Solemn remembrance loomed large over the 2002 Video Music Awards. A tribute to TLC’s Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and somber though inspired performances by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band and Sheryl Crow — who was introduced by former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani — were touching. However, a surprise set by Guns N’ Roses and Eminem’s beef with a vegetarian stole the spotlight. Click here for the complete 2002 MTV VMA Winners List.
While Eminem was bestowed with the most Moonmen, scoring on four of his pack-leading six nominations, perhaps someone should have offered him a sense of humor. He accepted the statuette for Best Male Video from presenter Christina Aguilera, whom he once dissed in “The Real Slim Shady,” with only a mumbled “thanks,” and barely made eye contact.
“Keep booing, little girl,” Eminem said from the podium, directing his comment toward Moby, who also felt the prick of an Eminem slag in “Without Me.” “I will hit a man with glasses.”
Earlier in the evening, Slim Shady also had a run-in with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, who made an attempt to talk to the rapper after a brief but affronting interview with Moby, whose “We Are All Made of Stars” won for Best Cinematography in a Video. As the hand-puppet correspondent from “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” approached Marshall Mathers, D12’s Proof and Shady Records artist Obie Trice, seated alongside him, prevented the interaction from taking place. With Eminem repeating, “I’ve had my TV time,” someone tried to shove poor Triumph and the rubber dog’s notes were thrown in his face, forcing him to retreat with his proverbial tail between his legs. (Click for photos of the top VMA moments .)
Eminem tried to make amends when he accepted the evening’s most prestigious award, Best Video of the Year. “Y’all gotta excuse me,” he said, Moonman in hand. “I’ve been going through some anger management classes.”
The first single off Eminem’s third album, The Eminem Show, also picked up awards for Best Rap Video and Best Direction in a Video, an award he shared with director Joseph Kahn (Britney Spears, Destiny’s Child) given out during the pre-telecast portion of the show.
This year’s take gives Eminem a grand total of eight Moonmen, including his three from 2000 and one from 1999.
Former man and wife duo the White Stripes took home three awards, including the celebrated Breakthrough Video Award for their Lego-laden, Michel Gondry-directed video for “Fell in Love With a Girl,” the second single from the band’s third album, White Blood Cells.
After thanking twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who presented the band with the Moonman, Jack White accepted the award on behalf of Gondry, who couldn’t attend the ceremony because his father passed away recently. “He is a brilliant guy,” White said. “It was completely his idea.”
Another couple of Moonmen belonging to the White Stripes — Best Special Effects in a Video and Best Editing in a Video for “Fell in Love With a Girl” — were given out in the pre-telecast portion of the show.
Two hours into the show, a tribute was paid to the late TLC member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, who died in April from injuries sustained in a car accident (see “Thousands Gather to Say Goodbye to Left Eye” ). The surviving members of the best-selling female group of all time, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, took the stage to announce the formation of the Lisa Lopes AIDS Scholarship, a $25,000 educational grant given to students “as committed to the fight against AIDS as Lisa” was in her life.
“I want to start off by saying God is good, and that’s the only reason we’re able to be here tonight,” T-Boz began after a Left Eye video montage was projected on the big screen onstage. “This is a big honor. Lisa would have been very happy.”
“We want to thank everybody for your support, and we love you guys,” Chilli added. “We know that Lisa is smiling, and we just hope that she’s proud of us right now.”
Pink’s “Get the Party Started” nabbed two of the three awards it vied for, Best Dance Video and Best Female Video, the latter of which was presented by white T-topped Avril Lavigne and Lisa Marie Presley, who wore the words “Bite Me” across her chest.
“I wasn’t expecting this,” Pink said, sporting a new tattoo on her left arm and leg. “I’m too drunk for this,” she slurred, looking sloppy and tired.
No Doubt went two for two with their nominations, scoring in both the Best Group Video and Best Pop Video, besting Pink’s clip, for “Hey Baby,” the group’s collaboration with Bounty Killer. Tonight’s wins bring the Orange County quartet’s all-time VMA tally to three, building upon their win in 1997 for Best Group Video for “Don’t Speak.” Singer Gwen Stefani, however, landed two 2001 Moonmen from collaborations with Moby on “Southside,” which garnered a Best Male Video honor, and Eve on “Let Me Blow Ya Mind,” a Best Female Video winner.
