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Arts and Entertainment

MTV's Video Awards 2006: Craptacular! at the Disco

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Even though they have every record company at their beck and call, even though they can basically hand-pick the performers and the songs that they will play, MTV's Video Music Awards are usually hit-or-miss and as comfortable as watching Michael Jackson try to make out with Lisa Marie Presley.

Last night's ceremony was no exception with generous parts cringe and a sprinkle of inspiration. Christina, Justin, and Jack Black were talented and wonderful, as expected. But Ludacris has never been a strong performer and couldn't hold our attention despite being flanked by Pharrell and a dozen booty girls (including the Pussycat Dolls) shaking they moneymakers.

And why diss the Pussycat Dolls? They had two hits in the top ten, they're gorgeous, and they have a new tune with Snoop Dogg, who was in attendance (that would have made a great performance).

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Sarah Silverman, who's usually pretty awesome, fell flat with her jabs at easy targets like Lance Bass being gay and Paris Hilton being skinny. That's all you got Sarah? Or was she pre-censored by MTV, keeping her banter bland?

In all of rock, MTV chose to have All-American Rejects play live? Axl W. Rose was in the house and even presented, would it kill you to have the Guns singer sing a little something? How about bringing back a chestnut to tease for the most-anticipated follow-up since Third Stage, by doing "Patience" with, oh, Jack White, who was right there on stage?

Speaking of Jack White, having The Raconteurs as the house band was an upgrade, and inviting Lou Reed to perfom the Velvet Underground classic "White Light / White Heat" only drove home the sad state of music when bands like Panic! at the Disco sell records and win moonmen. The Velvets didn't have a chance in the 60s, and would have had even less of a chance today.

The fact that there wasn't one edgy performer all night was a disgrace, and proof that corporate video awards still suck. Lou Reed was correct when he asked for rock 'n' roll on the station: "two guitars, bass and drums." AFI was in the house and even won, they would have been a far more exciting performance than AAR.

As for the milquetoast: Shakira was good, the Jackass boys were good, Beyonce was eh, Missy Elliot in that garbage bag was truly embarrassing, and TI was horrible.

MTV figured out a way to put a wet towel on OK Go's ridiculously entertaining treadmill choreography by insisting on sticking to the 4-cuts-a-second formula, even though the beauty of the band's last two videos has been their use of a single, fixed camera.

But the best moment of the night came when a young man jumped on stage during the Video of the Year presentation to complain that MTV never gave him a show. With allegedly 30 cameras in the house, where was the footage of him getting roughed up by the security guards and then arrested as the credits rolled?

And please, someone explain how John Norris continues to be a presence on the music channel that has severed ties with every other VJ in its past. This old, fugly, high-pitched know-nothing? This is your franchise, MTV? All the VJs in your history, and Norris remains your go-to guy for your big show year after year? He has photos of MTV execs with nude boys... admit it.

And you can stop putting a microphone in 50 Cent's hand unless he's mumbling his little songs? The banter between him and LL was embarrassing.

Finally, not taking advantage and making the event into some lucky spoiled girl's Super Sweet 16 was a big mistake. Or was last night nothing more than a continuance of the charade that MTV plays music any more?

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If so, it explains why the pretty boys and those in top hats won over the likes of Gnarls Barkley, who had a far better song and video this year.

Defamer, you didn't miss a thing.

AP photo by Jason DeCrow

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