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Eminem has left the building: Grading the music at the MTV Movie Awards

Eminem (L) and actor Sacha Baron Cohen onstage during the 18th Annual MTV Movie Awards

It probably wasn’t the comeback Eminem wanted. His appearance at the MTV Movie Awards this year will be a hard one to top. Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with his music.

Two hours of live product placement, the MTV Movie Awards don’t come back with much in the way of live music. There were two performances tonight – Eminem and Kings of Leon. For Eminem, this represented his first major appearance since the release of his No. 1 album, “Relapse.”

He brought an award-show staple – a medley of recent singles “We Made You” and “Crack a Bottle.” But Eminem’s best performance came a few minutes later in the stands, when Sacha Baron Cohen’s flamboyantly gay character Bruno descended from the rafters in angel wings and landed, butt-first, in Eminem’s face.

Punches were thrown, curse words were lip-read and Eminem stormed out with a scowl. Credit MTV for having a little fun with the often humorless rapper, who's long been a source of controversy for what many have deemed homophobic lyrics. In fact, the episode gave MTV what many of its recent award galas have lacked – a moment that felt a little daring.

Was it staged? Most likely. Eminem is a master pitchmen, and he’s used his homophobic tag to move records before (see the Grammys’ 2001 performance with Elton John). But if it was planned, Emimen should have stuck around and had more fun with the moment. After all, storming out was the obvious move, and what we’d expect from Em (as is much of “Relapse”). 

But if the moment was a surprise to Eminem, score one for Cohen, who showed that the rapper, who hadn’t released an album of new material since 2004’s “Encore,” hasn’t grown up in the slightest.

As for grading the music:

Eminem, “Crack a Bottle,” “We Made You.” Award shows continue to saddle artists with medleys, despite it being nearly impossible to look good while performing one. Tonight was no different, with Eminem sporting a cap and spitting rhymes into the floor while the lyrics scrolled behind him. We got a little bit of “Relapse’s” first two singles, but nothing that we haven’t heard before. But you know things are bad when the scripted jokes at an MTV gala are more relevant than the lyrics in your songs – you didn’t see host Andy Samberg tossing out jabs at Jessica Simpson and Kim Kardashian. Despite the presence of a small brass section, it was a relatively bare-bones performance, and a showcase for Eminem’s dexterity, not his songs. Worse, Eminem was even shown up by the host, whose musical spoof with Will Ferrell – a cute song about action heroes not looking back at the explosions they set off – was more tuneful and clever. D

Kings of Leon, "Use Somebody." Not quite sure why the Southern rockers were here, as "Use Somebody" has been in official release for months, and by all accounts it isn't appearing on any upcoming scores (tell us if we're wrong). Furthermore, this song is a tepid representation of the rock band. It's the Kings of Leon at their most tame, and is an extended solo away from being a throwaway power ballad. As it is, and as it was tonight, it's a relatively forgettable rock 'n' roll downer, with a glistening, Coldplay-like backdrop that the tune isn't worthy of. If MTV wanted a hammy song, they should have gone all the way and let Miley Cyrus perform "The Climb."  C-

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Bruno after dropping on Eminem. Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (47)

this award show was so boring and trashy, doing that to eminem was low especially when he performed on the show. this is why i never watch mtv anymore.

WTF do you mean hasn't grown up??!! That was completely ridiculous and not funny at all. That was blatantly rude and Bruno deserved a kick to the face imo.

That was hilarious! Eminem deserved that for being such an A hole and immature rapper. I love how everyone was laughing at that joke. I have officially become a BRUNO fan after that!

For someone who finds it funny to disrespect, degrade, and be vulgar towards women, Eminem has little sense of humor when the joke is directed towards him.

and Todd Martens your a douche because im sure you wouldnt want some persons balls in your face infront of thousands of people. that has nothing to do with growing up

Even tho, the stunt was rediculous and discusting. Em needs to get friggin sense of humor. He makes fun of whoever he wants in front of millions, why cant the loser take a joke in front of millions? Jackass

Eminem can dish it out, but cannot take it. If it was staged, he is an awesome actor, if it wasn't staged he needs to fire his slow moving body guards. He can get up and rap to insult and humiliate as many people as he can, but can't take it when the tables are turned on him.

That was totally wrong. It cross the line and wasn't even funny. MTV and that idiot should apologize publicly.

KOL are better than most bands nowadays... their performance was the highlight of the show... todd they were there to show what good music is, they don't produce crap such as nickleback or linkon park come out with.

How does not wanting a non-gay man's bare ass shoved in his face make him a homophobe?

That was the funniest thing ever...Eminem is a clown and just got clowned....CLASSIC!

if that wasn't staged it was sexual assault. I watched to support friends in the industry who worked on this, but it such a shameless piece of promotion I feel dirty. I am scared that people across the country actually think this piece of trite is "reality".

