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MTV VMAs: Odd Future's nerves and Adele's elegance

August 28, 2011 |  7:31 pm

Adele at the 2011 MTV VMAs
If the MTV Video Music Awards wanted to inject some controversy into the telecast, tapping locals Odd Future would seem to be a surefire way to do it. But Odd Future didn't get the chance to perform, unless one counts a tepid comedy bit in which Odd Future engaged in a dance-off with Will Ferrell and Jack Black (the "future" Beastie Boys).

MTV producers avoided Odd Future's violence-happy lyrics and instead let the group introduce the award for best hip-hop video, with Tyler, the Creator admitting he was overcome with nerves. At least the confession of butterflies was a moment of spontaneity, as Pitbull and Ne-Yo soon ran down their anonymous club-hit "Tonight." In terms of energy, the performance boasted some lasers, but even Ne-Yo seemed bored. Can't blame him, as there's little to say about this by-the-numbers dance anthem.

Things got more serious and reserved when Adele performed her bare "Someone Like You," opting to forgo hit "Rolling in the Deep." It was a fine choice, as few can tackle a ballad like Adele. Her voice is strong and direct, and tackles grief by moving with the melody rather than trying to pummel it. It was a less-is-more performance, a tactic award-show producers rarely indulge in, but Adele needs few adornments to impress.

Get More: 2011 VMA, Music, Adele


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-- Todd Martens

Photo: Adele performs "Someone Like You" on the VMAs. Credit: Matt Sayles/AP