Category: MTV

MTV VMAs: Busta Rhymes says Adam Levine is right [Video]

Earlier this week, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine made headlines when he declared that the MTV Video Music Awards were the one day a year that the network "pretends to still care about music."

On the black carpet at the awards ceremony Sunday evening, rapper Busta Rhymes said he agreed with Levine's sentiment.

"I think it is true, unfortunately," said the performer, who guessed he has been to 12 Video Music Awards. "It ain't what they used to be as far as supporting the music, you know what I'm sayin'? But at the end of the day, you still gotta come out and make sure that you are being acknowledged properly ... So I salute Adam Levine from Maroon 5 for shedding a light on that. It's real spit."


MTV VMAs: Lady Gaga's Joe Calderone is theatrics gone wrong

MTV Video Music Awards 2011 | Arrivals

MTV VMAs: Lady Gaga dines, Shia LaBeouf sees 'Red'

--Amy Kaufman

MTV VMAs: Kanye West, Jay-Z remind everyone they released album

Kanye West and Jay-Z at 2011 VMAs
Kanye West and Jay-Z were the big early MTV Video Music Awards surprise, although the appearance was leaked/tipped the media long before the show began. Walking out to a sample of Otis Redding's “Try a Little Tenderness,” Kanye and Jay did little with the soul classic on record and little more live, simply adding some pyrotechnics.

It was, however, something of a low-key performance for a song about little more than being rich. Sure, the denim worn by the rappers was likely designer, and Kanye and Jay didn't exactly go the humble route, performing in front of the American flag, but the performance was largely about the give-and-take between the two superstars. That'd be all fine and dandy if the two had anything to say in "Otis," which Kanye declares as "luxury rap."

Not really, as the spliced Redding sample is rather rudimentary, and there's nothing luxurious about reminding much of recession-stricken America that few will ever know the wealth of owning more than one Mercedes-Benz. Yet the appearance did serve as reminder that the recently released "Watch the Throne" was a wasted opportunity between two of rap's strongest talents.



-- Todd Martens

Photo: Kanye West and Jay-Z perform on the MTV Video Music Awards. Credit: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

MTV VMAs: Lady Gaga's Joe Calderone is theatrics gone wrong

Lady Gaga as Joe Calderone with Brian May

Lady Gaga opened the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards with a Broadway-inspired bit that wasn't the surprise producers tipped, as Gaga's career is littered with theatrics. More often than not, she's skirted the line between entertainment and controversy, but her cross-dressing bit as "Joe Calderone" was as tired and worn-out as the gratuitous guitar solos that clutter "You and I."

The only line Gaga crossed with her VMA opening was the one that separated excess from eye-rolling. Her Calderone character came off as little more than an extra from "The Outsiders," or maybe she was just referencing MTV's "Jersey Shore," strutting around the stage with cigarette in hand and a tension-less monologue that was about nothing more than Gaga herself. "What's with the hair? At first it was sexy and now I'm just confused," Gaga as Calderone said to forced laughter, likely echoing many-a-viewer's thoughts.

It got worse, though, as Gaga launched into "You and I," a bloated rock ballad that began with her at the piano and ended with her tripping around the stage as Queen's Brian May poured on out-of-date, second-rate solos. But hey, it went over well with some, as Dave Grohl, who knows a little something about arena-rock posing, stood and cheered at May's appearance.

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Lady Gaga, as Joe Calderone, performs with Queen's Brian May. Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Tony Bennett to honor Amy Winehouse at MTV Video Music Awards

Tony Bennett will lead a tribute to the late Amy Winehouse at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, the network announced Tuesday.

Winehouse teamed up with the iconic singer to record the duet “Body and Soul” for his upcoming "Duets II" album, and Bennett will make his first appearance on the VMA stage since 1993 to pay homage to the singer. Bennett will introduce the segment, which is set to include footage from their recording session together.

“Body and Soul” was reportedly Winehouse’s final studio session and took place in March at Abbey Road Studios in London. The single and video will be released by Columbia Records on Sept. 14, which would have been Winehouse's 28th birthday. Proceeds of the single will support the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which the singer's family recently established to help a number of charities connected with children and young people.  
“Our family is honored that the VMA’s are giving Amy this wonderful tribute," her father, Mitch Winehouse, said in a statement. "We know that Amy’s performance of 'Rehab' at the MTV Movie Awards played an important part in Amy’s worldwide success.”

