About the Show

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Hosted by Russell Brand

MTV delivered on its pledge of pandemonium and delivered a hot Hollywood night of music, mayhem, and even more music at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards.

The show opened with a camera-ready Britney Spears prepping for what would become her official reintroduction to the world, coached by Superbad star Jonah Hill, before she made her glittery, glammer-than-ever grand entrance, looking like the hottest Britney we've seen in years.

Russell BrandBritish actor/comedian Russell Brand brought his raunchy, wild-haired brand of comedy to Hollywood's Paramount Studios to host the VMAs. He stirred up substantial controversy by delving into politics and sex, calling out the Jonas Brothers' purity rings and virginity vow and throwing his support behind U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama while disparaging sitting president George W. Bush -- all within in his opening monologue. Yikes!

But the MTV Video Music Awards were all about the music. And the 2008 show got freaky with Rihanna's Thriller-inspired performance of "Disturbia," haunted by dancing zombies, with a side of "Seven Nation Army" on sample.

Meanwhile, the Jonas Brothers sat out on the stoop of their fake Brooklyn brownstone for what at first looked like a laidback live version of "Lovebug," until the set broke apart – pure movie magic! -- and hundreds of screaming OJD-crazed fans rushed the set while the Jonas Brothers rocked. Pink slid down a silk scarf from the fire escape of a lookalike New York City apartment building, kicked an ill-placed guy down some fake subway stairs, played with perfectly timed fire, and nearly let a nip slip in her performance of "So What." And Paramore blew out the walls of the Whisky -- which turned out to be the VMA main stage -- for their VMA rendition of "Misery Business."

The 2008 VMAs also featured live performances by T.I., who doubled up by delivering his new song "Live Your Life," featuring Rihanna, after performing "Whatever You Like" on the back lot. And a caped Christina Aguilera got futuro-goth in her debut performance of "Keeps Getting Better" and a dance-your-ass-off remix of her classic smash, "Genie In a Bottle."

And though he previously swore off MTV, the always-controversial Kanye West closed the 2008 VMAs with an epic new song, "Love Lockdown," in front of a breathtaking backdrop of cinematic sky, live drummers, flashing lights and fireworks.

Or if that weren't enough music for the VMAs, Kid Rock – in a velour tracksuit -- performed his hot-weather hit, "All Summer Long," with a lil help from Lil Wayne. Leona Lewis belted out the haunting hook from "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," while Weezy, with his pants sagging well below his waistline, performed a show-stopping medley of "Don't Get It/A Milli/Got Money" with help from T-Pain.

Between performances, house band TRVSDJAM -- a mash-up of Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and turntablist DJ AM -- laid down the beats during collaborations with Katy Perry (who caught her coyly peeling a sequined banana from the bust of her costume during "Like a Virgin"?), LL Cool J, Lupe Fiasco and Matthew Santos, and the Ting Tings, who also kept the party going when they played the official VMA post-party.

But don't forget that the "A" in VMAs stands for "Awards," and Britney Spears trumped everyone when she won three. The comeback kid – whom Russell Brand referred to as the female Christ -- triumphed by winning her first VMAs ever in a long and illustrious career of 19 nominations since 1999. And she won some big ones: Best Female Video, Best Pop Video and the coveted Video of the Year award, all for "Piece of Me."

German heartthrobs Tokio Hotel won the fan-voted Best New Artist honor for "Ready, Set, Go!," and rapt fans who tuned in at home got to catch a glimpse of the Kaulitz brothers, Gustav and Georg playing "Rock Band" with Miley Cyrus. Chris Brown took the Best Male Video Moonman for "With You," but he tipped his hat to nominee Lil Wayne. Linkin Park won the Best Rock Video VMA for "Shadow of the Day," directed by their own Joe Hahn. Lindsay Lohan and a stunning Ciara introduced the Best Dancing In a Video Award (earlier that night America's Best Dance Crew alums Fanny Pak and Kaba Modern dueled in a dance-off at the VMA pre-show), which went to the Pussycat Dolls for "When I Grow Up." And the Best Hip Hop Video honor went to Lil Wayne for "Lollipop," tying up the Moonmen handed out during the 2008 VMAs.

And besides all the VMA all-star attendees who filled up the seats in the audience, an A-list crop of sexy stars handed out the awards and introduced the performances. Among the presenters were Miley Cyrus, Paris Hilton, Kobe Bryant, Lauren Conrad and Gossip Girl star Chace Crawford, Jordin Sparks, Jamie Foxx, High School Musicial 3 stars Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Corbin Bleu and Ashley Tisdale, Shia LaBeouf, Lindsay Lohan, Ciara, Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, Taylor Swift, Christopher "McLovin" Mintz-Plasse and Slipknot, The Hills' Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, Ashlee Simpson, Pete Wentz, Slash, Danity Kane, Drake Bell and Josh Peck. But no presenters stirred up more controversy that night than when Twilight cast members Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, and Cam Gigandet unexpectedly got cut off by VMA host Russell Brand, inciting online hysteria from the Twilight community.

To end the show, a radiant, smiling Britney, holding a Moonman, and host Russell Brand drove off to Kanye's performance in a golf cart.

So, the 2008 VMAs may be over, but you can still check out all the highlights – the over-the-top entrances, Britney's comeback and big moments, Russell Brand's rips, live performances, acceptance speeches, OMG/WTF moments, red carpet fashion and more -- right here.