So you think you can shock? Prizes take backseat at VMAs

So you think you can shock? Prizes take backseat at VMAs

2013 VMAs: Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus perform at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn, New York. Photo: Associated Press

By Piya Sinha-Roy

INGLEWOOD Calif. (Reuters) – Blood, buttocks, snakes and angry rants are just some of the surprises served up by the MTV Video Music Awards over the last three decades, and as Sunday’s ceremony looms, there is stiff competition to deliver the show’s next most outrageous stunt.

R&B star Beyoncé and newcomer rapper Iggy Azalea lead the nominees at the Video Music Awards, or VMAs, with eight nods each, and winners will receive the “Moonman” statuettes at the newly renovated Forum arena in Inglewood, California.

But the night is rarely about the winners – rather, all eyes will be on the performances and the surprises.

Since launching in 1984, Viacom Inc-owned MTV’s VMAs is synonymous with irreverence and unscripted moments.

Key moments include Howard Stern baring his derriere as “Fartman” in 1992, Britney Spears’ sultry dance with a snake in 2001, and 2009’s eventful show where Lady Gaga smeared blood on herself and a ranting Kanye West ripped Taylor Swift’s award out of her hand onstage.

Last year, pop star Miley Cyrus became the talk around water coolers after thrusting her latex lingerie-clad “twerking” dance moves both on stage and into the zeitgeist during a raunchy performance of “Blurred Lines” with Robin Thicke.

With Cyrus in attendance but not scheduled to perform, the achievement of 2014’s most talked-about VMA moment is up for grabs to the boldest competitor.

“Every artist looks at the VMAs as one of the most competitive live performance moments, where everybody really brings their A-game and comes to own the night,” said Amy Doyle, executive producer of the live telecast ceremony.

“Knowing that a lot of historical music moments are made on this stage, they want to be part of VMA history,” she said.

R&B star Beyoncé, who last stole the VMA spotlight in 2011 when she revealed her baby bump on stage, is vying to outdo herself this year with “one of the most ambitious” performances the show has hosted, Doyle teased.

“She will be doing something that no other artist has ever tried to do before,” Doyle said.

With a line-up of performances from Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, this year’s show is also dominated by the ladies of pop music, reflecting a growing prominence of solo female talent in the current music industry.

“Females are definitely making the most interesting music in the pop-sphere right now,” said 22-year-old British singer Charli XCX, who is nominated in the Artist to Watch category and will perform her hit song “Boom Clap” at the pre-show.

“Women strive to control their own careers now and change the way people view them in the pop industry, and I think that’s amazing because it’s hard to be a woman in this industry.”

(Editing by Eric Kelsey and Gunna Dickson)

Latest Stories

in Music

Adele announces tour


Adele, whose latest album "25" has smashed sales records in its first week of release, announced on Thursday she would begin a 15-week concert tour.

in Music

Eagles confirm musical plans


The veteran rockers are pressing ahead with plans for a Broadway musical centered around their iconic song "Hotel California."

in Entertainment

‘Mortdecai,’ ‘American Ultra’ among the year’s biggest box office flops


The list of this year's most disappointing box office performers is out.

in Music

Unsolved: 6 rockers and rappers whose deaths remain a mystery


These six unsolved deaths bring the ugly underbelly of the music industry to the surface. We pair each artist with their swan song hit.