Bennett revealed to Pop & Hiss that he attempted to give the British songstress some advice during the studio session.

"I was trying to tell her, 'You have so much talent. Slow down on the drugs or it's going to kill you,' " he said. "And then when I heard she died, I couldn't stop crying. She was such a talent, so sweet."

The 2011 MTV Video Music Awards will air live from Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday at 9 p.m. and feature performances from Lady Gaga, Adele, Bruno Mars, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Pitbull, Young the Giant and Jessie J.


Amy Winehouse: An appreciation

Tony Bennett talks Amy Winehouse, Lenny Bruce, new box set

Katy Perry, Adele, Kanye West lead MTV Video Music Awards nods

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo: Amy Winehouse and Tony Bennett at a recording session, singing "Body and Soul" for Tony's upcoming album. Credit: Mark Allen /Columbia Records

'I Want My MTV' back: Network fist-pumps its way to 30th birthday

MTV turns 30, but things have certainly changed for the "music" network.
Photo: MTV's original veejays were, from left, J.J. Jackson, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Martha Quinn and Alan Hunter. Credit: MTV Photos

It was once said, you can never trust anyone over the age of 30. For MTV, today is that day.

The network is celebrating its 30th anniversary of being a destination for all the things that go pop. But just like its iconic Moonman mascot, MTV is light-years away from the time it launched with the words, “Ladies and gentlemen, rock 'n' roll” before airing, rather ironically, the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

As MTV went on to prove decades later, reality killed the video star.

Music video airings have fallen victim to pregnant teens, permanently orange, worked-out, fist-pumping “social” drinkers and a scripted sampling of teenage angst: Current shows include a modern twist on “Teen Wolf,” the awkward girl in high school who got attention for not trying to off herself and the awkward boy in high school who got attention for being very well endowed (seriously, we didn't make any of those plots up).

Needless to say, things aren’t so rock 'n' roll anymore, ladies and gentlemen, and it made perfect sense that the network stealthy dropped the word "music" from its logo a few years ago.

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Lil Wayne uses 'Unplugged' performance to address jail stint, debut track from new album


Lil Wayne had run through a string of hits during the taping of his “MTV Unplugged” special Thursday night before he took on a rather serious tone.

“A few months ago I was in a dark place that I don't like to really shed light on,” he said referring to his time behind bars last year. “Everyone always asks, 'How was it?' I figured I'd find a way to answer that question.”

The rapper then launched into a cover of 2Pac’s "Hail Mary" –- the last single from his final studio album, “The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory.”

Wayne was incarcerated for attempted gun possession, from a 2007 arrest following a Manhattan concert. 

During his time behind bars -- which included a month of solitary confinement as punishment for possessing "music contraband" (headphones and a charger for an MP3 player) -- he released his last disc, “I Am Not a Human Being," and it debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, with 110,000 downloads in its first week.

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MTV music coordinator found fatally shot outside his Mid-Wilshire home [Updated]

An MTV music coordinator was shot execution-style in the back of the head early Sunday morning in front of his Mid-Wilshire apartment, L.A. Now reports.

Police detectives believe that Gabriel Aron Benmeir, 30, was fatally shot after arriving at home around midnight. Several residents reported hearing gunshots at the time  but did not call police.

Benmeir's body was found around 6:30 a.m. Sunday on Packard Street between Stanley and Spaulding avenues by a man walking his dog, Los Angeles Police Sgt. Renee McAlonis said. Benmeir was a resident of the neighborhood who had parked his car and was walking home. Authorities said the victim's body lay bleeding on the sidewalk for about five hours.

Detectives are unsure of the murder weapon used, but believe it could have be a shotgun. There are  no suspects in the case, authorities said. According to KTLA News, friends of the victim reported that Benmeir worked for MTV. He is listed as music coordinator and production coordinator on several MTV shows, including "Punk'd" and "Nitro Circus."

