Predictions for the year’s biggest popularity contest


By Shelby Devitt

I stopped believing MTV’s Video Music Awards were a legitimate representation of the art of the music video in 2003 when the video for Missy Elliot’s “Work It” beat out the video for Johnny Cash’s powerful rendition of “Hurt” in the Video of the Year category.

Much like MTV is not really about music, the VMAs are not really about music videos. It has now become a yearly opportunity for shocking celebrity behavior to keep people talking for the next year. Kanye West’s rude interruption of Taylor Swift, Britney and Madonna’s kiss, J Lo’s barely-there green dress—they all occurred at the VMAs.

The process of deciding which music videos are the best is not left to a panel of those who understand film or special effects professionally, but to young people who can vote on their favorites. While giving fans a voice is a nice idea, most of these people don’t know or care what makes a short film great, and just want their favorite artists, who most likely did nothing to create the video, to win.

With that in mind, I give you my picks for what will win tonight at the VMAs, and what probably should instead.

Best Cinematography

Who will win: Coldplay feat. Rihanna, “Princess of China”

Who should win: M.I.A., “Bad Girls” or Lana Del Ray, “Born to Die”

Best Rock Video

Who will win: Coldplay, “Paradise”

Who should win: The Coldplay video is pretty, but I’d say The Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy” should win, because it’s simple, different and the dancing is downright impressive.

Best Hip-Hop Video

Who will win: Nicki Minaj feat. 2 Chainz, “Beez in the Trap,” because the world is a terrible place.

Who should win: Irrelevant, as none of the videos in this category impressed me.

Best Video With a Message

This vaguely titled category is only two years old. While every video has something to communicate to the audience, i.e. a message, I’ve figured MTV means for these videos to have a theme concerning social problems.

Who will win: Lil Wayne, “How to Love”

Who should win: I’d be fine with a Wayne win, but the video for Rise Against’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “Ballad of Hollis Brown” is a well-made short documentary on American poverty, focusing on the issue more than the band, so I believe that should win.

Best New Artist

Despite the ineffable allure of Carly Rae Jepsen and three of the five videos in this category taking place on the beach, I think “We Are Young” by Fun. feat. Janelle Monae will and should win. The slow-motion bar fight scene is much more interesting and well-done than the visual assault of the editing in some of the others.

Video of the Year

Who will win: Katy Perry, “Wide Awake”

Who should win: I would love to see “We Found Love” by Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris or, better yet, M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls” win this category, because both are beautiful videos that provoke thought about women and their relationship with a male-dominated world.