Staged or not that was one of the most pathetic and embarrassing moments in television's history. MTV has become a JOKE television station instead of a MUSIC television station and the joke- unfortunately is far from being funny.

Eminem was the best part of the Awards, if I was sitting next to him I would have kicked the crap out of that "IDIOT BRUNO" and I am a woman.

I will never watch the MTV awards ever again, how disrespectful could someone be.
Eminem if you are looking at this comment know that you are loved and we stand behind you and you had every right to get mad.

Glad to have you back, can't wait to get your new CD!!
Loved by a 45 year old woman

To the other commentators, it is so obvious it was staged. What were the chances that he would be sitting under the track. What are the chances he wouldn't move before Bruno made it down. Zero to none. Not funny at all/

Man, this is low... Whatever eminem did was in his music...and people should just listen..watch his videos..and enjoy it..not take it too seriously...Eminem raps about the truth in a funny way which doesnt gets you bored..

What MTV did was just low and they should be ashamed of doing it to a great artist like eminem. and who the hell is this bruno guy cos i dont even know him...

I found this hilarious! Eminem needs to be knocked off his high horse. I am a fan of both Eminem and Cohen.
I think Cohen is doing what he does best which is make situations awkward and I think Eminem needs to realize this and just lighten up.

the encounter was scripted, just like literally everything else on mtv is scripted (including the "reality" shows). bruno and eminem are characters, not real people. no need to get so worked up over actors acting people. this is the truest statement on here, and i didn't even have to endure empty-v's mind-numbing programming to figure it out.

that was gross. MTV tried that with fartman and howard stern but having someones ass stuck in your face is supposed to be funny? who was that guy? I hope someone kicks the crap out of him for agreeing to do it. if it is that wierdo in the spandex movie ( never saw..it didnt look funny) how is someone a homophobe for not wanting an ass in their face? This guy gives gays a bad name. Eminem may have his issues but he did not deserve that and if he agreed to it in exchange for being able to lip sync during the performance , then shame on him as well. Eminem you are a very talented person. MTV is dead. MTV no longer is music television. They play reality shows or other stupid shows. I am glad I only saw this while clicking through stations and not having to sit through the entire show. Does anyone really watch MTV anymore? they are too staged and way to into themselves to even know what people want to listen to. when was the last time you bought a CD from something you first heard on MTV?

Well there is no doubt that it was scripted and here is the proof:

A: "Bruno" couldn't pull this off without MTV not knowing about it as it was at least scripted on that end and Bruno needed to be lowered to him in precision and that would have taken rehearsals

B: If you come to the clear conclusion that MTV knew about it then you have to come to the conclusion that MTV is not going to go along with the prank with out Eminem knowing about it. Seated next to several 300 lb guys. A rap artist who is very unpredictable. MTV wants edgy but they don't want full on brawls and possible deaths at their awards.

People just want it to be real so they feel like they saw something cool. TRUST ME MTV is not that dumb to not let Eminem in on the joke.

First question-MTV is still on the air? Wow, missed that one, and I am a huge music nut. Eminem would never go for that kind of crap and couldn't have known about it, hope he raps next about MTV being a dead irrelevant network showing D rated shows that can't make any other network. Imagine the suprise of the 500 watchers of the award show when it happened..... Todd martens probably wished he coulda got the tea bagging seat.

Somehow, I don't think Eminem would have agreed to that - probably nobody would. He seems to be trying to become a better person, song lyrics notwithstanding. I watched it, and it sure didn't look like he consented to that. Bruno, on the other hand, certainly had that pre-planned and is known for publicly embarrassing known figures in a tasteless way. It is quite likely MTV was in on the gag, based on things like the camera going to Eminem BEFORE Bruno got anywhere near him. I didn't think it was funny, and from a legal perspective, if you impugn someone's character it can be but is not always slander, but if you physically put your balls in someone's face without their consent, it's assault, and sexual assault, at that.

Eminem has (or had) a fairly extensive business relationship with MTV. We shall see very soon whether that was staged.

I do not care what anyone says - I like eminem, but that had to be one of the funniest moments of television I have ever, ever, ever ever seen. Was it wrong? Completely! Was it vulgar? yes! BUT ALSO INCREDIBLY HILARIOUS. Not only is Sacha the most comedic person out there right now, but also one of the balziest people out there - he could have easily picked zac efron or some other soft guy that wouldnt do anything - BUT HE WENT STRAIGHT FOR THE "HARDEST" GUY OUT THERE - LOVED IT! A+++++++++++++++++ TO COHEN!

I think the funniest thing about the show was how there were only 2 musical performances. MTV officially sucks.

No way was eminem in on that. It was hilarious seeing him shown for the lame soft punk he is. His music sucks, how can you people listen to a guy rapping about Jessica Simpson? haha.. white boys from the suburbs never did have much taste in music, no wonder eminem built his career on them. Too funny, the only guy so soft he has to be surrounded by bodyguards at the mtv movie awards.. he just sat there with an ass in his face.

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