2014 VMAs Underwhelm Compared to Past Years

I never thought I would say this, but I miss Miley Cyrus’s infamous twerking extravaganza from last year.

While the performance was in bad taste, it gave the rest of the world something to talk about until the next year’s VMAs.  Unfortunately, people will probably still be talking about it because the 2014 VMAs left us little to discuss.

The MTV Video Music Awards used to be the most unpredictable night of the year, from eccentric guests (Courtney Love, Madonna, Guns N Roses, etc) to crazy performances (every Britney Spears one) to those truly WTF moments (Rose McGowan’s dress, Kanye’s “Imma let you finish, but…”).  And while this year definitely had some interesting occurrences (we’ll get to that), something was just missing, and Jennifer Lopez’s expression the entire night sums it up perfectly.

Ariana Grande, Jessie J, Nicki Minaj perform at MTV VMAs 2014

Ariana Grande, Jessie J, Nicki Minaj perform at MTV VMAs 2014

Ariana Grande, Jessie J, and Nicki Minaj opened the 31st annual awards ceremony. Ariana sang beautifully without any vocal backup, souding like the second coming of Christina Aguilera or Mariah Carey.  Jessie J sounded incredible as well, but Nicki Minaj clashed with the other two’s soulful vibe.  Her “Anaconda” rendition may have everyone talking about her booty, but her performance was all her rear end and not much substance.  There are only so many times she can twerk without losing her shock value.

The Carters (Blue Ivy, Jay-Z, Beyonce) share an intimate moment presenting the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award

The Carters share an intimate moment presenting the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award

The other performances of the night went well, but were not particularly memorable.  Taylor Swift was cute in her retro-themed “Shake It Off” performance; Sam Smith let his voice speak for itself with his rendition of “Stay With Me”; Usher went Latin in “Believe Me,” but it was not until Beyoncé’s highly anticipated performance for her Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award that the energy rose in the auditorium again.  Beyoncé brought her A-game per usual, but it was the tender moment of a teary-eyed Beyoncé with her daughter and husband that immortalized the performance (see it here).

Common asks for Moment of Silence for Michael Brown

Common asks for Moment of Silence for Michael Brown

If anything, the 2014 VMAs was a show dedicated to social awareness.  Common beautifully spoke to the audience about the continuing conflict in Ferguson, Missouri, and asked for a brief moment of silence in honor of slain teen Mike Brown. “Hip hop has always been about truth… [it] has always presented a voice for the revolution,” he said.  Miley Cyrus’s Video of the Year acceptance speech stole the show as her friend Jesse, a homeless youth in the LA area, gave a public service announcement about America’s homeless youth as Miley watched in tears.  After reading her explanation, we should all be appreciative that she used her exposure for a cause she truly cares about.

Lorde wins Best Rock Video at 2014 VMAs

Lorde wins Best Rock Video at 2014 VMAs

MTV played it safe with its nominees and winners as usual, but rock enthusiasts are and rightly should be offended that Lorde won Best Rock Video for “Royals.” Lorde is wonderful and outstandingly awesome, but her music is not rock–it’s alternative pop at most.  Of all of the great rock videos nominated and should-have-been (Linkin Park, Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, Imagine DragonsThe Pretty Reckless, Arcade Fire and more!), how could MTV could make such an error?

Overall, the 2014 VMAs were not a total disaster, but not one for the history books.

What did you think of the VMAs this year?  Tell us in the comments and check out the full list of winners here!


  1. Wakana Narisako

    August 26, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    I was rooting so hard for Arctic Monkeys…and to lose to Lorde is such a slap in the face!

    • Lauren Silvestri

      August 26, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      Me too! And I don’t understand why Jack Black, Arcade Fire or The Pretty Reckless were not nominated.

  2. Devon O'Connor

    August 26, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Jessie J killed it! She always does <3

  3. Pingback: Our Top 8 Beyoncé Moments EVER - Rock On Philly

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