to everyone evolved

  6. Nicole says:

    I didn’t watch because GOT but I did catch Pink who is forever amazing IMO. I saw clips of everything else on Twitter. Lorde was ?? And 5H kicked out their 5th member which was super Shade. Kendrick killed it and I think was the best performance of the night. The one with the suicide survivors was touching.
    But yea the VMAs are so hokey I never actually sit and watch the full show

  7. sensible says:

    Loved Rod on the rooftop! That’s a party an old woman like me could get into. Rockin Rod is so game.

  8. Adrien says:

    Is it too early to say that we are now done with Katy?

  9. Maria says:

    Did any of them mention Texas being damn near underwater? I admit I didn’t watch it, but it kinda makes them all look bad if they didn’t say anything about how some people are losing everything while they yuck it up at some vapid awards show.

    • Allie B. says:

      Katy did, in a shimmering, transparent body suit. She encouraged us to go to the Red Cross site and donate.

  10. MissAmanda says:

    omg her little high-five with Willow!
    Pink rules.

  11. detritus says:

    conspiracy theory based on overcaffination and that awful basketball get up – Katy is pregnant with Orly’s child and thats why they are ‘friendly’ again.

  12. FishBeard says:

    Katy Perry gives me secondhand embarassment. She tries desperately to be ‘funny’, ‘hip’, and ‘cool’ but comes off as none of those things. It’s getting a bit sad to watch honestly.

  13. Mike says:

    Watched the beginning and didn’t know that was Kendrick Lamar. Tried watching but could not understand one word that he was rapping. Neither could the closed caption guy cause he just gave up halfway through. Katy Perry was as annoying as usual. Some good performances, some bad. Swifty’s new video was a little over the top, even for her. All in all a lot of self-important people patting each other on the back all night.

  14. OhDear says:

    Btw there was a very unfortunate “joke” about Jonbenet Ramsey. Why Katie?

  15. Veronica says:

    “DNA” is a really excellent song, so I was glad to see it performed on at least one stage this year. OMFG that Fifth Harmony performance, though. The shaaaaaade.

  16. Aerohead21 says:

    I can’t take Katy’s hair. I keep trying but I just don’t like it on her. Wrong face shape. And Lorde’s performance reminds me of the rejects from So You Think You Can Dance.

  17. Does MTV even show music on their channel at all anymore? It’s not on my cable lineup, which I’m fine with, but when it was it was all day non stop teen mom and catfish. Nothing music related ever. The M does still stand for music right?

    • WeAreAllMadeOfStars says:

      Yeah but it’s kind of like The Learning Channel where they just call it TLC instead and air junk about mermaids being real and such.

    • Veronica says:

      LOL, it hasn’t played music since the late early 2000s I don’t think. I can’t really hate on them, though. MTV was fairly progressive back in the ’90s and ’00s. They did a surprising number of specials on people with unique disabilities, talents, backgrounds, sexuality, etc. before it really took off in the mainstream.

  18. Kezia says:

    What about Shawn mendes perdormance ?? I’m too old for his demographic but I really like jos song “Nothing holding me back” and he was brilliant at the VMA’s?

  19. H says:

    All I got to say is I love Pink. Taylor wishes she was that talented and cool.

    • jetlagged says:

      There was such a contrast between Taylor’s petulant, self-involved video and P!nk’s speech about how a lot of artists, including her, have faced mountains of criticism but just carried on and continued to speak their truth despite what the world thinks of them.

  20. L'etranger says:

    I hate to say this (both because I’m a fan and because this reference is dated as hell), but Katy seriously seems to have Felicity’d her entire career with that haircut.

    • Ruyana says:

      Totally agree.

    • WeAreAllMadeOfStars says:

      But did Felicity even Felicity her own career? She was a nominally popular TV actress whose show was ending. It’s not like she was going to turn out any different than Stephanie Tanner or Steve Urkel. It was over for her and the hair was a convenient narrative.

      Katy Perry is definitely better as a brunette though. One of the rare few blondes who somehow don’t look better with their childhood color.

      • Veronica says:

        I think it’s this yellowish shade of blonde that’s the problem. Her natural color is much prettier and more flattering, though the black/brunette hair she sometimes sports really makes her eyes pop the most.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Keri Russell’s been kicking ass and getting Emmy nominations on The Russians. Not Steve Urkell or Stephanie Tanner by a long shot.

  21. CK3 says:

    I actually think 5H is a much better group now (post Camila). Their new album has some great material on it.

  22. Michelle says:

    What? No love for Rod Stewart?? I think Pink should have gotten the Vanguard music last year instead of Rhianna. I thought Pink had been around a little longer than her, but I guess they base it on other things.

  23. Ivy says:

    i think katy lost her mojo when she chopped off her hair. her brand used to be sexy, upbeat and fun and with her try-hard “edgy” haircut and boring songs, what made her unique is gone and what we’re left feeling is discomfort, secondhand embarrassment, and confusion.

  24. Happy21 says:

    I didn’t watch and I’m okay with that. I don’t even know who half of the performers are anymore and the other half I know who they are but don’t know their music. I will be watching the Pink bit though because I’ve loved her since Day 1. She’s one of my favs.

  25. Wowza says:

    Am I the only one that thinks Lil Uzi Vert is so cute? I love the way he dances.

  26. Wowza says:

    / lol at Cardi B and Pete Davidson’s reactions to Ed Sheehan hopping on XO Tour Life. I can’t hate on Ed for trying and I can’t hate on either of their reactions hahaha

  27. Reindeer says:

    Imma let y’all finish, but the ’97 VMA’s were the best VMAs of all time!

    Good Lord I feel old. Who are these people and why are they on my lawn?

  28. Aren says:

    I didn’t know that song was Ed Sheeran’s, I’ve been seriously wondering why he seems to be faking a Caribbean accent.

    As for Katy, I don’t get the disillusionment with her career, I think her new album is ok, maybe because I didn’t like her previous work.

  29. Ozogirl says:

    Of course she was terrible…this is why comedians should only do it.

    I’m so sick of Shape of You!!! So overplayed and it’s not even a great song to begin with.

    I’m glad Kendrick killed it. Pink too. Love them both.

  30. 76May says:

    Kendrick and Ed Sheeran were great. Amazing MTV switched to “moonperson,” after such a blatantly sexist, “edgy” history. I turned it off after TS video premiere.

  31. Kate says:

    I thought Katy did ok honestly. She was given god-awful material to work with, but she did it all with energy and enthusiasm. Most of the time these pop star hosts start acting like they want to find a rock to crawl under when it’s not going well, but she stayed extremely professional throughout.