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.

Best Looking Female Celebrity: Adele and Beyonce, who revealed her baby bump at the end of her performance.

Worst Looking Female Celebrity: Nicki Minaj, who looked like she rolled around in a flea market and then had a parrot crap on her head. Clearly, she wants to mimic Lady Gaga. Clearly, she failed. Runner Up: Jersey Shore’s Deena Nicole Cortese.

Best LeeLoo impersonation: Jessie J, who also wins the Super Trooper award, who performed the nominated songs during the intros and outros to commercials, while wearing a cast on her leg. Unfortunately for many of the artists, she performed their songs better than they did (cough – Katy Perry – cough).

Best Male Performance: Bruno Mars and his tribute to Amy Winehouse.

Best Performance From A Tiny Stage: Young The Giant performs “My Body” while maintaining their balance.

Next – pics from the stage and the red carpet!

Autotune King Lil Wayne

Russell Brand

Joe Calderone and terrified/confused Vanguard Winner Britney Spears

Video of the Year winner Katy Perry

Best Male Video winner Justin Bieber

Host/non-host Kevin Hart

Tony Bennett, who opened the Amy Winehouse tribute

Demi Lovato and Chord Overstreet

Jay-Z and Kanye West

Britney Spears 

Taylor Lautner

Rapper Game

Justin Bieber

Katy Perry

Russell Brand

Nicki Minaj

Miley Cyrus

Seth Rogen

Jake Busey

Tyler Hoehchlin

Colton Haynes

Tyler Posey

Deena Nicole Cortese

Pete Wentz


Bonnie McKee

Snooki and Pauly DelVecchio


Rapper Rick Ross

Jessie J

Ace Hood, Rapper Rick Ross, and DJ Khaled

Busta Rhymes

Drake Bell

Dylan O’Brien


Paul Rudd

Katie Holmes

Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato

Jonah Hill