This past Sunday marked the 25th anniversary of the MTV Video Music Awards, which are held in Los Angeles at the Paramount Pictures Theater.
This year’s theme centered on the idea of honoring the past while looking forward to the future. The stage was created to resemble a talk show set and the stars provided all the shine with their glitz and glamour.
The MTV Video Music Awards, or VMAs, were trying to aim for something original – again. They were trying to promote an image of a night to remember, but it didn’t really work out that way.
Sure the ratings were nice, with an audience of 23 million, a 15 percent increase from last year’s ceremony. But can you tell us one thing you remember after the camera flashes faded from memory? It’s no surprise the event struggles for long-term memorability – why else would they exploit Britney Spears in last year’s awards ceremony, only to tempt the audience with her appearance weeks before her actual debut this year?
MTV knows its core audience of tweens and young adults is nothing like what it used to be, and it has done just about everything from the mouth dropping performance of *NSYNC and Michael Jackson, to Howard Stern floating in the air to get it back to normal.
They’ve done everything for the audience but the problem isn’t with the coming of age viewers or even with the awards ceremony. It’s the darn network itself.
Is MTV even relevant anymore? The music television network doesn’t do much in terms of playing music and even if it did, it would only play a music video for about seven seconds. What permeates MTV now is RTV – the plague of reality TV.
MTV’s most notable fall from grace was their introduction of the trashy but undeniable show “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila,” which automatically categorized the channel with VH1 and E!’s “Flavor of Love” and “Sunset Tan.”
From that point on, the introduction of new music and artists seemed to transfer over to the Disney Channel, who burst out with the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana. Nowadays, your best bet for finding new or popular music is on the radio or Internet.
However, MTV was the leader in music in the ’80s and ’90s, and it seems to cling onto that right. While MTV itself needs a serious make over, the VMAs is still relevant to us now, and not just because of ratings. It will always be because it honors the accomplishments of singers and dancers the same way it did years before. The Moonman is just as prized as the Grammy. MTV was at the forefront of music for a long time and it will probably take the same amount of time for its edge to wear off.
Plus, you can always count on the MTV Music Awards for some kind of shocker. Back in the day, it was a staged kiss between Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. A couple years back, it was Lil’ Kim’s shocking purple jump suit with one dot over her nipple. Last year, it was the enticement of Britney Spears’ failed comeback. The VMAs still has the ability to catch our eye, even if we aren’t paying much attention to it in the first place.
The channel’s overall decline in ratings can only be blamed on MTV’s insipid ‘reality’ shows.
During its prime, shows like “Diary” were what made the network so good. It focused on budding singers and music, and it hasn’t lost its touch entirely. Shows like “America’s Best Dance Crew,” “Making the Band” and even “The Hills” focus on dancing, singing and introducing new artists.
In contrast, shows like “America’s Next Top Model” and “Busted” do almost nothing for the network. I recommend taking away everything that doesn’t have to do with promoting music and start putting the focus on new artists and indie songs. MTV needs to reclaim its roots in order to get its audience back.
After all, this is supposed to be Music Television, not the we-play-everything-BUT-music television.