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A$AP Rocky apologizes for VMA weirdness with Jason Collins

With all the twerking and *NSYNC reuniting going on at the MTV Video Music Awards, it was easy to overlook one of the stranger moments of the night.

During the introduction of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ performance of “Same Love,” A$AP Rocky took the stage with openly gay NBA player Jason Collins. Before throwing to Macklemore, Collins talked about his decision to come out, how it matched up with his grandmother’s work with the civil rights movement, and how stars like Macklemore were standing up for gay rights.

Once he was done, Rocky spoke up, and his delivery was… awkward. After plugging cohort A$AP Ferg’s new album Trap Lord, he stumbled through his introduction of Macklemore. “This next artist is a good friend of mine,” Rocky said. “He stands up for everything he believe in as far as everybody being equal—color, homosexuality.” After that, Rocky’s gestures and the look on his face seemed to say that he didn’t realize he was even in the shot, and the whole thing generally felt uncomfortable.

“I’m mad that my facial expressions was like that because I’m not homophobic at all, and that whole thing just came off real homophobic,” Rocky told The Stashed. “I didn’t really notice it until I got home and saw it. I apologize to Jason for that, because people was laughing and s—, and you know… I really don’t think that’s funny. I saw they were making all the memes and pictures and making fun of him. There’s people out there that think I was doing that to be funny, and truthfully I got gay people in my family.”

He also noted that he was unsure what MTV was going for with the pairing. “I don’t give a f— if you gay or you not, I just found it odd that MTV wanted to stand me next to this n—- when they are talking about gay people, that’s all. You know what I’m saying?” Presumably they wanted Macklemore’s biggest TV performance yet to get the endorsement of a New York-based chart-topping rapper, so Rocky should feel good about being the gatekeeper for hip-hop cred.

What did you think of A$AP Rocky’s moment with Jason Collins at the VMAs? Did it seem odd to you, or were you too traumatized by foam fingers to notice?

Miley Cyrus on her VMA performance: I was trying to make history -- VIDEO


Miley Cyrus: Pop pioneer?

That’s the vibe The Artist Formerly Known as Hannah Montana was going for at last month’s Video Music Awards, according to Miley herself. “Every VMA performance, anyone that performs, that’s what you’re looking for,” Cyrus tells an MTV documentary crew in a newly-released clip, looking much less wild than she did while grinding against Robin Thicke.  (Her tongue is barely even visible!)

“You’re wanting to make history,” the pop tart continued. “Me and Robin the whole time said, ‘You know we’re about to make history right now.’”


Miley Cyrus triumphed at the VMAs -- but where does she go from here?

From where I sat—in front of a screen, reading Twitter—it was as if I could see the Miley Cyrus backlash building in real time, as delighted though distanced cataloging of Miley’s outrageousness gave way to critiques of her hip hop appropriations. (You might’ve seen something different depending on who you follow, or whether you bother with Twitter at all.)

Jon Caramanica of the New York Times posted an early thoughtful response on Sunday night, calling the performance a “clumsy white appropriation of black culture.” The next morning, Jody Rosen at Vulture wrote that Miley’s “act tipped over into what we may as well just call racism,” specifically mentioning the “thickly-set African-American” dancer whose behind Cyrus slapped and stuck her face in. By lunchtime, the idea that Miley has a “race problem” surfaced on the Huffington Post, where Kia Makarechi quoted Caramanica and Rosen and cited widely-quoted comments of Miley’s, like the one where she said she wanted to make music that “sounds black.”

Naturally, as a pop music nerd with progressive political opinions, I loved all this debate. But after all is said and done—and this being Tuesday, it mostly is—I have to agree with Adam Lambert, who last night asked, “Why is everyone spazzing?” I wasn’t entirely comfortable with how the aforementioned dancer came off, almost like a prop.

At the same time, I can’t fault Miley for including a black dancer in her act. She should just remember that it’s only her own ass that she has the right to use as a disembodied object.


Miley Cyrus at the VMAs: A Loved It/Loathed It debate

Was the former Hannah Montana’s appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night an envelope-pushing masterpiece or a deranged teddy bear orgy? With 48 hours to digest, Kyle Anderson and Darren Franich debate.

KYLE ANDERSON: Going into Sunday night’s VMAs, Miley Cyrus was on a roll: Her single “We Can’t Stop” had been on the Hot 100 for 11 weeks, and she had just announced the release date of her new album Bangerz. The conversation over the video for “We Can’t Stop” — which has been viewed over 157 million times on YouTube — has been at a fever pitch for the bulk of the summer, and Cyrus seemed primed to make a big splash on her biggest stage yet.

