While the cursory nods where there -- Britney Spears and Eminem were both recognized multiple times -- this morning's MTV Video Music Award nominations were about christening a new star. Synth-pop newcomer Lady Gaga was nominated nine times, tying Beyoncé with the most nods.
Yet whereas Beyoncé's nominations went solely to her relatively minimalist "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," a stark celebration of choreography, MTV spread the love for the '80s-inspired songs of Lady Gaga, who was recognized for the videos for "Poker Face" and "Paparazzi," both exercises in excess.
Gaga's "Fame" has now sold more than 1.2 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and should top 2 million units by the time Grammy nominations are announced in December. Don't be surprised if the industry's new star scores an album of the year nomination, and goes against Kanye West, her upcoming tourmate and competition in this year's MTV video of the year field.
The MTV VMAs are, of course, little more than promotion for the network. How else to explain the multiple nods for Eminem's "We Made You"? The clip is notable only for featuring Eminem and Dr. Dre dressed as Spock and Captain Kirk, but otherwise is full of out-of-date jokes targeted at the obvious.
The "breakthrough video" category features some quick studies for Grammy voters unsure of where to place their best new artist nominations this year. Though not her introductory clip, Bat for Lashes' "Daniel" is the best of the bunch, in terms of a winning video/song merging. It's a bit spooky, a bit sexy and a bit more exciting than Passion Pit's vintage collage collection ("The Reeling") and Matt and Kim's streaker nightmare ("Lessons Learned").
The rock field is especially weak. Green Day hasn't made a video to match the grandeur of "21st Century Breakdown" yet, Coldplay was shown up by its iTunes commercial, Paramore's "Decode" is an extended teaser for "Twilight" and only Fall Out Boy has some fun with "I Don't Care."
A surprise, perhaps, was to see only one major nomination for Taylor Swift. She was recognized for best female video in high school drama "You Belong With Me." But no matter, Swift will perform on the telecast, and her sophomore album, "Fearless," is on its way to a bevy of Grammy nominations this fall.
Fall nominations after the jump.