The MTV Video Music Awards are one of the top award events of the year for the music industry. They have now been awarded every year for more than 25 years. The event has now become as much about recorded music and live performances as it is about the actual videos that are being celebrated. The MTV Video Music Awards have a reputation as one of the most unpredictable and therefore fascinating televised entertainment celebrations of the year. From Britney Spears kissing Madonna to Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift, there always seems to be something to talk about the next day.
My predictions are simply my best guess at the outcome at the time of the awards. Voters ultimately determine the winners. The predicted winner is in bold type along with commentary on each nominee. I make predictions in the top five overall and pop categories. Check out the full list of nominations to see who is up for awards in other categories.
Video Of the Year
- Adele - "Rolling In the Deep" - Few songs in recent years have been as dominant both critically and commercially as Adele's massive hit "Rolling In the Deep" has been this year. The accompaying video is nearly as accomplished as the song. It compellingly illustrates the romantic anguish Adele sings about with powerful, conceptual images.
- Beastie Boys - "Make Some Noise" - The Beastie Boys are this year's sentimental favorite since MTV was instrumental in their commercial breakthrough 25 years ago. Although this clip is fun, it is not a match for Adele.
- Bruno Mars - "Grenade" - The emergence of Bruno Mars as a top level pop performer is one of the key stories of the past year. However, the clip which accompanies "Grenade" is not strong enough to compete for top honors.
- Katy Perry - "Firework" - In most other years Katy Perry's huge self-esteem anthem "Firework" would be a strong bet for victory. It features hundreds of people celebrating their uniqueness, but it still cant' top Adele.
- Tyler, the Creator - "Yonkers" - If the award was given for uniqueness and pure artistic impact, this might indeed win the prize. Whether or not Tyler, the Creator takes home a victory, this is a must-see music video.
Best Female Video
- Adele - "Rolling In the Deep" - Adele should easily walk away with this award, too. She set a very high standard for music videos by female performers.
- Beyonce - "Run the World (Girls)" - Beyonce's single "Run the World (Girls)" was a commercial flop by her usual lofty standards, but the music video, particularly the choreography, is impressive.
- Lady Gaga - "Born This Way" - This does not seem to be Lady Gaga's year at the MTV Awards. The song "Born This Way" is a towering achievement, but the video is not.
- Nicki Minaj - "Super Bass" - "Super Bass" is Nicki Minaj's breakthrough single. If Adele should falter, this clip should be next in line.
- Katy Perry - "Firework" - The music video is a strong one with a cast of hundreds filmed in eastern Europe. However, it doesn't match the power of Adele.
Best Male Video
- Justin Bieber - "U Smile" - This is one of Justin Bieber's weaker efforts. It is simply not in the class of some of the other nominees.
- Eminem - "Love the Way You Lie" featuring Rihanna - Eminem and Rihanna turn in powerful performances on "Love the Way You Lie," but it is the actors playing out the domestic drama that are the true stars of the clip.
- Cee Lo Green - "F**k You!" - The music video for "F**k You!" is a visual treat and perfectly matches the song. It is a mystery why this didn't get a Video of the Year nod, but it should win this category.
- Bruno Mars - "Grenade" - Again there is a sense here that the music video simply doesn't match the power of the song.
- Kanye West featuring Rihanna and Kid Cudi - "All Of the Lights" - This is another towering Kanye West achievement. It should be waiting in the wings should Cee Lo not take home the prize.
Best Pop Video
- Adele - "Rolling In the Deep" - Adele created a pop sensation with this song and music video, but my sense is that another contender in this category truly demonstrated how to make a memorable mainstream pop masterpiece.
- Bruno Mars - "Grenade" - It looks like Bruno Mars will have to be satisfied with many nominations but few awards to take home.
- Katy Perry - "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" - This mini-movie captures so much more pop culture fun than simply the music that gives it a soundtrack. Katy Perry makes an homage to 80s teen movies with the music video for "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" It is a perfect combination of humor and nostalgia.
- Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo, Nayer, and AfroJack - "Give Me Everything" - The song is impressive and was THE pop hit of summer 2011. However, Pitbull's music video for "Give Me Everything" is a rather standard dance pop clip.
- Britney Spears - "Till the World Ends" - Britney Spears delivers a perfect conceptual music video to accompany the hit "Till the World Ends." She has a chance to pull an upset in this category.
Best New Artist
- Big Sean featuring Chris Brown - "My Last" - Big Sean oozes personal charm in this music video. He is unlikely to win, but he is a new artist to keep an eye on.
- Foster the People - "Pumped Up Kicks" - The song "Pumped Up Kicks" is one of the biggest to emerge out of alternative music territory by a new artist in quite some time. The music video, featuring performances and candid film of the band members, matches the mood of the song quite well. It is an effortless celebration of one of the biggest buzz bands of the year.
- Kreayshawn - "Gucci Gucci" - This is a burst of surprising creative, humorous energy. Kreayshawn is certainly in the running for this award. Directing the effort herself, she is a music video talent to watch for the long term.
- Tyler, the Creator - "Yonkers" - In purely creative terms, the "Yonkers" clip perhaps deserves this award. However, it can be difficult to sit through more than once. I think Tyler, the Creator will be edged out for this award by more popular artists.
- Wiz Khalifa - "Black and Yellow" - Wiz Khalifa is one of the top new artists of the year with charisma to burn. However, the music video is a little on the ordinary side.