2011 MTV Video Music Awards: Just Shut Up and Sing

They should have let Jo Calderone host the 2011 Video Music Awards. After all, it was only when Joe/AKA Lady Gaga was on stage that the show actually worked – outside the actual performances that is, which were mostly pretty great.

Lady Gaga as Jo Calderone

(all photos Getty Images)

But whether it was Nicki Minaj and Jonah Hill attempting to be funny, Britney Spears doing nothing to alleviate her reputation for oddness, or a dreadful Beastie Boys from the future intro, everything that wasn’t singing was mostly flat out bad.

On one hand, the show, which didn’t have a host outside of Kevin Hart trying to do some comedy, relied on the talents of folks who are singers and not actors. On the other hand, they are supposed to be performers and a little stage patter shouldn’t be beyond their abilities, all evidence to the contrary.

That being said, Lady Gaga performing as Jo Calderone, Beyonce, Young the Giant, NeYo/Pitbull, Bruno Mars performing “Valerie” as a tribute to Amy Winehouse, and especially Adele were simply sensational. The show worked when the singers simply sang.

The night had both highs and lows in terms of GLBT content. The high included pretty much every time Lady Gaga was on stage, but especially her acceptance speech for Best Female Video for “Born This Way.” Meanwhile, it was disappointing to see the homophobic Tyler the Creator take home Best New Artist.

While it’s hard to argue with Katy Perry‘s “Firework” taking Best Video of the Year, it was hard not to be disappointed for Adele, especially after Perry accepted her award wearing what looked like a giant piece of cheese on her head.

Here are some of the best and worst moments of the night, and a whole slew of pictures!

Best Moment: Gaga winning for Best Female Video (although we still say Joe looks like Glenn Scarpelli after a bender).

Worst Moment: Tyler the Creator winning Best New Artist.

Best Performance: Adele performing “Someone Like You.” No autotune, no gimmicks, no spasmic dancing. Just a beautiful voice.

Worst Performance: Chris Brown‘s bizarre dance/acrobat tribute to … something, that included Nirvana‘s “Smell Like Teen Spirit.” Unfortunately the wires weren’t leftovers from Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark.

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