[Update: Earlier this afternoon, MTV told Pop & Hiss that the network was "shocked and saddened to learn about the tragic death of [Gabriel Aron Benmeir], who was a valued member of the MTV family and a beloved and dedicated colleague and friend." Nathaniel Brown, Senior Vice President of Communications said "our hearts go out to his family."]

 -- Nate Jackson

MTV Video Music Awards return to Los Angeles for second year in a row


The MTV Video Music Awards are  set to stay put in Los Angeles.

MTV’s annual video fete, now in its 28th year, is returning to L.A. for a second year in a row, and even headed back to the Nokia Theatre at L.A. LIVE.

“We are thrilled to return to Los Angeles, where the energy of the city will be instrumental in powering the creative and spirit of the 28th annual VMAs,” Stephen Friedman, president of MTV, said in a statement.  “The city is the perfect backdrop to capture and create all the musical moments, mayhem and magic that make the VMAs such a notorious celebration.”

The 2010 VMA Awards telecast on MTV drew the show's best ratings in eight years.

An average of 11.4 million viewers tuned in, a 27% increase from the 2009 telecast held at the ceremony’s second home, Radio City Music Hall in New York. It was the ceremony's most-watched telecast since 2002, according to the Nielsen Co.

Famous for the antics that happen outside of doling out awards -- Kanye versus Taylor Swift, Britney’s best and worst televised performances, Lady Gaga head to toe in meat -- the show is never short of surprises.

The 28th annual VMAs air Aug. 28 at 9 p.m. (ET/PT). 

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo: Kanye West takes the microphone from Taylor Swift as she accepts the Best Female Video award during the MTV Video Music Awards in New York in 2009. Credit: Jason DeCrow / Associated Press

Logo’s NewNowNext Awards tap into Europop craze with Robyn, Oh Land performances


Logo’s NewNowNext Awards prides itself on staying ahead of the pop-culture curve.

The annual telecast, which airs tonight, focuses on what is "new, now, next" instead of offering trophies that honor the previous year's pop culture. Though the awards traverse all facets of entertainment, the gay- and lesbian-themed network has managed to keep a particularly close pulse on what's ready to pop in music.

A little-known Lady Gaga made her television debut on the awards in its first year back in 2008. And although she's now one of pop's most ubiquitous names, the singer lost both categories she was up for. Ironically, the Brink of Fame Song category went to Semi Precious Weapons that year, a band that would go on to serve as an opening act on her ongoing “Monster Ball Tour.” And four years later, she was honored with the Always Now, Forever Next Award -- the show’s equivalent of a lifetime achievement trophy -- which has previously gone to Janet Jackson, Britney Spears and Paula Abdul.

Now in its fourth year, the telecast aims to uphold its reputation of attempting to stay ahead by enlisting Swedish pop chanteuse Robyn and Danish electropop upstart Oh Land as the marquee musical acts.

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MTV to debut Lykke Li 'Unplugged' concert via Facebook


“MTV Unplugged,” regardless of its inconsistency on the air, remains the network’s shining example of showcasing musicians at their most vulnerable and raw, with stripped-down performances that counter the glossy productions the network is known for. 

Despite shifting from television to online in recent years -- the switch snagged the network a 2009 Daytime Emmy for Best New Approach -- the franchise is alive and has announced that indie darling Lykke Li will be the first to kick off a new string of the Grammy and Emmy award-winning series.

Curiously (or not), “Unplugged” will premiere live on the candymaker Starburst's  Facebook page Thursday at 6 p.m. PST.

The seven-song set features “I Follow Rivers,” “Dance Dance Dance,” “Sadness Is a Blessing,” “I Know Places,” “Jerome,” the never-before-performed “Possibility” from the “The Twilight Saga: New Moon Soundtrack” and a cover of Big Pink’s “Velvet.”

On Monday, “I Follow Rivers” will go into music video rotations on MTV’s "AMTV," mtvU and MTV Hits.  A 30-minute special will debut on Palladia, MTV Networks’ high-definition music channel, on April 22.

In 2009, the series was revived with a summer string of shows from Adele, Silversun Pickups, All Time Low, Paramore, Vampire Weekend and Katy Perry. The performances debuted online while single song excerpts appeared on MTV. 

New episodes of “Unplugged” are expected to premiere throughout the year. 

Check out Likke Li's performance of "Possibility" after the jump.

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