The 2014 MTV Video Music Awards nominees are out, and Beyonce is leading the way with eight of her own. But which categories will she win? Eminem and Iggy Azalea are on her heels with seven. But is Azalea's “Fancy” a good video on it's face?
HitFix crits Melinda Newman, Louis Virtel and Katie Hasty tackle three questions with three very different answers on the VMAs below, like… will we ever see Lady Gaga in the count again?
Beyonce leads all nominees with eight. How many will she go home with?
Melinda Newman: To paraphrase “The Sound of Music”: How do you solve a problem like Azalea? Bey may have the most nominations, but Iggy Azalea is hot on her trail with seven and they face off in a number of key categories including video of the year, best female video, and best collaboration. The winners are fan voted, so it will depend upon how actively the Beyhive buzzes for their Queen, but I predict Bey will go home with no more than 3 Moon Men.
Louis Virtel: It is unthinkable that Beyonce would somehow go home with fewer than five awards. In fact, I look at these nominations and my first thought is, “Well, Beyonce must be coming to the ceremony.” For that reason alone, she should sweep. She'll definitely pick up Video of the Year, becoming only the third act to pick up the honor for the second time (after Eminem and Rihanna). I'll say she takes home six overall, mostly in hopes that she loses the Director award to OK Go's gonzo good time “The Writing's on the Wall” and the Video With a Message award to Beyonce's personal Salieri, Kelly Rowland for “Dirty Laundry.”
Katie Hasty: The 2014 VMAs are one of the earliest mainstream and fan-voted shows to be able to publicly congratulate Beyonce on her self-titled album and all its music videos. You can bet her fans will jump at the opportunity to support. There's three different flavors — “Drunk in Love,” “Partition” and “Pretty Hurts” — so if voters are less enthusiastic about one track, they can always hop on another (sorry 'bout your “Dark Horse,” Katy Perry). If the BET Awards this year are any indication, Beyonce will go home with at least half. I think the technical categories will be her toughest races.
Why did the VMAs show no love for Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, and One Direction?
Newman: Lady Gaga can”t catch a break this year from anyone, so it”s no surprise that the VMAs, who anointed her their new overlord only a few years ago, have abandoned her, even though “Applause” is a better video than many of the nominated clips. Spears” only real shot was with “Work Bitch,” a video that burned brightly for a mili-second, despite her awkward dance moves, before sputtering out. What really stunned me is that One Direction”s video for “Story of My Life,” a song they debuted on last year”s awards, got not love.
Virtel: First of all, Lady Gaga performed “Applause” at last year's event and One Direction won an award for potentially their worst song to date, “Best Song Ever.” They've had their biennial VMA moments. I'm surprised not to see the lush, grotesque “G.U.Y.” anywhere among the nominees, but I'm sure Gaga will be back next year with more poppy art. As for Britney, “Work B**ch” is her most songless jam ever (and yes, I remember “Me Against the Music”) and certainly her worst music video too. Ugh, that song! It's like four minutes of DJ Pauly D's favorite ringtone or something.
Hasty: A lot of more old-guard (ha!) hip-hop and R&B guys like John Legend, Usher, Chris Brown, Pharrell, Kanye and Eminem are still around, but it's really hard for pop stars — and maybe especially female pop stars — to stick. There's a lot of new faces in the crowd like Iggy Azalea, Ariana Grande and Lorde who are the new guard for radio pop, and Spears and Gaga didn't have top-tenners that compared to their previous work. One Direction's hope is that they and their fanbase cease to age.
Which nominated video is vastly overrated?
Newman: DJ Snake and Lil Jon”s video for “Turn Down For What,” with its magical crotches and bouncing breasts and reliance on regular people instead of models admittedly has some creativity and it”s certainly unlike any other nominated video, but I don”t need to see that dancing trouser snake or balloon breasts with a life of their own ever again.
Virtel: I'm still not over Justin Timberlake's windfall last year. His music videos are just Armani Exchange advertorials as far as I'm concerned. For me, the overrated video of 2014 is “Fancy,” which basically recreates scenes from “Clueless” — down to exact recreations of costumes, hairstyles, and sets — without commenting on the film at all. So what's the point, Iggy? It reminds me of when “Glee,” uh, “parodied” Madonna's “Vogue” early on. Who cares that you can recreate an iconic video? Yes, we all remember “Vogue” and “Clueless.” If all you do is dish out familiar, nostalgic images without putting on a twist on them, you're not being interesting. You're being a Buzzfeed article, and you'd rather be cool than any good.
Hasty: Oh, “Wrecking Ball,” you were popular because Miley was naked. It's a pile of Terry Richardson's ego meeting the need for a Hot 100 hit to go viral on YouTube. Objectively, it's a terrible thing, whether art or entertainment.