>>By Sean McCully, Staff Writer
MTV’s Video Music Awards were Sunday, Aug. 24, and from wardrobe malfunctions to celebrities dancing in the audience, there were many highlights.
The first performance started with Ariana Grande alone and ended up with Grande, Jessie J and Nicki Minaj. Grande emerged out of a smoking space ship singing her new single “Break Free,” and without skipping a beat, Nicki Minaj jumped in to give a particularly risqué adaptation of her new single “Anaconda.”
Directly afterward, Jessie J started the first verse of the trio’s song, “Bang Bang,” and all went well until Minaj’s verse. It’s important to note Minaj’s outift for her solo performance of “Anaconda” was entirely different than her outfit for “Bang Bang,” so while Jessie J and Grande were singing their verses, Minaj simultaneously had a wardrobe change and malfunction, coming on stage holding her dress together. She handled the situation like a champ, though, and didn’t miss a line.
Taylor Swift’s new song “Shake It Off” was released just in time for her to give a performance of it at the VMAs. Swift was introduced by New Zealand pop star Lorde, and as any Taylor Swift naysayer would guess, all of Swift’s dancers were men in suits. Swift strutted around the stage while the dancers followed, ultimately coming to a brief end with Swift atop a prop in the shape of the title of her new album, “1989,” set to be released in October.
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels presented the award for Best Pop Video in the style of Dumb and Dumber. They started with a mini-duet, transitioned into describing the many uses of a scarf and ended with Jim Carrey slipping and falling down “on purpose.”
One of the more sobering moments of the VMAs came with rapper and poet Common’s presentation of the award for Best Hip-Hop Video. Before presenting the nominees and ultimate winner, Common briefly mentioned the city of Ferguson, Mo., and asked for a moment of silence to be held in the name of Michael Brown, who was recently killed in the city.
Uzo Aduba, Taylor Schilling and Laverne Cox — or Suzanne Warren, Piper Chapman and Sophia Burset, as you might know them from the Netflix original series “Orange is the New Black” — introduced a performance by Usher. Aduba even gave the introduction as her character Crazy Eyes.
Miley Cyrus’s homeless friend Jesse accepted her award for Video of the Year on her behalf. He read a speech from index cards, explaining he was a homeless youth and that he was one of tens of thousands on the streets of Los Angeles who don’t have a place to call home. Jesse urged the audience to learn more about the issue by visiting Cyrus’s Facebook page and was watched intently by Cyrus, who looked on from her seat misty-eyed.
One of the final acts of the night was Beyoncé, and most people you ask about the VMAs will tell you she stole the show. This is not surprising, though, given that her performance was the longest of the night, clocking in at around 16 minutes. It featured a medley of songs from her most recent album, “Beyoncé.”
It also didn’t hurt that she wore a completely bedazzled dress that sparkled in about 100 different colors at any given time. What’s more is that Jay-Z, along with Blue Ivy, presented the Michael Jackson Vanguard award to Beyoncé after her performance, who graciously accepted the award from her husband and daughter.
There’s no disputing that the VMAs were great this year. From Taylor Swift to Beyoncé and Maroon 5 to Uzo Aduba, MTV still possesses a unique ability to bring the latest and greatest from the music industry to the general public. TAS