About the Show

Sunday, August 29, 2004

For 20 years, the VMAs were held in New York or Los Angeles -- save for the 1986 show that added London, Miami and New Haven, Connecticut, to the mix. The 20th anniversary show was a chance to mix things up, so we took the show south to sunny Miami.

For the first time in VMA history, there was no host. Apparently, repeated calls to four-time VMA host Arsenio Hall were not returned. Similarly, three-timer Chris Rock was "in the bathroom." It was like, days. We were starting to worry. So, we decided to go hostless. It was pretty freeing, actually.

So, we're in a new venue -- Miami's American Airlines Arena -- and it's got the coolest thing that New York and L.A. never offered: a marina! Seeing an opportunity, a host of celebrities eschewed the usual limousine arrival, opting instead for a a nautical arrival. There was a brief "mine is bigger than yours" moment, when Usher showed up bragging about the size of his yacht. But, he was upstaged minutes later by Diddy, who sailed up in a craft the size of a small third-world country and worth 17 times as much. Point: Diddy.

Inside the arena, OutKast and Jay-Z tied for the most awards of the night -- four apiece. Among its honors, OutKast's "Hey Ya" took the Best Hip Hop Video and Video of the Year trophies (the duo of Andre 3000 and Big Boi laid out a swell medley performance of "Prototype/The Way You Move/Hey Ya/Ghetto Musick"). Meanwhile, Jigga's "99 Problems" nabbed the Moonmen for Best Rap Video and Best Direction.

Maroon 5 was named Best New Artist for "This Love," officially giving lead singer Adam Levine the power to date every woman in Hollywood. It's a perk he's invoked repeatedly since.

The 2004 VMAs also saw the introduction of a new category, Best Video Game Soundtrack, which went to Tony Hawk's Underground.

Suitably, the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards went a little nuts right in the pre-show. During a red carpet interview, Marilyn Manson was asked how he got to the show. Most expected to hear about his dinghy, but Manson instead offered, "I rode Mandy Moore." Oh my.

The show also saw actor Matthew Lillard (of Scooby Doo and Scream fame) crowd-surf on an inflatable raft, as well as performances by Usher, Lil Jon and Ludacris ("Yeah"), Petey Pablo, Yellowcard, Hoobastank, Jet, Kanye West with Chaka Khan, Terror Squad featuring Fat Joe, Lil Jon and Tha East Side Boyz, Ying Yang Twins, Jessica Simpson, Christina Aguilera and Nelly, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder and Lenny Kravitz and The Polyphonic Spree. Take that, Miami!

In a symbolic gesture, comedian Dave Chappelle presented a gold watch to Jay-Z, who had officially announced his retirement from recording and performing. Some didn't think that the life of record executive would be enough for Jigga, posing preposterous speculation that he would one day un-retire. Only time would tell ...