Now that Kanye West's latest outburst is behind us, what else happened at the MTV Video Music Awards last night? Oh yeah, there were (planned) dramatic performances, a fashion faux pas or two and — surprisingly — a rather tame second-time bow by host Russell Brand. Think you saw it all? Read on for a glimpse of what they didn't show on TV:
Other than Lady Gaga's impending appearance, which everyone anticipated would raise eyebrows, the talk of the red carpet was evenly split between Michael Jackson worship and New Moon curiosity. Of the latter, Death Cab For Cutie's Nick Harmer offered some insight into "Meet Me on the Equinox," a song the band is contributing to the second Twilight soundtrack. "We didn't watch a scene for the film and write a song based on that scene," he explained. "It was more about finding the right song from some we had put aside to gestate or save for a future album, then looking over the themes of the books and polishing. It certainly fits the overall tone of [New Moon]."
Also on the Twilight tip, Paramore's Hayley Williams had her own advice for Death Cab. "They should get ready because it's about to get crazy," she offered when asked if Paramore's fanbase grew significantly since their involvement with the franchise. "I notice that a lot of older women are all of a sudden really gung ho about Paramore. It's been nice to watch it grow and have these people discover the music on their own."
Speaking of trailers, the other big premiere was, of course, Michael Jackson's This Is It documentary. Tour choreographer Travis Payne, who's involved in the film's production, told RS that he had just arrived from editing suite and was absolutely floored by the footage. "It chronicles everything we did from April to June 2009," he said. "You'll see a master of his craft having his process and arriving at the place that he wanted the world to see." Payne was also a guiding force in Janet Jackson's opening number, which he said they rehearsed for "about two weeks" mostly in Los Angeles. After all was said and done, Payne's take was, "She did it right and I'm proud of her."
Rumors of a Madonna introduction were running rampant early on in the evening, but while her Madgesty never made it to the carpet, a host of fashion-forward female artists — you could even say disciples — " did. Chief among them: Katy Perry, whose dress adorned with dangerous-looking silver spikes was her way of playing defense. "Well, as a single woman in New York City, I want to be a smart woman," she said while minding not to stab people squeezing by â€" like actress Faye Dunaway, who stopped and chatted with Perry. MTV Awards shows are old hat for Perry, who last year hosted MTV Europe's version of the VMAs. "It's weird when you're in the States and you kind of know everyone â€" your friends are in the audience and people you admire," she recalled. "When I hosted, it was a whole different world. I could do anything. I didn't know anyone."
Perry ended up performing before Lady Gaga, but Nelly Furtado called the night for the Fame singer early: "This is Lady Gaga's year. She's fabulous, puts 150 percent into everything she does, and pop music needs that. She's creative, glamorous, a risk taker and fearless."
To that end, artists going up against Gaga in the VMA categories weren't optimistic about their chances. Kid Cudi, who appeared on the 2008 show with DJ AM and performed a tribute to the late DJ last night, put his chances at nabbing the Best New Artist Moonman at "slim to none," while Asher Roth's jokey take was, "There's five people in there, so I've got a 20 percent chance."
With fall right around the corner, the VMAs certainly had its share of artists with albums to promote. Jennifer Lopez is readying a new Pharrell Williams-produced single called "Lola," which features Pitbull. The two recently wrapped a video which he described as "an upscale Eyes Wide Shutâ€¦ where my role is being taken advantage of by these beautiful women who are, like, massaging me." J Lo, too? "No!," he jumped. "You're gonna get me in trouble with Marc!"
Ne-Yo, meanwhile, has been all kinds of busy working on albums other than his own. The hitmaker told RS he will be executive producer on Jennifer Hudson's new album, and he's also been in the studio with Rihanna. "She has a lot of stuff to say and she's making no apologies," he said of Rihanna's new songs.
Among the last to stop by our little corner of the carpet, just below the MTV stage where on air personality Sway did his thang, was Pink accompanied by on-again-off-again husband Carey Hart. Having only recently arrived, it had just registered that she and Shakira were wearing the same dress. "She's hotter," Pink remarked, in all seriousness. Was the in-your-face rocker (who's surprisingly adept at acrobatics) pissed? "No," she said. "I think it's hilarious."