MTV Video Music Awards Performances: The Hits and Misses


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On Sunday (Aug. 25) night, some of music’s biggest stars landed in Brooklyn, New York for the MTV Video Music Awards. The big budget performances featured wild effects and surprises.  Justin Timberlake brought sexy back and also dusted off ‘N Sync. Katy Perry entered a boxing ring. Kanye West created his own forest.

But were they worth their weight in hype? Check out our list of the hits and misses of the VMAs.

Justin Timberlake Brings ‘N Sync Back

Hit or Miss: Hit

Lord knows there were millions of fans that let out a collective squeal when rumors first broke earlier this week of Justin Timberlake potentially bringing out ‘N Sync for the VMAs. At first it seemed like a pipe dream, at best. But the whispers grew louder. Then the fellas added to the noise by joining Twitter on Saturday (Aug. 24). It all culminated with them, yes, hitting the stage alongside JT. Justin, the evening’s Michael Jackson Vanguard Award winner, brought the boys out after he performed a hearty medley of his solo hits. Then the ‘N Sync boys (clearly men now) rose from beneath the stage to sing “Girlfriend” and “Bye Bye Bye.” It was brief, but sweet. Comedian Kevin Hart would later joke that the guys looked a bit rusty, winded even. Still, it was a major moment.

Drake: Started with a Snoozer, Then He Rapped

Hit or Miss: Miss

It’s not that Drake was bad, per se. He just wasn’t that entertaining. He began his set seated with a cloud backdrop that mirrored his “Nothing Was The Same” album cover and sang (a rarity for the rapper live) his groovy ‘80s-vibey new single “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” The effort was valiant, but not dynamic. By the time he got to his livelier smash “Started from the Bottom,” it was too late to grab the TV audience back. Though a load of pyrotechnics tried.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert and J-Hud

Hit or Miss: Hit

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s set was stirring. With U.S. flags hanging around their stage, the duo, singer Mary Lambert and a full band thoughtfully performed their opus for human rights and marriage equality, “Same Love.” What took the performance over the top, however, was a guest appearance by soul singer Jennifer Hudson—who came out to sing the second hook and then go back and forth with Lambert to wrap the offering and take a bow.

Kanye West: Woodland Vigilante

Hit or Miss: Miss

Artistically, Kanye West’s performance was a dark beauty. He ran through the first half of his “Yeezus” cut “Blood on the Leaves.” West appeared as a shadowy silhouette in a murky forest, spastically singing his ass off via Auto-Tune. So what’s to gripe about? Well, fans watching couldn’t tell if Kanye was truly present on stage at all, or if MTV was just playing a prerecorded clip. That is, until the lights came and he was standing front and center. It was cool. People just didn’t “get” it, which is kind of important some times.

Page 2: Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and More

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