Who Will Win: When the Video Music Award nominations were announced, the Video of the Year battle seemed designed as a Bey vs. Tay showdown. Six years after Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s best female video acceptance speech on behalf of Beyonce, the two female superstars will square off once again with “7/11” and “Bad Blood,” respectively. And hey, Video Vanguard recipient Kanye West will be back in the building!
MTV VMAs: Here's Our Drinking Game!
To be fair, the Video of the Year category is not just about two videos. Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” and Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” are very clearly dark horses, but don’t count out Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” one of the biggest hits of all time with a stylized visual attached to it. And would either “Alright” or “Thinking Out Loud” winning really be that huge of an upset? Lamar and Sheeran are two of the biggest music stars on the planet; a Video of the Year trophy is hardly an impossibility for either male performer.
In the end, though, Lamar will have to settle with a sharing the most coveted Moonman with Swift. Beyonce already won Video of the Year in 2009, for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”… which was, in all fairness, a more breathtaking music video than “7/11.” Swift has never been the top dog at the VMAs, and her high-action, highly expensive video for “Bad Blood” had something for everyone (literally — everyone had something to do with it). Expect the star-studded “Bad Blood” to win Video of the Year on Sunday night.
Who Should Win: This is highly subjective, of course, and depends on what one bases the concept of ‘Video of the Year’ upon. Is the goofy novelty of Beyonce’s “7/11” clip smile-inducing enough to be the Video of the Year? Or is Swift’s big-budget celebrity parade the must-watch moment of 2015? How about the political righteousness of Lamar, the sleek choreography of Sheeran, or the throwback swagger of “Uptown Funk?” Who deserves to have the “Wrecking Ball” torch passed to them?
In terms of sheer memorability, “Uptown Funk” might have the edge, with the classic 70’s outfits and settings becoming intertwined with the song’s hard-punching funk. Being indelible is not the same as being great, though, and the greatness of the “7/11” video was in its simplicity. Meanwhile, “Bad Blood” provided a rush of excitement, not just because of the spot-the-celebrity game it provided but due to its ambition. And… sorry, Ed, but “Thinking Out Loud” had a good video that did not brush greatness (even the puppet-laden “Sing” video was cooler).
No, the deserving Video of the Year was bursting with ideas, provoked thought and summarized its star’s past struggles by showing him literally floating above the streets that made him who he is. The Video of the Year was astonishingly powerful, from its opening shadows to its unforgettable final frame. Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” clip should win Video of the Year.
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Hey, did you guys hear that Nicki Minaj had a problem with “Anaconda” being snubbed for Video of the Year? Kidding aside, she was 100 percent correct: the “Anaconda” video was just as gleeful as the Sir Mix-a-Lot song the single was based upon.
You have to give it up to Maroon 5 for turning a pretty stale concept (popular band surprises couples at weddings!) into a wholly likable showcase for their best single in years. After the mess of “Animals,” “Sugar” was a huge win for the pop group.
And hey, how cool would it have been to see Chance The Rapper and his cohorts get some MTV love? “Sunday Candy,” from the Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment album Surf, is a wondrous video, and one that deserved to be up there competing with the superstars.