MTV, There Needs to Be A Change

There’s not really anything you can ever say to properly capture what happens during MTV’s annual Video Music Awards [VMA’s].

Featured on the last Sunday of August, the VMA’s are a staple in a lot of student’s lives, including those with favorite artists nominated for awards and for those who love a good performance. This year’s VMA’s, however, was cutting off artists left and right to get in commercial breaks.

When MTV first cut off Julia Michaels’ performance, I was completely fine with it. I never really cared for her as a performer, so I wasn’t as bothered with MTV for cutting to commercial break. However, before the commercial break began, an announcer spoke overtop Michaels, leaving me wondering whether they spoke over her for television viewers, or if they actually spoke overtop her mid-performance. I don’t think she even reached the chorus before she was cut off.

Then, each performer that began their set before a commercial break was cut off as well. A speaker would do the same thing that happened to Michaels, discussing what was coming after the commercial break, and then the artist would be cut off.

Viewers had the option to livestream the performance over a laptop or a phone, but if you were watching the VMA’s on television, doesn’t livestreaming on a laptop completely defeat the purpose? You would essentially be watching two separate screens to gain an experience that should have only been on television.

Another thing I noticed was that MTV never cut off an artist with extreme popularity, or cut off Katy Perry as she did not stop talking about something political or her rather annoying space monologues that made absolutely no sense.

But no, Taylor Swift’s new music video premiere for “Look What You Made Me Do,” Kendrick Lamar’s long mash-up of “DNA” and “Humble,” and Lorde’s dance interpretation to “Homemade Dynamite” were given a full opportunity to perform, even if Lorde wasn’t actually singing.
I typically watch the VMA’s for pure enjoyment: to laugh at all the feuds brought to light in rants, to see what artists actually win awards and to see what crazy performances artists bring to the stage. But with all these lesser-known artists being cut off mid-performance, it didn’t give artists the proper opportunity to gain listeners through MTV’s awards show.

With MTV’s reputation as a leading platform for musical artists, one would believe that they would give every artist the opportunity to perform on, arguably, one of the nation’s biggest musical stages. If producers choose to keep turning the VMA’s into a chance for artists to go on political and personal rampages while also cutting off live performances just for the sake of a commercial break, they will lose my viewership as well as many others. Hopefully the feedback from this year’s awards show demonstrates a need for change in next year’s show.

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