Welcome, friends, to HitFix's MTV Video Music Awards 2014 live-blog.
Earlier today I was watching FXX's Every Simpsons Ever Marathon and it was the “Homerpalooza” episode, which begins with Homer lamenting that he's no longer hip to the contemporary music scene.
Marge tells him not to worry.
“Record stores have always seemed crazy to me,” she declares. “Music is none of my business.”
Well, music is none of my business. Artists who aren't “American Idol” veterans or who haven't appeared on “American Idol” are none of my business. Actually, I take that back. I also know people who were on “X Factor,” which is why I know who Fifth Harmony and Demi Lovato are.
But with HitFix's actual qualified music staffers doing breakout stories and reviews of performances, I get to do a live-blog even though I know who none of these people are.
Follow along and make fun of my musical ignorance.
But remember… Music is none of my business. MTV and I have that in common.
8:55 p.m. ET. Sorry. That's a lie. I know Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Frankie Grande's Sister and a couple other people.
9:00 p.m. We're getting started with Frankie Grande's Sister. Frankie got to “break” the “news” that she was starting the show on “Big Brother” a couple weeks ago. It was very exciting. I'm told that this is “Break Free” that she's singing. Why doesn't she get to wear one of the see-thru raincoats her dancers are wearing? Unlike the pre-show people, she actually seems to be singing live, or maybe she's just better at lip-synching than Fifth Harmony.
9:02 p.m. We transition into former “American Idol” judge Nicki Minaj's musical tribute to her ass. I wonder what it would take to actually get censored on this telecast. Apparently there are certain words you can't say, but there's no limit to the amount of booty jiggle that MTV will allow. Rita Ora seems vaguely terrified by Minaj's butt and who can blame her?
9:04 p.m. Enter Jessie J, who's rather more powerful than either of her predecessors, though I mostly remember her from that award show that she did on crutches. Ariana Grande seems impressive until she has to sing immediately after Jessie J. In this context, it's like one of these people is a showstopper and the other is a futuristic cheerleader. And then there's Minaj, who has half-changed outfits. I can't tell if maybe Minaj's new outfit was supposed to be somewhat less falling apart and she's trying desperately to keep modesty intact.
9:08 p.m. Who would have guessed the early story of tonight's VMAs would be Nicki Minaj trying NOT to expose herself to America?
9:09 p.m. MTV is making history at the New Forum tonight and Gwen Stefani and Snoop Ferret are giving away the night's first video. Up first? Best Female Video. Like everything else tonight, I assume it's going to Beyonce. The winner… Katy Perry! Whoa. Even Gwen seems shocked. “Everybody say 'Hey what's up, Juicy!'” Katy Perry says, answering my, “Who the heck is that with Katy Perry?” question. It's Juicy J. And he even gets to talk, even though this award is for FEMALE video. My co-workers are not fans of Juicy J.
9:12 p.m. Jay Pharaoh is up next and he has things to say about “Anaconda.” He feels sad that Drake wasn't able to touch Nicki Minaj's butt in the video. He also wants us to know that Frankie Grande's Sister is killing it, but she looks a little young. Tee-hee. Pedophilia humor! “All I'm saying is you need to make a disclosure song,” Jay says. Well that's creepy. Thanks! He's going to be back later.
9:12 p.m. In the All Access Live Control room, we have Victoria Justice. Jay Pharaoh would want you to know that she's legal.
9:20 p.m. Lorde is grateful that Taylor Swift exists. After wearing a romper on the red carpet, Taylor Swift has changed into one of her patented outfits that bare her belly, but not her naval. I'm glad I'm not a parent having to explain to their kids why Taylor Swift doesn't have a belly button. This is a fun song, but her live performance lacks the self-effacing humor of the video, which was truly Taylor Swift at her most human. This is glossier and entertaining, but it's not all about Swift's geekiness.
9:23 p.m. OK! There's the geeky Taylor coming out. I'm not gonna get into the Taylor hating that I know is rampant on the Internet. Her career is genuinely interesting to me, because she's evolved in ways that feel weirdly organic. And, unlikely Miley, she doesn't need to shock us into noticing her.
9:25 p.m. Chelsea Handler is presenting Best Male Video. “Thank you Taylor Swift for being so white,” Chelsea jokes, referencing her desire not to perform after somebody with a big butt. Lord, Chelsea. Not funny. The winner… Ed Sheerhan. I tweeted this earlier, but I need all of you here to know it as well: Ed Sheerhan is Meatball from “Hart of Dixie.” And no, I don't care if you get that reference.
9:27 p.m. I don't know who or what Becky G is. But I loved the moment on the pre-show red carpet where she kicked over to herself.
9:32 p.m. Jay Pharaoh comes out as Jay-Z. He does this well, but I'm not sure this is funny material he's working with. Wait. No. I'm sure. It's not funny material.
9:34 p.m. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are here to remind us that Jeff Daniels is nominated for an Emmy tomorrow. They make a joke about Jim pulling his groin that's the same groin-pulling joke that you've heard over and over in ads for “The League” during the FXX Every Simpsons Ever Marathon. Remember when Jim Carrey used to be awesome at awards shows? They're presenting Pop Video. The winner is… Frankie Grande's Sister! I hope that Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey know that she's legal. She's very excited and chirpy and legal.
