Controversy has long been the cornerstone of the MTV Video Music Awards. Whether it’s in the form of a ridiculous outfit (see meat dress and/or sequined nipple star) or a comedian’s low-blow of a joke, the program has always trafficked in fodder for next-day conversation. The event is also an annual hot bed for hotheaded stars, with egos so enormous it seems difficult to just fit them all in a room together and the results can range from a passing of the pop princess torch via a slobbery make-out session to a temper tantrum about who “had one of the best videos of all time.”

It’s usually easy to predict who each year’s class clown will be. Last year’s Gaga-thon (she arrived on the red carpet in a pod and hatched with horns on her head) was preceded by enough hype to almost overshadow the fact that when she debuted “Born This Way” it sounded strikingly similar to a Madonna song.

Nicki Minaj could definitely out-outrageous Lil’ Kim’s 1999 outfit, though it’s almost criminal that Minaj is not scheduled to perform “Super Bass,” one of the summer’s hottest tunes. Instead, Minaj is scheduled to appear as part of a star-studded tribute to Britney Spears. The other stars reportedly also include Madonna and Janet Jackson. Seriously? Spears is not even 30 and she has these legendary elder stateswomen of pop paying tribute to her? This really lends credence to the possibility that MTV and Spears entered into some sort of unconditional VMA support pact several years ago that the network just cannot get out of!

Odd Future, who are also presenters, seem like they could pull a stunt in the punk tradition of Rage Against the Machine in 2000, when bassist Tim Commerford climbed up on the backdrop of the stage and refused to get down. Odd Future leader Tyler the Creator seems to have similar disregard for musicians he doesn’t like.


Why won’t the performers be shocking? Well, they’re all great (most notably Beyonce, Adele and Bruno Mars) but none of them seem likely to buck the system. Lil Wayne is definitely capable of creating controversy, but he has performed at the VMAs before, and he didn’t do anything crazy then.

Chris Brown is scheduled to perform, which calls into question an industry that still allows him to be famous, but his actual creative expression is not likely to merit much discussion for its edginess, since he has too much at stake.

Tony Bennett is scheduled to do a tribute to Amy Winehouse? That’s just shocking in all of the wrong ways.

And though Lady Gaga is scheduled to open the show, will she realistically be able to eclipse her rebirth of 2010? It would seem then that either newbies Pitbull and Young the Giant are really the biggest contenders for shock and/or awe or that one of the winners will do something surprising at the podium. Either way, we’ll be unable to turn away as we hope for something as amazing as a meat dress.

Here is a look back at our coverage for the past few years. If you are having difficulty reading these stories, and would like to see them in a larger format, click here.

Of course the one time I attend the red carpet arrivals, Kanye West has
to go and interrupt Taylor Swift while I filed remotely. Though this is
not mentioned in the story, it did make the cover of that edition.

The meat dress was not mentioned in this story, because it was not immediately apparent that her dress was made of dead animals.

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