VMAs Recap: What Happened in Vegas…

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It all started with some ratty extensions…

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…and it only got worse from there. Is this the VMAs or a Rob Zombie movie?

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Still too hard to tell.

Britney’s trainwreck more or less set the tone for the rest of last night’s show, which was supposed to be a new-and-improved version of the Video Music Awards. Mostly, it just felt schizophrenic, with its performers scattered through a series of “parties” at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas. Though less ceremonious in general (gone away, for the most part, were performer introductions, thankfully) and about as short as you could possibly expect an awards show to be (just over two hours, double thankfully), this year’s VMAs was a series of quick cuts and excerpted performances. It felt like a parody of MTV and the short-attention-span generation the network supposedly spawned. The awards show is what would happen if ADHD got ADHD. (And what’s worse — they gypped us out of what was undoubtedly the best part of the night: the Kid Rock-Tommy Lee tussle.)

After the jump, we recount some highlights. And by “highlights,” more times than not, we mean “lowlights.”

So, at this point, it’s utterly clear that a comeback from Britney is not in the cards, right? (Sarah Silverman said it best during her, uh…monologue was it? “She is amazing. I mean, she is 25-years-old and she’s already accomplished everything she’s gonna accomplish in her life.”) If Britney couldn’t get it together for a four-minute comeback performance, how can she possibly be expected to get it together for the next chapter of a career? Seriously Brit: don’t waste your time…

…unless, of course, you plan on giving us a series of awkward performances like last night’s. As painful as it was, Britney’s rendition of her solid new single, “Gimme More,” provided the unitentional hilarity that only the performance of a camp icon can. Hmmmm…maybe that’s the angle for the next chapter of her career. On second thought, don’t give up yet, Brit! Dance, Britney, dance! Pacing the stage, looking bored, half-heartedly attempting moves, each more awkward than the next, the girl was a mess.

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Seriously, did she almost fall over?

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She’s cross-eyed now?

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She thinks it’s a joke?

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She’s a human “C”?

Bad, bad, bad. Although, I’m not gonna lie…

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That was hot.

And you know what else was hot, for real for real? Her body — Brit’s slightly thicker than she was at her python-carrying, Madonna-Frenching, VMAs prime and, Zombie-movie hair excepted, maybe hotter than ever. In fact, a few of the girls on last night’s show were packing a little more than you might have expected. Let’s hear it for the unexpectedly stocky girls of the 2007 VMAs!

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For real: good for all of them. They’ll all probably be ridiculed for their extra pounds, but we can only hope that they’ll ignore it and keep reaching for the donuts. Seriously: it’s refreshing to see three superstars of Britney’s, Beyoncé’s and Alicia’s caliber look so healthy.

Speaking of appearance, let’s go over some of the looks that made the VMAs a moving eyesore:

Lil’ Mama

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I’m dubbing her Lil’ Bo Bleep, because seriously? This outfit looks like s***.

Alicia Keys

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I’m not hating the bod, but please next time keep your bondage fantasies to yourself, girl.

Nelly Furtado

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Before the show, she was rocking this bird’s nest in her hair. Hey Nelly — just because you’re in Vegas, it doesn’t mean you have to look like a used-up stripper or casino-floor inhabitant. Nexxus leave-in-conditioner. Size of a dime. Smooth it in. Please.

It’s great that Nelly cleaned up for her performance…

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It’s too bad she had to transform into a python Madonna in the process.

Ne-Yo

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Speaking of Madonna, don’t you think that whole equestrian thing is played out, Ne? Just because you can, and just because there’s nothing to it, it doesn’t mean you should strike such a pose.

Beyoncé

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Aw, look! Bey loves animals so much that she brought her pet squirrel!

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Mary J. Blige

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And I think Mary picked that mushroom on top of her head from the same forrest.

Adam Levine

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So, is his whole purpose to be a walking hypothesis of what would have happened if Pretty in Pink‘s Duckie were transplanted into the “Justify My Love” video? That would, at least, fall in line with his whole manwhoredork reputation.

Shia LeBeouf

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Shia took the opportunity to announce the title of the upcoming Indiana Jones movie: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. “It’s a big deal,” he told us. You know what’s an even bigger deal? That molesty mustache he decided to rock. Lock up your daughters. No, seriously. Do it.

Dr. Dre

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It looks like he’s been hitting the gym instead of the recording studio. So that’s why Detox has been so long delayed!

Timbaland

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Seriously, who do you think can bench more — Tim or Dre?

Of course, such superficial matters are just one facet of the VMAs — though it could very well stand for “messy,” the M still means “music.” And so, as for the performances, it’s pretty much the consensus that Chris Brown killed it (Alicia Keys would be my first-runner-up for being daring enough to emphasize emotion over technical perfection — that is SOUL).

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Chris was pretty much the only performer to utilize the entire venue, coming as close to running circles around his peers as humanly possible. It definitely felt like a big night for Chris, although it was instantly dwarfed by the fact that the most memorable part of his act…

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…was a throwback to someone else’s act. Way to make a name for yourself, Chris!

In the Countdown to Overexposure category…

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Three freakin’ Kanye performances? Sept. 11 can’t be over soon enough.

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Seriously, is this amusing to anyone but them at this point?

Also, in the shots above in which Kanye’s wearing the sunglasses, doesn’t he look sort of like Flavor Flav would look like after having his ass kicked by Charm School? That’ll never happen, but it’s fun to pretend.

One of the downsides of the faster-paced show was that we only got to see snatches of some performances. At first, I thought it was unfortunate that we didn’t get to see Cee-Lo singing Prince’s “Darling Nikki” with the Foo Fighters.

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But you know what? This was quite enough.

The VMAs did provide a public service, though.

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Because you know you’ve spent many sleepless nights wondering what Rihanna would sound like backed by Fallout Boy. Well, wonder no more!

Did you happen to catch the pre-show? Because Nicole Scherzinger performed in one of those metal racks used by caterers.

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Yummy! Who says women are objectified? Also, her guest rapper Lil’ Wayne made fun of her name in his verse. A tied-tongue when attempting to pronounce “Scherzinger” is the latest celebrity must-have.

It’s too bad that Linkin Park’s light show didn’t detract more from their music.

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Next time bust out the lasers, guys.

Finally, the Nelly Furtado-D.O.E.-Kerri Hilson-Timberlake-Timbaland finale put an appropriately schizophrenic cap on the show.

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It was nice to see Justin massage his brain:

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But even more entertaining were Justin and Timbaland’s off-stage antics:

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It’s so wonderful that our pop culture is propped up by complete spazzes.

Finally, I’d like to give out some awards to those who didn’t end up taking home Moon Men last night (the full list of winners is here, FYI).

Biggest Who…?

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Jennifer Hudson. Dreamgirls seems like it happened 5,000 years ago, doesn’t it?

Best Human Imitation of a Vagina

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Duh. Although this guy was nipping at her heels:

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…with Kanye a close third.

Best Head in the Way of My View from the Couch

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It’s a tie! (Seriously, did they have the audience members film this thing? What was up with the camera angles?)

Best Sense of Humor About Oneself

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Miss Teen South Carolina, who announced that future airings of the VMAs would be remixed while lampooning her infamous speech. But the best thing about this was that her stiff, Al Gore-like delivery meant we got to laugh both with her and at her. She’s a consummate entertainer, that one!

Best Person, Period

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The girl who popped her head in front when Gym Class Heroes won…something. Clearly, this was her night.

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