Call it what you will: talent, swag, skills. But one thing’s true about [artist id="1270"]Usher[/artist] Terry Raymond IV: When he steps on the dance floor, some mysterious thing comes out of him and puts the G in groove. After he was tapped to perform at the 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards, executive producer Dave Sirulnick challenged Usher to “show why you’re king,” and the 31-year-old Grammy winner didn’t disappoint.
As predicted by the lucky few who got a peek at Thursday’s practice performance for his hit “OMG,” Ush pulled off moves that would make the late great [artist id="1102"]Michael Jackson[/artist] jealous in a mammoth stage production that included more special-effects bells and whistles than a summer blockbuster.
Usher opened the performance with “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love,” perched two flights above the stage on a ledge surrounded by blinding green laser lights. Then he slid, with the help of barely visible wires and mounts, down a flight, all the while popping and locking. When the father of two finally ticked his way down to stage level, he was surrounded by an army of dancers also clad in black suits with white stripes designed to toss and catch special effect lights.
Directed by Anthony Mandler, Usher’s “OMG” clip earned Best Male Video, Best Dance Music Video and Best Choreography Moonman nominations. During the pre-show, Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” beat it in the Best Dance category, where Raymond was, for many, the lead contender.
If Usher was disappointed, he didn’t let it show. When he launched the “OMG” portion of his performance, the stage seemed to disappear, as red laser lights moved forward in blinding configurations spelling out O.M.G. and Usher’s name. More dancers lowered from the ceiling on Cirque du Soleil-esque contraptions, dipping in and out of the red beams. Such a 3-D light display could probably have been seen from the moon, if it weren’t for the roof of the Nokia Theatre.
Usher ended his set standing, head back, with his arms outstretched in the Jesus pose. He didn’t say a word. Didn’t need to.
The Moonmen have all been handed out and the stars have gone home, but there’s plenty of 2010 MTV Video Music Awards news, interviews, behind-the-scenes scoop, party reports and more still to come, so keep it locked on MTVNews.com.