2009 Video Music Awards
Venue: Radio City Music Hall
City: New York, NY
Date: September 13, 2009
Video of the Year: Beyoncé "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)"
2009 Video Music Awards Summary
MTV promised the stars would align at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, but they didn't warn us that those stars would go all super nova and explode among the New York City skyscrapers in a brilliant homecoming full of music, mayhem, and jaw-dropping moments.
A tribute to Michael Jackson kicked off the show. Madonna gave a moving speech about the King of Pop, but the homage didnt end there. Janet Jackson burst onstage to perform "Scream," the duet she and Michael recorded together in 1995. Janet matched footage of brothers dancing in the music video move-for-move as it played on a screen behind her. It was the crowning moment of the all-star tribute.
Then Russell Brand, our raunchy master of ceremonies for the second year in a row, made his way to the stage like a rock god as Katy Perry and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry played "We Will Rock You." The hosts opening monologue was nearly as explosive as the pyrotechnics in his entrance. The brassy comic kept the censors busy with an opening monologue full of f-bombs, hermaphrodites, U.S. healthcare insults and indecent proposals to just about every woman in the audience.
But the MTV Video Music Awards arent just about offensive jokes. We returned to Radio City Music Hall to celebrate the music. So the 2009 show got busy handing out the Moonmen. The nights first award was given for Best Female Video, and this became the most offensive, talked-about moment of the night.
When country music darling Taylor Swift took the prize over seeming favorite-to-win Beyoncé, Kanye West took the microphone from a bewildered Swift mid-speech and said, "I'm really happy for you, I'm gonna let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time." With boos from the crowd, a shocked Beyoncé and a near-tears Taylor, Kanye hopped off the stage.
Never fear! Swift wasnt too upset to take to the 42nd Street subway station and prove why she deserved that Best Female Video Moonman. She shimmied from a train full of fans to the hood of a taxi outside Radio City all while singing "You Belong With Me."
And the beat goes on, all night in fact, thanks to Wale and the house band who were joined by 3OH!3, Pitbull, members of the All-American Rejects and Kid Cudi to rock out between award presentations and main performances.
The Best Pop Video award went to Britney Spears over BeyoncéKanye did not object as he was nowhere near the building at that point. And T.I. won Best Male Video, over Kanye West, for "Live Your Life." Lucky thing Ye left when he did.
Next, Green Day, who took home Best Rock Video for "21 Guns," brought the rock energy to near lethal levels with their no-frills rip through "East Jesus Nowhere." Not to be bested, P!nk strapped on a blindfold and was lifted up to the rafters of Radio City for a Cirque du Soleil-esque take on "Sober." The white-haired belter performed acrobatic spins, flips and pirouettes while suspended by a high wire.
Beyoncé worked it to "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" with a crew of more than two dozen dancers wearing similar, though less bedazzled, leotards like their Fierce leader. They all hair flopped and karate chopped their way through the complex, often-imitated choreography in unison. That really roused the crowd.
And Jay-Z ended the night's performances with "Empire State of Mind." Backed by Alicia Keys at a piano decorated with the NYC skyline and towering neon images of the city scrolling behind him, Jay owned the stage with just a microphone and his swagger. Americas Best Dance Crew judge Lil Mama was so moved by the performance that she pulled a Kanye and rushed the stage during the song. Now thats commanding an audience.
But Jay wasnt the only hip-hop legend on deck that night. Eminem didnt rap but he was all over the show. After years out of the spotlight, Shady performed in a couple of spoofs with Tracy Morgan from "30 Rock" and Cyndi Lauper, and he won Best Hip-Hop Video for "We Made You."
Em even presented the Best New Artist award to Lady Gaga, who accepted her prize in a red lace dress and matching mask that made her look like Bart Simpson with red hair. And that was only one of several outfits Gaga flaunted throughout the night. The singer's costume changes weren't nearly as shocking as her VMA performance of "Paparazzi" which ended with Gaga bloodied and dangling from the ceiling.
As spectacular of a show as Gaga put on, the night beloned to Beyoncé. If Kanye had a little more patience he would have seen B receive the Video of the Year prize for "Single Ladies." When she took the stage to accept, instead of giving a speech, B invited Taylor Swift on stage to have her moment uninterrupted. Who says the VMAs cant be classy?
And just because we like to come full circle at MTV, the ceremony closed with a peek at Michael Jacksons "This Is It" documentary. If youre looking for more closure than that, sorry, we still have no idea if Katy Perry accepted Brands show-ending offer to join him in his room. We do know everyone who was at Radio City went home happy Sunday night. Well, not Kanye.
2009 VMA Winners
Video of the Year
- Britney Spears - Womanizer
- Eminem - We Made You
- Kanye West - Love Lockdown
- Lady Gaga - Poker Face
Best New Artist
- 3OH!3 - Don't Trust Me
- Asher Roth - I Love College
- Drake - Best I Ever Had
- Kid Cudi - Day N' Nite
Best Hip-Hop Video
- Asher Roth - I Love College
- Flo Rida - Right Round
- Jay-Z - D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)
- Kanye West - Love Lockdown
Best Male Video
T.I. f/ Rihanna
Best Pop Video
Best Rock Video
Best Female Video
Best Video (That Should Have Won A Moonman)
Best Art Direction
Best Special Effects
2009 VMA Performances
Janet Jackson "Michael Jackson Tribute"
Katy Perry "We Will Rock You"
Taylor Swift "You Belong With Me"
3Oh!3 "Don't Trust Me"
Lady Gaga "Paparazzi"
Wale "Viva La Vida"
Green Day "East Jesus Nowhere"
Pitbull "I Know You Want Me"
Beyoncé "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)"
The All-American Rejects "Gives You Hell"
Wale "Pretty Girls"
Jay-Z "Empire State Of Mind"
2009 VMA Photos
2009 VMA Video
VMA All-Star Music Video Remixes Check out what these VMA-winning artists did to refresh some of their biggest hits.