After her abridged two-song performance atop the Radio City marquee, Avril Lavigne scored the Best New Artist in a Video award for “Complicated.”
“Dude,” she began her acceptance speech, “this is amazing. My dreams are coming true and this is something that I won’t take for granted. I’ve had this dream for a very long time and it’s incredible.”
Host Jimmy Fallon had the crowd in stitches at the onset with parodies of six nominated videos. The “Saturday Night Live” cast member kicked things off dressed in a Robin outfit with “JF” replacing the circled “R” on his chest, just like Eminem’s Rap Boy from his “Without Me” video. That fed routines based on the White Stripes’ “Fell in Love With a Girl,” retitled “Feel Like I’m Gonna Hurl” and Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated,” now “Nominated” with Fallon in a straight-haired auburn wig. The Hugging Guy from the Dave Matthews Band’s “Everyday” made an appearance, as did Nelly’s trademark Band-Aid and Enrique Iglesias’ mole on Fallon’s face when he took shots at their “Hot in Herre” and “Hero,” respectively.
Later in the show, he poked fun at Lance Bass and his plans for space travel by dressing like the ’NSYNC singer and pretending that he was transmitting an out-of-this-world broadcast because he mistakenly launched himself into orbit by fumbling with what he thought were stereo buttons.
Godfather of soul James Brown appeared toward the end of Fallon’s comedic opening, performing a portion of his “Get Up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine.”
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band opened the 19th annual VMAs with a majestic performance of “The Rising,” from his new album of the same name, broadcast from the American Museum of Natural History, located nearly 30 blocks north of Radio City Music Hall. Springsteen’s song foreshadowed what was billed as a kinder, more somber VMAs.
Britney Spears, outfitted in a black leather cap and matching thigh-revealing dress, introduced birthday boy Michael Jackson and presented him with a tiered cake. She referred to Jackson as “the artist of the millennium,” and Jackson, sporting his once-familiar gold-plated shin guards, thought he actually won an award by that name, though no such award exists.
“When I was a little boy in Indiana, if someone had told me that one day I’d be getting the Artist of the Millennium award, I wouldn’t have believed it. I can’t believe it.”
Jackson then went on to thank everyone from God and his family to street magician David Blaine, whom he said he really believes in.
Wearing an outfit that was an option but not the winner of an online poll conducted on mtvnews.com, Michelle Branch nabbed the Viewer’s Choice Award for “Everywhere,” off her debut album The Spirit Room.
“I was ready to leave because I didn’t think I was winning this,” she said of one of the evening’s final statuettes to be given out. “And I think I’m drunker than Pink!” the underage singer/songwriter said.
Former Van Halen frontmen David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar were on hand to present the award for Best Rock Video, and were themselves introduced both as “David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar” and “Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth,” so as not to bruise any egos. Following jokes that fell flat on most of the audience, the aged pair of rockers gave the Moonman to Linkin Park for their “In the End” clip.
Mary J. Blige’s “No More Drama” was dubbed Best R&B Video, Dashboard Confessional nabbed the MTV2 Award, and the Best Hip-Hop Video award went to Jennifer Lopez’s collaboration with Ja Rule on “I’m Real (Remix).”
For as much as the VMAs put smiles on the faces of many, it also brought with it its share of disappointments. P.O.D. and Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, both of whom tied Eminem for the most nominations, walked away empty-handed, as did Ashanti, who was up for three awards on her own and one from independent collaborations with Ja Rule and Fat Joe. Britney Spears was also shut out of the three categories in which she was nominated: Best Female Video, Best Dance Video and Best Choreography — all for “I’m a Slave 4 U.”
It’s impossible for all 21 VMAs to be doled out during the program’s three-hour broadcast, so, like most award shows, a few are distributed before the televised portion.
Kylie Minogue won for Best Choreography in a Video; Nickelback singer Chad Kroeger, with help from Saliva’s Josey Scott, was given the award for Best Video From a Film, for their “Hero”; Coldplay’s “Trouble” took the honor for Best Art Direction in a Video.
Catch all the sizzlin’, star-packed VMA action direct from Miami on August 28. MTV News’ preshow kicks things off at 6:00 p.m. ET/PT, followed by the big show at 8 p.m.
This story was last updated on August 30, 2002 at 12:55 AM EDT.