At one point, the MTV Music Video Awards was appointment viewing. The whole thing was completely unpredictable, a festival of big music stars behaving badly–or, at the very least, weirdly. Now, though, the event is just a yawn, another sanitized awards show.
Last night’s broadcast was rather dismal and probably won’t reverse the ratings slide. Leading into the gig, viewership had declined 50% over three years.
Part of the problem is a lack of star power. Pop stars seem more disposable than ever before. With the exception of a few of last night’s performers (Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna’s somewhat self-centered tribute to Aretha Franklin), the big stars were nowhere to be seen. It was kind of embarrassing, really. And there were plenty of empty seats at Radio City Music Hall, too.
Producers would have killed to have Drake there last night, given the insanity of the Kiki Challenge and how important an artist he’s become, but he was back home in Toronto busy canceling a show at the Scotiabank Centre. (He did make a visit to an adorable 11-year-old awaiting a heart transplant, so give him points for that.)
Another issue is that the golden age of the music video has been over for a long time. And who goes to MTV to watch videos, anyone? No one. All the network has to offer is Jersey Shore-style lifestyle programming.
What does that say about MTV’s influence these days? And how many Gen Z kids–the demographic target of the MMVAs–are even watching TV these days?
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