VMA pre-show production designer Scott Storey didn't want to repeat his past triumphs when putting together his vision for the 2011 VMA pre-show, so he threw out the playbook entirely.
Rather than serve up the same-old same-old "step and repeat" entrance, where stars walk down a red carpet and pose for photographers in front of a wall with a logo and sponsor names, he came up with a series of giant undulating, rib-cage-like towers that would do something you'd never seen before. "I wanted something that would 'hug' the talent, to feel as if they are going, again, through a tunnel."
With the show just two days away, Storey's visionary idea was coming into place, as production crews hauled the giant white wave forms into the lobby of the J.W. Marriott hotel in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday night.
To contrast the soft, rolling towers, Storey then laid the angular, sharp-edged 2011 VMA logo on top. "What sort of worked out nicely for us is, while everything has been very curvy and organic, this logo it couldn't be more sharp and angular and just a polar opposite ... so it makes a very nice contrast," he said.
But before they get to the step and repeat, the stars will make a grand entrance through a futuristic-looking space portal in the lobby of hotel, a welcome indoor awards show walk that will protect them from the harsh late-summer sunlight.
"We have this big portal entrance, this really exciting dramatic entrance," he said of the space-age series of curvy openings that will usher the night's VIPs into the spotlight. "The headline talent will make entrances down this shell-shaped organic-feeling portal."
After chatting with Sway, they'll stroll past the towers and end up in a paparazzi "plaza," where a group of sanctioned snappers will take their pictures as they make their way to the big show. The Emmy-winning designer said it sounds like a lot of moving parts, but swears that for viewers at home it will feel totally "seamless."
The 28th annual MTV Video Music Awards will air live Sunday, August 28, from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles at 9 p.m. ET/PT, following the Selena Gomez-hosted pre-show at 8. See the list of nominees, revisit last year's highlights and vote for Best New Artist by visiting VMA.MTV.com.