Crazed stalkers, true love, parties and topless models. The competition for the Best Male Video award at Sunday night's 2013 MTV Video Music Awards is full of drama, and, yes, boobs.
From Robin Thicke's summer-smashing "Blurred Lines" and Justin Timberlake's cinematic "Mirrors" to Kendrick Lamar's slow-motion bottle-smasher "Swimming Pools (Drank)," Ed Sheeran's creepy doppelganger clip for "Lego House" and Bruno Mars' house party in "Locked Out of Heaven," the men are going hard this year.
While you await the winner, here's a list of our six favorite things from the nominees:
"Blurred Lines" Was Originally Even Sexier
The original version of the most talked-about video of the summer was sexy, but not that sexy. Robin Thicke thought he had a pretty cool promo for his career-best smash, but director Diane Martel knew they could do better. "I wrote the idea as a nude video and refused to do the job when they said they didn't want a nude version, that no one would see it," Martel told MTV News about the triple-nominated clip. "A week went by and they begged me to do it and said I could do a nude version, if I also did them a favor and did a dressed version. I like both versions now. I think Robin likes both too, we all do."
Sheeran Called In His "Harry Potter" Marker For "Lego House"
For years, people have been telling Sheeran that "Potter" star Rupert Grint looks exactly like him. So, looking for an opportunity to mess with all the people who've told him that over the years, he cast Grint as a crazed stalker in the "Lego" video. "It's sort of me poking fun at myself," Sheeran said, noting that Grint totally nailed the part.
Kendrick's "Swimming Pools" Video Has Black Hippy Roots
If you enjoyed the woozy, boozy clip for Lamar's "Drank" video and you're a fan of his Black Hippy crew, there's more where that came from. The director of "Drank," Jerome D. Hurd, is the Hippy's go-to lensman, responsible for four clips by Schoolboy Q (including "Collard Greens"), as well as one by Ab-Soul.
Mars Ditched Digital For "Locked Out Of Heaven"
Bruno Mars got real hands-on during the "Locked Out of Heaven" shoot, co-directing the party starter alongside Cameron Duddy ("The Lazy Song") in search of the opposite of HD perfection. "The concept is just old-fashioned fun. No story line, it's not me singing to a girl, you get a good sense of what you're going to get live," he said of the video for the song, which also has a throwback, Police-like vibe to it. "It's very VHS-y. I love that man, it takes me back to my childhood, when the tracking is off and the color is off, there's a beauty in that. You'd have to stand by the TV with, like, aluminum foil all over you."
Timberlake made his granny proud with "Mirrors"
The emotionally rich story line for JT's "Mirrors" follows the ebb and flow of a couple's love over decades. Dedicated to his real-life grandparents, William and Sadie Bomar, who were married for 63 years until William's death in 2012, the clip likely brought many fans close to tears, including someone very near to Justin's heart. "Justin didn't tell me he was doing it [making the video], it was a surprise," Sadie Bomar told Italian weekly Grazia. "I was moved by it, it brings tears to my eyes. It's a lovely tribute to us."
Blame "Blurred Lines" On The Ré my
Thicke's label didn't pay for the now-legendary "Lines" video. The tab was actually picked up by cognac maker Ré my Martin. "As soon as we made the video, all of a sudden everybody got it and immediately everybody thought it was going to be a big hit," Thicke said. "I started to believe in it again once the video was finished."