MTV Video Music Awards 2013: 10 Things You Didn’t See On TV

VMA Cops
VMA Cops

The VMAs descended upon Brooklyn New York, bringing legions of folks from the surrounding neighborhood to the corners surrounding Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues hopeful to catch a glimpse of some of music’s biggest stars. 

I happen to live nearby, and it was quite surreal seeing the intersection of Dean St. (with its trusty bike path) and 6th avenue completely cloaked in red carpet. The area surrounding the Barclays Center was alive and buzzing with activity the whole week leading up the broadcast, with trucks coming in and out of the area delivering a seemingly endless amount of set material and supplies, and stormtrooper-like legions of black shirt clad production crews bustling around the area making sure everything was just right.

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1. Gatherings of onlookers were first sighted a block over at Carlton Avenue, where (judging from the shrieking fans) a trailer housing Austin Mahone was parked. Continuing onwards towards the press check-in on Atlantic Avenue, throngs of onlookers crowded the barricades set up in front of Atlantic Center, shouts and screams coming from 6th avenue as the stars began to arrive.

2. Once inside with credentials in hand, I then ventured back outside the Barclays Center and managed to find a comfortable spot behind the cameras amidst all of the red carpet chaos.

3. Folks hung outside of their windows to watch from the building on the southeast corner of Dean and 6th, and on the northeast corner there were some lucky enough to watch the entire spectacle from the comfort of their roofs. You couldn’t ask for a better perch.

4. Golf carts were used to whisk artists like Ariana Grande who were involved in the production, to and from wardrobe and their next even.

5. Cops were everywhere and security was tight. These guys were involved with the counterterrorism unit, spoke frequently with a senior handlebar-mustashed man (who I inferred to be their chief), and weren’t too kind to being photographed.

6. Not being able to get inside the Barclays Center didn't stop these folks who brought their enormous flatscreen TV into the street from enjoying the VMAs.

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Back in the press room after the broadcast started, several artists stopped by to exchange a few words.

7. Legendary producer Nile Rodgers, who has worked with the likes of David Bowie, Madonna and Michael Jackson, visited the press room shortly after announcing the winner of best female video with collaborators Pharrell Williams and Daft Punk. He spoke briefly about a recent (Aug. 19) charity event he held in the Hamptons, which he said was “a tremendous success,” and of future collaborations with Adam Lambert, Avicii, and electropop band Mystery Skulls.

8. Austin Mahone, who rocked the red carpet with Ariana Grande during the VMAs pre-show, won the fan-voted Artist To Watch award which he said “feels amazing, the best day ever." Performing and winning an award? "I couldn’t ask for a better night.” He added, “I actually remember when I was supposed to be doing my homework and studying for a test staying up late to watch the VMAs instead, so it’s amazing to be on the other side for once.” His favorite performance, he said, was Kanye West’s “Blood on the Leaves.”

9. T-Boz and Chilli of TLC, who earlier introduced Drake’s performance, described their involvement in the upcoming VH1 film "Crazysexycool: The TLC Story." “"e’ve been hands on since the script process, very hands on with the director who texts us every other day, we’re very involved with this movie - it’s our project,” T-Boz told the room. Chilli said that if it ever made sense, they would consider collaborating with the other singers (Lil Mama) who are present in the film. On new material, they spoke of the amount of hours they’ve spent in the studio (T-Boz hadn’t even heard of baby North, much to the amusement of the press room) and spoke of new songs “MTB” or “Meant To Be” that they worked on with Ne-Yo and “Posh Life” that was written by Lady Gaga. Gaga, T-Boz said, is very high energy. “We went to the studio to meet her, and I didn’t know how much of a TLC fan she was. I was like, really? So that’s just amazing, you never know who likes you because I was floored, I was amazed she was such a big TLC fan.”

10. Selena Gomez, who won early in the VMA broadcast for best pop video (beating Miley Cyrus) said she loved Miley’s performance. “Amazing, I thought it was awesome, and I love Robin Thicke too so I liked that they collabed.” Macklemore, who won big for best cinematography, best video With "A Social Message," and best hip-hop video joked that they are contractually obligated to sell one of their VMAs to Drake (for 200 million Canadian dollars, or Loonies as Ryan Lewis clarified), and shared his feelings about winning. “How it feels? It feels amazing. Out of all of them, “Same Love” hit my heart tonight. That is a moment I never dreamed I would be on stage accepting an award, any of these awards, but in particular for that song, it means a lot. It’s much bigger than the music, it’s equality.”