Britney Spears' Train Wreck and the Rest of the MTV Awards PDF Print E-mail
By David Butler - Black College Wire   
Britney Spears, left, needed that shoulder tap.

If you needed a reason to watch the 2007 Video Music Awards on MTV Sept. 9, I have two words for you: Britney Spears. Here are two more words: train wreck.

Spears was the opening act, confirming a rumor that has been floating around since the pop singer announced she was recording a comeback album to be released in November.

She was given a huge benefit of the doubt even before touching the stage. For one, she is a "celebrated" veteran in the music industry. From the "Mickey Mouse Club" to "Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs" club, Spears has had her fair share of the spotlight without any tap on the shoulder, disgruntled face or light whisper in the ear saying, "Hey, maybe you should call it quits."

Secondly, the award show was in Las Vegas. Couldn't anything happen there?

Well, for starters, Spears does need that subtle tap on the shoulder. Honestly. She might even deserve her own scrolling marquee in the middle of Times Square, filled with viewer comments and anonymous celebrity comments. Her performance was horrible! There has been more talent leaked into an intermission of a Trae concert.

It caused a stir in the Palms Casino Resort, where there was a slew of fans and celebs. There might have been a little tension in the air. Kanye West, one of the headline performers and top nominees, was reported to have been slightly perturbed. We can replace "slightly" with "super," and "perturbed" with "pissed."

West was spotted throwing a fit at how MTV was "treating" him. He said MTV allowed him to perform only in the suites of the hotel (where numerous performances were being held) instead of on the main stage. With West being the man of words that he is, when he and 50 Cent presented the "Best Duet Performance Video" award, their introduction was followed by a very short staring contest that one might say 50 won — and utter silence.

During Alicia Keys' performance, rappin' cowboy Kid Rock and super bad boy Tommy Lee got into a scuffle. It is reported that out of nowhere, Kid Rock punched Lee in the mouth, three rows from the main stage. Lee wasn't able to retaliate before security hauled him away. Talk about family problems. Both are ex-husbands of Pamela Anderson. When Jamie Foxx made it to the stage to present an award, he made light of the situation. "Stop all this white-on-white violence," he said.

The night was quite a feast. New heartthrob Chris Brown gave a more than amazing performance. Jumping over and on the tables in the audience, and reinventing the "Billie Jean" performance where Michael Jackson revealed his patented moonwalk, Brown never comes up short.

If you missed any of the action, there is a horde of videos, interviews, stories and even the whole show from beginning to end online. Visit for all the updates.

David Butler, a student at Prairie View A&M University, writes for the Panther. To comment, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Posted Sept. 15, 2007

An MTV Report Card

A critique of MTV Video Music Awards performances:

Nicole Scherzinger featuring Lil' Wayne: "Whatever U Like"

I know she's a Pussycat Doll and they climb walls, but still. Where was boom kat kat when she was planning her dance sequence? Her outfit is great. She prerecorded her vocals . . . and this made me ask how many times is Lil' Wayne going to perform tonight?

Grade: B

Britney Spears: "Gimme More"

First, brush that wig. What happened? For this to be Britney's comeback, it was more like a GO BACK. Go back to where you came from. From the rock you crawled from under. She didn't sing one lyric of this song, or dance one choreographed step. Saying this performance was horrible would be an understatement . . . but it was HORRIBLE.

Her risqu%c3%a9 outfit was nothing new, so she didn't cause too much of a ruckus there, but honestly, her publicists are going to have a lot of explaining to do in the next few weeks. Aren't they supposed to be the ones to tell her whether something is good or bad for her career?

Opening up at the VMA's = a bad career move and more negative publicity.

Grade: WTF

Chris Brown: "Wall to Wall"

By far the best and most creative performance of the night and, if I'm not reaching, the entire year. It is safe to say that Chris Brown, while duly talented, is a dancing machine and continues to push himself to new levels each time he hits the stage. He never ceases to amaze.

Chris Brown, dancing machine
I'm sure we could have all done without the Rihanna interruption unless they were going to do the "Umbrella" remix, but that didn't happen. Brown's Michael Jackson "Billie Jean" routine was great. He has clearly paid close attention to one of the greatest performers of all time.

Grade: A

Rihanna: "Umbrella"

Not sure if we can really call this a performance. Coming on right after Chris Brown made me think they were going to do the remix, but unfortunately, that never happened. She does have good stage presence, but this snippet was a little dark, even for Little Miss Sunshine.

Grade: C

Kanye West: "Tracks from Graduation"

Kanye, marketing genius that he is, partnered with Rhapsody so that he could have his own little listening party that would be broadcast all over the world during the VMAs. Smart Guy.

Even though we didn't get the theatrics that usually come with a Kanye performance, the multi-performance effect did the trick. Giving the audience the Kanye-ified glasses was a nice touch as well. Oh, and paying 50 Cent no mind is always a plus.

Grade: A

Linkin Park, Timbaland: "Bleed It Out"

Party like a rock star, I guess.

Grade: B-

Alicia Keys: "No One?"

One question. Why? Why did they let her get on stage and do this? We all probably agree that Alicia Keys is great on many levels, but has anyone heard this song before? This should be reserved for Sunday mornings only, not Sunday nights in Vegas.

Grade: D

Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado, Timbaland, Keri Hilson

Timbaland is a musical genius and he can clearly headline a concert himself and just feature a who's who of A-list artists. This was a nice way to end the show. Usually there's some rock band screaming while roses or balloons fall from the ceiling; thank heavens they've moved away from that format.

Grade: A

The Award Winners:

Monster Single of the Year: Rhianna, "Umbrella"

Presenters: Eve and Nicole Scherzinger

Quadruple Threat of the Year: Justin Timberlake

Presenters: Jennifer Hudson and Robin Thicke

Most Earth-Shattering Collaboration: Beyonce/Shakira; Beautiful Liar

Presenters: 50 Cent and Kanye West

Comments: Why did 50 Cent play Beyonce when she tried to give him a kiss on the cheek after she gave Kanye one? Blatant disrespect.

Male Artist of the Year: Justin Timberlake

Presenters: The Hill Girls

Female Artist of the Year: Fergie

Presenter: Shia Lebouf

Best Group: Fall Out Boy

Presenters: Entourage Cast

Best New Artist: Gym Class Heroes

Presenters: Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner

Video of the Year: Rihanna, "Umbrella"

Presenters: Mary J. Blidge and Dr. Dre

Overall Grade: B -

Overall, the Video Music Awards this year were good but could have been much better. Although the mini-performances, location (Vegas) and at least one of the main stage performances were great, producers should have thoroughly considered Britney Spears' comeback performance as well as the random Alicia Keys outburst/mistake/performance.

Add the inconsiderate seating arrangements and the questionable award winners, and that makes for a subpar MTV event. Although the 2007 VMAs weren't as hard to watch as the BET awards, MTV still needs to watch some of its old VMA productions and come back stronger and harder in the '08.

Sakita Holley, a student at Howard University, writes for the Hilltop. To comment, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Posted Sept. 15, 2007

Posted Sep. 15, 2007
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