In an era of declining television ratings across the board, MTV earned the highest-ever viewership numbers for a Video Music Awards that included:
- Lady Gaga dressed in character as her “male alter ego,” who looks like he should be in Sha Na Na. Controversial!
- A lifetime achievement award going to Britney Spears.
- No host.
- Lots of cutaway shots to Taylor Lautner.
- Justin Bieber prominently involved and looking like this:
- Aging comedic actors posing as Beastie Boys, but no actual Beastie Boys to be found anywhere.
- Lady-beater Chris Brown covering the Wu-tang Clan for some reason?
- Enough flashing lights to give even 12-year-olds seizures.
- Jessie J as the “house singer” playing us to commercial breaks wearing a cast on her foot and sitting down and generally being irrelevant.
Keep in mind that this is the same program that once featured Pearl Jam performing “Rockin’ in the Free World” with Neil Young. Pop culture has AIDS, indeed.