LOS ANGELES — Fried calamari, cheese logs, jalapeño poppers, nachos … and Cobra Starship? All of the above are delicious appetizers, and according to the VMA pre-show black-carpet performers, so are they.
“We haven’t played on the VMAs,” said guitarist Ryland Blackinton about the group’s chance to break into the ranks of MTV Video Music Awards veterans when they warm up Sunday night’s broadcast with “You Make Me Feel” featuring Sabi.
“Is performing at the pre-show as prestigious as performing at the VMAs proper?” lead singer Gabe Saporta wondered.
MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway assured him that it was, explaining, “You’re the first people that anyone sees.”
Blackinton liked that answer, reasoning that, “You often like the appetizer more than the main course, because you’re more hungry.” Besides, he added, you might be so full by the time the main course comes around that you push the plate away and send it back.
With a lineup that includes Lady Gaga, Beyoncé , Adele, Lil Wayne, Bruno Mars, Pitbull and Ne-Yo, newcomers Young the Giant and Chris Brown, chances are viewers will leave plenty of room for the entrée.
And based on their rehearsals Saturday afternoon (August 27), Starship will provide a nice run-up to the star-packed main event. Standing under a series of shimmering silver curtains hanging over a stage in the middle of the JW Marriott hotel lobby, the group played the song over, and over, and over as sound and lighting technicians got everything just right.
After several run-throughs, Saporta and Sabi practiced their long and winding road to the stage, which will take them through several of the major elements of the eye-popping black carpet. Once they hit the stage, it was flooded in cool blue and pink lights and strobe-light effects as they flirted their way through half-a-dozen takes.
The band’s members also gave their pick for who they think will take home the coveted Video of the Year prize, a tight race between Adele, Bruno Mars, the Beastie Boys, Katy Perry and Tyler, the Creator.
“The Beastie Boys one was amazing,” Blackinton said. “Incredible, but [Tyler's] ‘Yonkers’ just as a video concept, that’s definitely mine.”
Saporta said he’s definitely onboard with Tyler as well, revealing that he was obsessed with the video when it first came out, watching it every day. “I tried to show it to my girlfriend, and she had to turn it off,” he said, speculating that she might have been disturbed by all the bug-chomping action.
The 28th annual MTV Video Music Awards will air live Sunday from 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.