Singer Florence Welch, of the British outfit
Even with its arresting mish-mash of blue-skinned, bee-hived dancers and cloaked percussionists grooving through thick plumes of colored smoke and explosions, the video has some tough competition. With Lady Gaga's Internet-stirring "Bad Romance" and comeback king Eminem's "Not Afraid" in the ring, the U.K. newcomers are facing some major competition. But don't count out the Machine, as Welch has turned in a visually arresting clip powered by a seriously booty-quivering beat.
"I wrote 'Dog Days' in a [closet] with my friend Isabella [Summers]. We had no instruments, we banged our hands against the walls. We were using pans as instruments," said Welch, who has promised an "otherworldly" performance of the song on the VMA stage on Sunday. "We did it for fun, and then the video ... I wanted it to be as artistic as possible. It wasn't about being pretty."
Welch, who flits through the video like an avant-garde geisha leading a motley orchestra of instrumentalists until they literally explode, said the video was all about making a statement. "I wanted something that was striking and made me look a bit scary, so for it to be recognized at something as huge as the VMAs is the most incredible thing, and I'm just really grateful for the opportunity to go," Welch said of "Dog Days," which is also up for Best Rock Video, Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography. "It's incredible."
"Dog Days" has been making a lot of noise for the group, who were named one of MTV News' Rock Week Artists to Watch in 2010. The song's high-octane thump rumbled through ads for the Julia Roberts summer hit "Eat Pray Love," and Welch will bring the track's thunderous energy to the VMA stage.
"What we're trying to do is kind of encapsulate the video into a live performance," Welch said recently. "There's a lot of different characters in the video, and so I'm going to be trying to bring some of that. It's just about the energy of the song, for me. It's sort of energy and chaos. There's people, like, actually physically exploding in the video, and hopefully that won't happen. If everyone's really into it, that's fine with me, but we haven't planned it."
Even if Eminem snatches the Video of the Year statue from the Machine, Welch may not feel too bad, since she's also a longtime fan.
"The first single I ever bought was 'The Real Slim Shady,' and my sister said that I should bring it to the VMAs and get him to sign it," Welch said. "That'd be so funny. I'd be like, 'Hi, I bought this from Woolworth's when I was 11, can you sign it for me?' He'd be like, 'What's Woolworth's?' "
What is your favorite Florence and the Machine video? Let us know in the comments below!
The 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday. The party starts with MTV News' VMA Pre-Show at 8 p.m., followed by the main event at 9 p.m. ET.