Because of the massive thunderstorm rolling across Toronto all Sunday afternoon, whoever was in charge of orchestrating the MuchMusic Video Awards was probably having an anxiety attack like no other. When the weather really started going to shit, the only thing I could think was why the hell anyone – and that includes the teeny-boppers, tweens, star fuckers and gawkers – would stand around getting pissed on for hours in a severe storm?
The jury’s still out on that one, especially when you consider the questionable degree of celebrity appeal that marked the event. I have foggy memories of bygone MMVAs where the show pulled in some top-quality A-listers. The biggest celebrities to make an appearance this year were Mel C, Rihanna, Rainn Wilson (from The Office) and New Kids on the Block, who’ve been on hiatus for so long that half of the audience were still in utero when they were actually bona fide superstars.
The rest ranged from your painfully predictable list of Can-rockers like Sam Roberts, the Trews and Bedouin Soundclash to lesser entities like Simple Plan and the always cringe-worthy Hedley, with their “kooky” and “zany” personalities and “crazy” jokes, in addition to depressing and untalented famous-for-fame’s sake bottom-feeders like Brody Jenner and Kristin Cavallari.
The Paris Hiltons and Fall Out Boys just weren’t there this year, while American talent Flo Rida thought he was at the MTV Awards. Not saying that Canada doesn’t have enough homegrown celebs to wrangle, but when the show is so hyped, you expect a little more glamour, not to mention getting the guests to say some cool, or even semi-interesting shit.
I know it comes with the territory, but the inane banter between some VJs and guests – Dallas Green had to suffer through questions about his homebody tendencies, and hockey player Jason Spezza looked genuinely uncomfortable and confused when asked about athletes and celebrities hooking up, then shot down juicy gossip by saying he was going home to his partner afterwards – was just painful. Truly, truly painful. Some of those kids need to be replaced by VJs who actually have things like, oh, I don’t know, personality and wit.
In the end, the rain kept coming, everything was thoroughly soaked outside, and crews scrambled up the scaffolding of the main stage attempting to direct accumulated water away from the top. Miraculously, none of that really slowed things down.
The show seemed tailored to those of us with the shortest attention spans, but there were still some pretty decent performances by Kardinal Offishall with Akon and a rooftop number by IllScarlet.
This was all, or course, leading up to the show’s biggest selling point – NKOTB’s grand return. Dunno if “grand” is the appropriate word, and the five bad brothers from Beantown got some loud boos from the back, but they did exactly what they should have done, and it was kinda fun. Starting off with a strung-together medley of Step By Step and Hangin’ Tough among others as a kind of “Hey! Remember us?!” intro before launching into their so-so comeback single, the Kids kept it all entertaining.
And, really, when will you ever get another chance to see bad boy Donnie flash his abs while standing in the rain on Queen West on a late Sunday evening? For those few truly surreal moments alone, the night seemed worth it.