The 2011 MTV VMAs: The Best And Worst Moments

Last night, as the East Coast was coming out of our hurricane cocoons, the music-eratti descended on Los Angeles for the 26th annual MTV Video Music Awards. Now, this awards show is always confusing, mainly because MTV hardly plays music videos anymore, so it seems strange to have an awards show for them. But it’s always a night for over-the-top performances, and where stars can wear their most insane ensembles, no questions asked.

After the jump, the moments from the show that got us cheering and jeering.We’ll Be Debbie Downers And Start With The Worst Moments…

Lady Gaga performs as Jo Calderone. Sure, Gaga did the unthinkable and wore normal clothes to the VMAs. I think this would have been genius if she’d done anything besides talk about herself and her propensity for stripper heels in the third person. But as it was, it was embarrassing. Like, I had to fast-forward through it embarrassing. The only good moments here were a cut-away shot to Justin Bieber, who looked as unamused as I felt. I also chuckled when Gaga shook up a beer and sprayed it into the audience … and then slipped on it as she performed.

Jay-Z and Kanye’s surprise appearance. Sadly, I’m still just not that into Watch the Throne or the pair’s track “Otis.” Not to mention that they both seemed a little blah during the performance.

Katy Perry’s styling. Was it just me, or did it seem like her stylist last night was a My Little Pony with visions of grandeur? First came that sherbert colored geisha number with awkward cut-outs. And then that yellow cube hat? No!

Chris Brown and his abuse of tethers. It still drives me nuts that, given both his beating of Rihanna and his freakout on “Good Morning America” earlier this year, that people are still so quick to give Chris a standing ovation. Sue, he can dance. But really, MTV, is he the one you want to give a musical run-through of VMA history? Also, one moment of flight in a performance is cool. Twenty starts to look like overkill.

Jared Leto’s styling. ‘Nuf said.

Jessie J ‘s musical interludes. It was pretty badass that Jessie decided to perform even with a broken ankle. In between commercial breaks, she sang everything from “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” to “No Scrubs.” And while she sometimes sounded good, I noticed quite a few missed notes. Eek.

And Now We’ll End On A Good Note With The Best Moments….

The vagina shaped stage. I loved the stage last night—it looked super fly on air. But you have to admit that every time someone walked through those arches, it looked like they were coming out the birth canal.

Adele. Our girl doesn’t need a grid of green lasers or a stuffed animal attached to her garb to stand out. Nor does she even need to sing her mega-hit, “Rolling in the Deep.” Nope, Adele gave the most stripped-down performance of last night, singing the heartbreaking “Someone Like You.” She absolutely killed it, and looked gorgeous in the process.

Rick Ross and Paul Rudd present together. This was totally adorable. I wish the network had put together more mad-cap presenting pairs like this.

The tribute to Britney Spears. MTV sped up her songs and got young dancers to groove to them, like a hypersonic cheerleading routine. The end result was totally amusing. Still, I’m not sure why—given that this tribute was planned—MTV felt the need to also give Britney the win for Best Pop Video when clearly her video was nothing of the sort.

Beyoncé’s dope performance. I loved Beyoncé’s sequined suit rendition of “Love on Top.” At the end, she opened her jacket and revealed the beginnings of a baby bump, making women around the country squeal with glee.

Tyler the Creator’s mom. I thought it was totally adorable when Tyler the Creator won for Best New Artist, and his date—presumably his mom—went totally nuts. It was a great reminder that he, and all the other members of Odd Future for that matter, aren’t even of drinking age yet.

The “Jersey Shore” girls present with Cloris Leachman. Another sweet pairing, especially when Cloris revealed that she was “DTF.” And seriously, Deena Cortese looks gorgeous here.

The Amy Winehouse tribute. I’m glad that MTV decided to do something in honor of Amy. They had her friend Russell Brand give an intro, retelling the story of how he first met Amy, and also had Tony Bennett speak to her talent, too. Then Bruno Mars took it from there. Overall, touching.

What did you think were the best and worst moments of last night’s show?