One day, all awards shows will see the light.
This Sunday marks the MTV Video Music Awards, taking place at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. But if you were concerned that the host was going to ruin a perfectly pleasant evening of performances, ridiculous rants (hello Kanye!) and water-cooler moments (NewsFeed is still talking about Madonna writhing around on stage to Like A Virgin) then fear not: there won’t be one at all.
Billboard kind of got the scoop after an interview with Amy Doyle, MTV executive VP for Music and Talent, and executive producer of the awards show. Initially, Doyle said that, “It’s going down to the wire. Hosting is such a unique element. We feel we got it right by putting new talent on the stage like Chelsea (Handler) and Russell (Brand). We’re really challenging ourselves to find the right person so that the show feels complete.”
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But since the interview took place, MTV has decided to go with no host. In truth, it doesn’t really represent much of a gamble, because aside from the opening monologue (and Brand’s efforts, for example, did not go down well with many when he was in charge of proceedings), the host seems to be more on the periphery, there to introduce other guest hosts or performances. Playing devil’s advocate, however, it would be remiss to not point out that last year’s show, featuring chat show host Chelsea Handler at the helm and Lady Gaga in a meat dress, delivered MTV’s biggest audience for any telecast over the previous nine years.
What we do know for sure is that eight or nine performances will take place on Sunday from the likes of Gaga, Adele, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Young The Giant and Bruno Mars. For some reason, Britney Spears will receive a tribute. Then again, if Reese Witherspoon can get a lifetime achievement award, why not?
But the showstopping segment of the entire show is expected to be the late Amy Winehouse being honored by, among others, the legendary crooner Tony Bennett. There are rumors that both Gaga and Adele will be involved but, according to Rolling Stone, Bennett is to introduce video footage from the pair’s recording session in London earlier this year (they collaborated on a track called “Body and Soul” from his forthcoming Duets II album, which is out on September 20). “It was a thrill to record with Amy Winehouse and when you listen to the recording of “Body and Soul,” it is a testament to her artistic genius and her brilliance as one of the most honest musicians I have ever known,” he said in a statement.
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The Winehouse family appear onboard with what MTV’s doing as father Mitch said they’re “honored that the VMA’s are giving Amy this wonderful tribute. We know that Amy’s performance of “Rehab” at the MTV Movie Awards played an important part in Amy’s worldwide success.”
It’s clear that looking back will be an integral part of this year’s VMA’s. But if the decision to do without a host is deemed a success then MTV may also be pointing to the future.