Although billed as the MTV Movie Awards, the music channel still managed to squeeze in a few musical performances in tonight’s the two-hour show…not that the songs had anything remotely to do with the awards. I know it’s a crazy notion, but would it have been so wrong for MTV to have included performances of demographic-appropriate songs featured in some of the nominated movies for performances, such as Paramore’s “Decode” (from “Twilight”) or “Jai Ho” (even the wretched Pussycat Dolls’ westernized version) from “Slumdog Millionaire.” The answer is clearly yes.
Instead, we get performances from Eminem, who’s plugging his new album “Relapse” and Kings of Leon, who add a hipness quotient to the proceedings.
By the way, I considered it cheating to read my colleague Dan Feinberg’s blog of the show, which he did live, whereas I’m watching the West Coast tape delay so I have no idea what he thought of the performances.
First up is Eminem, 23 minutes into the show. With the opening of “We Made You” playing, he’s still riding Jessica Simpson, pretending it’s she instead of Charmagne Tripp singing the chorus (which is the best part of the song, by the way). As much as I disliked “Relapse,” the album which features “We Made You,” the tune is one of the catchier tracks on the CD (and one of the few that Eminem can sing on a TV show).
There is something very compelling about watching Eminem perform. Crouched low, hand wildly gesticulating, he commands every inch of the stage, but is smart enough to put other diversions on stage, such as the partial marching band or his rapping partner, Hypeman Denaun.
In what must be a world record, Eminem makes it a good two minutes before he has to be bleeped as he segues into “Crack a Bottle.” As masterful a live performer as Eminem may be, he can’t save this song. I hadn’t noticed it during “We Made You,” but is he lipsyncing? I didn’t think so at the start, but there are a few times when I still hear his voice, but the microphone is nowhere near his mouth. This segment is mercifully short.
Throughout his performance, the show cuts to various stars in the audience– Paris Hilton, Cameron Diaz, Miley Cyrus-all looking like they should be much more into Eminem than they actually are.
But wait. It turns out Eminem and Kings of Leon aren’t the only musical performers. Here’s LeAnn Rimes singing “I jizz in my pants” as part of a tribute to the music from host Andy Samberg’s digital shorts. Is it a ballsy, so to speak, move or a career killer? My impression is that she’s tired of playing by the rules and any of her fans who may be offended aren’t watching anyway. Chris Isaak sings “Lazy Sunday” as if its straight from a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Then we get Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker delivering a masterful “Dick in a Box.” Pointless, but it woke me up.
Oh, look: there is a best song from a movie category. Again-why not have some of those artists perform? Miley Cyrus wins for “The Climb” from “The Hannah Montana” soundtrack. She’s the first person to thank God, but even God is probably wondering why she’s wearing a dress better suited for someone twice her age.
Now it’s 10:37 p.m. and it’s Kings of Leon’s turn. The Followill boys are performing current hit “Use Somebody.” Unlike Eminem, they seem to be singing live. Oddly, the camera shots stray from the band so much, that it’s distracting. I’m not sure why a shot looking down from the rafters where the band is barely visible is a good choice. Could it be because the performance-as good as they sound-is damn dull? They show way more personality in the MTV promo following their performance where they’re on the golf course than they do during their show appearance.
My award for best musical performance of the night? It came early and it left us wanting more: the Keyboard Cat. Host Andy Samberg teased us with a clip of a piano-playing puss whose music would come on if someone’s acceptance speech ran too long. Oh how we longed for his return. It never came…