9:37 p.m. Kim Kardashian West wants you to know that she's not just about her butt. She's introducing Sam Smith. Apparently they're friends, but I feel like Sam Smith may have deserved somebody more substantive introducing him. I'm OK with Sam Smith, but I don't understand why Robbie Williams has spent 20-something years trying to break in the United States and Sam Smith did it in one shot. [I tweeted this and it turns out that Sam Smith fans are REALLY defensive. Apologies.]
9:46 p.m. It's “Hell on Wheels” star Common! And he's keeping things serious by reminding the audience about Ferguson. “Hip hop has always been about truth and has been a powerful instrument of social change,” he says. He leads a moment of silence for Mike Brown. He's presenting Best Hip Hop Video. Your winner? Absent “DeGrassi” veteran Drake.
9:53 pm. Now Jay Pharaoh is pretending to be Kanye West. I love how when things aren't funny, you can cut over to the Kardashians and they'll be laughing at everything. “My videos cure ALS, y'all,” he says. Oddly, the only time they AREN'T cutting to Kim Kardashian is when Fake Kanye is joking about her. “I just want to say my wife is the smartest person on the planet,” he says. And… No cutaway to Kim.
9:56 p.m. YAY! It's Uzo Aduba, Taylor Schilling and Laverne Cox. WOOT. “The ladies in prison would love this next performer,” Cox says, as they introduce Usher and Nicki Minaj. I was promised Nicki Minaj. None of these people is Nicki Minaj.
10 p.m. There's Nicki Minaj! She's fully clothed and saying a lot of words you can't say on MTV. I like the part where Usher leans down and rams his shoulder into Nicki Minaj's butt, just in case we hadn't noticed.
10:06 p.m. “The Vampire Diaries” star Nina Dobrev and somebody who I'm not looking at are presenting Rock Video. The tool with Nina Dobrev makes a joke about backdoor action and then references his grandmother's birthday. Lorde wins for a song that I wouldn't have guessed was a rock song. “Is there like a specific place I'm supposed to be looking?” Lorde asks. She thanks the people who voted and swears a little.
10:14 p.m. Chloe Grace-Mortez and Dylan O'Brien are here to present the next performance and Jay Pharaoh is researching and he's learning that Chloe is NOT legal. It's 5 Seconds of Summer, a band I'd never heard of before the pre-show.
10:23 p.m. Jay Pharaoh is back. He's got no patter, but he's presenting the Artist to Watch award. The winner 5th Harmony. Win one for “X Factor,” eh? Meanwhile, Melanie Amaro's album still hasn't come out. And Simon Cowell does, indeed, get thanks!
10:27 p.m. And now, an awkwardly wedged-in brief musical tribute to Robin Williams.
10:31 p.m. Is it just me or has this telecast become 75 percent commercials at this point?
10:32 p.m. J-Lo is remarkable.
10:32 p.m. J-Lo is introducing an artist I'm told is Iggy Azalea, who will be accompanied by the only slightly distinguishable Rita Ora. Thanks to J-Lo, I know this song will be called “Black Widow.” If it ever begins. Oh my. I want “Taylor Swift Dancing Cam” as picture-in-picture on EVER show I watch. Nope. I don't get Iggy Azalea. I'm not sure what she's even doing. But Jordin Sparks and Taylor Swift are very pleased.
10:40 p.m. Can't stop staring at Demi Lovato.
10:41 p.m. Maroon 5 is performing outside. When did Maroon 5 just become a Police cover band? I mean… I love the Police, but surely Sting has to get royalties for this? Also, they're totally playing in front of the Miami Marlins' “M.” Get your own font, Levine.
10:45 p.m. TV's Jimmy Fallon is presenting Video of the Year, which he precedes with a cutaway to the Hug Cam, which is the first genuine laugh I've had all show. Then it's the High Five cam. Lorde and Taylor Swift High Five awkwardly, but sweetly.
10:46 p.m. The Video of the Year winner is… Miley Cyrus for “Wrecking Ball.” Well, that's a nice celebration of Terry Richardson. Miley sends a guy named Jesse onto the stage with a speech about homeless youth. He instructs us to go to Miley's Facebook page to make a difference. Miley is crying tears at her statement. And now… discordantly… Back to Maroon 5.
10:53 p.m. I want Beyonce. NOW.
10:54 p.m. BEYONCE! Scary Albino Mannequin People! Strobe Lights! I feel like Beyonce has a pretty clear statement directed at the myriad pop stars who have been trying to draw attention to their rear ends tonight.
11 p.m. I kinda wish this show was just the opening number and then Beyonce.
11:04 p.m. Blue Ivy in the house.
11:05 p.m. Like at this point, the song is nothing but Beyonce pointing to her read and saying, “Do you wanna touch it.”
11:06 p.m. How about letting Beyonce perform a SONG, eh? This is just a dance medley with musical snippets. They did the same thing with Justin Timberlake last year, or whenever that was.
11:07 p.m. Nice shot fired by Beyonce across the bow of the We Don't Need Feminism ninnies.
11:09 p.m. And now, Beyonce's home movies!
11:10 p.m. Beyonce seems to close with a touching tribute to Blue Ivy, but rather than ending the show with Jay-Z holding up his daughter, “Lion King”-style, Beyonce just goes into her next song.
11:12 p.m. Is that it for the show? Jay-Z bring Blue Ivy onto the stage and presents her to Beyonce, along with her Vanguard Award. “I just thank God for this moment. I love y'all so much,” Beyonce says, closing with “Good night.”
11:14 p.m. And that's that.
What'd you like tonight? What'd you hate?