No Lady Gaga at MTV VMAs

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a Lady Gaga album. Maybe even two, though I didn’t pay for them (it wasn’t covered in the divorce settlement).
So, I’ll admit listening to her music, but I really don’t need to see her in a dress constructed entirely of pig entrails or a blood-red Queen of Hearts outfit from “Alice in Wonderland.”
Thankfully, the bizarre singer-songwriter was nowhere to be seen at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night. Instead, performing, presenting, and accepting the award for Best Female Video was a “man” named Jo Calderone.
I began to have flashbacks of when I was 6 years old and forced to try on a Rainbow Brite dress for my cousin, Jill, who was about the same size I was.
Looking like an extra from the movie “Grease” crossed with Al Pacino’s “Scarface” character Tony Montana, Calderone opened the show by smoking a cigarette and reciting a five-minute diatribe about nothing in a half-hearted Bronx accent.

Lady Gaga as Jo Calderone

Lady Gaga performs at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles. (Matt Sayles / Associated Press)

The awkwardness ended — almost — when (s)he bellied up to the piano and performed Gaga’s hit “You And I” (I’ll be the first to say she’s a quality singer-songwriter-dancer) with help from legendary Queen guitarist Brian May.
Then the (accidental) laughs came.
At one point during the performance, Gaga/Calderone stood on the piano and poured a bottle of beer on the floor. The camera shot changed just as she appeared to slip and fall on the spilled beer. The shot changed back a few seconds later as the singer got up off the ground.
The VMAs always have given way to the strange and provided a unique twist compared to the stereotypical awards show. This is Hollywood, not Ken Buehler at the Kitchi Gammi Club.
Coming in a close second for strangest was Katy Perry, who wore a hat that only could be described as a giant cheese cube — nothing to do with the Packers — atop her pink hair.
Lady Gaga wasn’t the only one who left the show with a bump.
Best New Artist went to 20-year-old hip-hop performer and producer Tyler, The Creator. While going to accept his award, Tyler jumped on stage and injured his foot. He confirmed it later in the night on Twitter. I’d give you his Twitter handle, but I can’t print it. It contains a word he said several times during his mostly bleeped-out acceptance speech.
The network’s annual event honors the year’s “best” music videos, which is funny considering MTV — it removed “Music Television” from its logo a while back — barely has room to cram videos onto its airwaves between episodes of “Teen Mom,” “Jersey Shore” and “16 and Pregnant.”
But with each year, even as the credibility of the award itself has increased, so, too, has that high-school-cool-kids’-table feel that tortures viewers.
Except they must be masochists, because a record 12.4 million watched, including me.
Next year I wouldn’t mind seeing Lady Gaga back at the show, only as a woman. I have a Rainbow Brite dress she can borrow.

Jimmy Bellamy is the multimedia editor at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minn. Contact him at (218) 723-5390 or jbellamy@duluthnews.com. This column originally appeared here.

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