MTV Video Music Awards proves to be a night full of surprises
Since the early 1980s, MTV has never disappointed in delivering an award show that honors grand achievements made by recording artists of all genres while providing a spectacle that creates trends and tells stories that go down in music history.
The 2011 MTV Video Music Awards ceremony was no different, as it brought to the Los Angeles Nokia Theatre shocking surprises, electrifying performances and presented popular artists with various awards and achievements — all without a single host for the event.
In a jolting start, Lady Gaga set the tone for night, performing a monologue as her greasy-haired, cigarette-smoking, machismo-flaunting alter ego known as Joe Calderone before singing “You and I.”
Queen’s lead guitarist Brian May became the first surprise of the show as he walked out on stage mid-song and strummed up a guitar solo.
The jaw-dropping “Otis” performance from Kanye West and Jay-Z flabbergasted the Nokia Theatre, seeing as how the duo wasn’t scheduled to perform until a couple of days ago.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the entire night, however, was Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z revealing their pregnancy on the black carpet. Beyoncé’s peppy performance of “Love on Top” showcased her talent and ability to perform, even with one on the way.
Still in character as Joe Calderone, Lady Gaga presented the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award to pop icon Britney Spears.
A plethora of dancers hit center stage and struck a dance routine to a mix of hit songs that paint the picture of Spears’ career, paying homage to the entertainer before she accepted the award.
British comedian Russell Brand and jazz singer Tony Bennett delivered a speech on Amy Winehouse’s passing and the musical legacy that she leaves behind.
Both men spoke of her talent as a jazz musician, citing similarities to Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald while recalling experiences with Winehouse and watching her perform. The segment led to a Bruno Mars rendition of “Valerie,” a single by The Zutons that Mark Ronson and Winehouse covered in 2007.
Many of the winners throughout the award show were foreseeable. While Justin Beiber snagged a Moonman for Best Male Video for “U Smile” and Britney Spears won Best Pop Video for her song “Till the World Ends,” a surprise winner for Best New Artist emerged.
Beating Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa and Oakland’s MC Kreayshawn was Tyler, the Creator, head-honcho of the rap collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All.