How the mighty have fallen

Tinashe Kusema : The Big & Small Screen

There was a time when the mere mention of the word “Moonman” evoked images of splendour and awe. After all, who could forget how names like Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, Miley Cyrus and Diana Ross almost broke the Internet with shenanigans at the MTV Video Music Awards.

For those who are yet to connect the dots, the “Moonman” is the name given to a gong one receives when they win an award at the MTV Video Music Awards.

The aforementioned names not only won the gongs at the show, but have written their names in the annals of MTV Video Music Awards history with their showmanship.

From Lady Gaga’s made-of-meat outfit in 2010, Robin Thicke abusing former child-star Miley Cyrus in 2013 and, of course, Britney Spears and Madonna’s flirtatious performance in 2003, no one really remembers the biggest winners of these particular shows. We only remember these stars.

Shock and awe, they call it.

It is what the Americans have mastered and it is what sets them apart from the rest of the world in terms of entertainment value.

Now, for all the flak I have directed at our own award shows, particularly this year’s editions, I believe it is only just that I shed light on the colossal boob that was this year’s VMAs.

Much like the stars I mentioned earlier, the 2016 edition of the MTV Video Music Awards will forever be remembered as one of the worst.

Yes, Beyonce finally found time between her “hectic schedule” and the cloud she lives on, and actually showed up for the event.

Not only that, she may have been the difference between mediocrity and total disaster as her 14-minute performance of songs from the recently released “Lemonade”, literally saved MTV from total embarrassment.

She lived up to her moniker as “queen” and gave the entire world a lesson in artistic expression. Words alone cannot do justice to her performance and one merely has to see it to believe it.

I for one, am humble enough to admit it when I am wrong.

Beyonce is not overrated or born with a silver spoon. She truly is an artiste in every sense of the word and “Lemonade”, the album, truly deserves every accolade or rave review it has received so far.

So good was her performance that it almost escaped me that she overtook Madonna (20) and now currently has the highest number of “Moonman” awards.

Her eight wins at the August 29 show saw her to a grand total of 24 wins in her career.

Queen B’s mesmerising performance was the only good thing to come of the show though. Kanye West did what Kanye West does best and pulled a “Kanye” on everyone.

Britney Spears tried to mount yet another unsuccessful comeback, her hundredth if I am not mistaken. (Side note, is it me or does Alicia Keys look like an out of time “hippy” these days?)

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are two of my favourite comics right now, but what the hell were they trying to do with their VMA hosting gig.

Their show is one of my few guilty pleasures right now and I find their comic timing and grasp of satire second to none, but having them co-host the show was a totally wrong move.

Add a no-talent hack like DJ Khaled, another no-longer relevant Jay Pharaoh and a nobody like Nicole “something”, as supporting acts and you have a recipe for disaster.

I think the fact I did not bother to try find out who this Nicole really is, let alone her surname, says something about the quality of her work and aforementioned acts’ performances as a whole.

Ms Spears once again treaded the fine line between live performance and lip syncing, and Kanye West basically wasted four minutes of my life, time I will never get back.

Rihanna totally got screwed out of her moment as a recipient of the prestigious Michael Jackson Vanguard Award.

Rather than get her time in the sun, her performances, four in total, were spread throughout the show and her speech was overshadowed by Drake’s childlike introduction.

Now, you might probably be wondering what this has to do with anything. Well, the truth of the matter is that the weakness and strengths of the VMAs can be applied to any awards show.

Their biggest let-downs can best be described thus: context and relevance.

Key and Peele as hosts was OK as they are hot right now; but their co-hosts — specifically DJ Khaled and Jay Pharoah — have not been relevant in years. Decades in Khaled’s case.

Pharoah’s impressions, which for some reason he chose to dust off and use again, are no longer relevant — or funny, for that matter.

Impressionists are now a dime a dozen and never has Pharoah’s lack of range been so evident as at the VMAs.

Let’s face it, audiences are increasingly fickle and there is need for a host who is relevant, in tune with day to day happenings, and with a broad range of material to keep things moving.

It is a problem I have noticed with most hosts, particularly in Zimbabwe.

In many cases, our hosts are robotic. They cannot engage, they cannot entertain, they cannot inform in a pleasant manner befitting the world of TV.

After all, if the VMAs could try out Miley Cyrus as host, why can’t Zima or Nama try out Stunner, Pokello, Soul Jah Love, Fungisai, Bev or Zoey?

What is the worst that could happen?

Here is hoping these things are reaching intended people each time I write them, because come December and most of 2017, I will be watching.

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