What could have been a major transition moment in Cyrus’ career turned into a circus sideshow, and now the only thing people will remember about her for the next news cycle is how she masturbated a foam finger in front of millions of people. What we got was a desperate stab at “adulthood” at best and a reasonable exhibit A for strengthening indecency laws at worst. Darren, give me a reason (or several reasons) not to think this performance was a disaster.

DARREN FRANICH: Here’s one reason: The gigantic teddy bear with a Geordi LaForge visor. Here’s fifty more reasons: The dancing pink teddy bears that flanked Miley while she initiated an event that was less a musical performance than a carefully-choreographed cartoon orgy. READ FULL STORY

Post VMAs sales spikes: Justin Timberlake and NSYNC top the list

Though NSYNC were only reunited for a total of 110 seconds during Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards, that was enough to get the long-dormant boy band back into the zeitgeist—and into the virtual wallets of music fans.

Justin Timberlake and his compatriots were among the biggest sales victors coming off the VMAs, which don’t tend to provide the same kind of spike as the Grammys but can definitely still make an impact: The NSYNC hits compilation Greatest Hits shot into the top 30 on the iTunes Albums chart in the wake of the combo’s performance of “Girlfriend” and “Bye Bye Bye” on MTV’s big show.

And while Timberlake’s current album The 20/20 Experience has been a top 10 staple on iTunes since its release, Sunday night’s show clearly boosted preorders of the forthcoming The 20/20 Experience: 2 of 2, which is one of three preorders currently sitting in the top 20. (The others are Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz and Katy Perry’s Prism; Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP rests just outside that space at 21.) READ FULL STORY

MTV VMAs 2013: 10 things you didn't see on TV

Another MTV Video Music Awards is in the rearview, and this year brought us Katy Perry’s boxing pantomime, Lady Gaga’s seashells in the flesh, and Justin Timberlake’s 20 minutes of magic.

But not every great moment was found by the television cameras, which is why EW was inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to watch what happened in between, and to take notes while wiping away the sweat caused by Drake’s pyrotechnics. Check out some highlights from the view inside the building.

1. DJ Cassidy provided the pre-show and between-segment entertainment inside the Barclays Center, and while nobody cared much about him as they were taking their seats, he accidentally inspired some of the night’s biggest reactions. Case in point: During one commercial break, he spun Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” which inspired a pretty intense singalong even as the show was coming back on the air.

2. The stage crew working the MTV VMAs were super busy, as always: They hustled to deconstruct Lady Gaga’s elaborate set following her show-opening performance, and had to build what was essentially an entire third stage—the one that the other four members of NSYNC emerged from—over the course of a single commercial break. (It was mostly seamless.) READ FULL STORY

VMAs 2013: Katy Perry jumps rope in a boxing ring under the Brooklyn Bridge

Hey, did you guys know that the MTV VMAs were in Brooklyn this year? If not, Katy Perry made sure to drive the point home by performing at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge to close out the show. Brooklyn!

Dressed in a tiger-print sports bra and full boxer regalia, Perry stood in the middle of a boxing ring and performed her new single “Roar.” The airy outdoor setting gave Perry lots of space to work with, and she certainly took advantage of it: She jumped, she boxed, she jumped rope. Clearly, her shorts weren’t the only thing on fire.

It’s hard to say how much of a boost she got from that bridge beautifully lit up behind her like the world’s most expensive setpiece, but it certainly felt like one of the night’s stronger performances — and perhaps more entertaining than Lady Gaga’s opener. But that’s just our opinion — do you guys agree? Watch the video below for a refresher: READ FULL STORY

VMAs 2013: Yep -- Justin Timberlake reunited with NSYNC

So, it finally happened: The boys got back together.

We’re talking about NSYNC, of course. After getting introduced by Jimmy Fallon as “the President of Pop,” the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award-winning Justin Timberlake took the stage for a career retrospective of his solo work beginning with (a seemingly pretaped) “Take Back the Night,” “SexyBack” into a super medley of “Like I Love You,” “My Love,” “Cry Me a River,” “Senorita,” “Rock Your Body,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” and “Pusher Love.” (Because of audio issues, unfortunately, it also sounded at home like it was “being played through a kazoo,” as one EW commenter put it).

Either way, that was all just a prelude to the real treat of seeing the other four members of your favorite late-nineties/early-aughts boy band ascend from underneath the stage. Together with JT, the boys-to-thirtysomething-men took everyone down memory lane with truncated performances of “Girlfriend” and “Bye Bye Bye” — with original choreography!

But the fun couldn’t last forever, and soon Justin sent the four tag-alongs back underground from whence they came.


VMAs 2013: Lady Gaga opens the show -- how did she do?

Going into tonight’s VMAs, there was one narrative that ran through pretty much every pre-game conversation: how would Lady Gaga’s handle her opening duties, and how would it stack up to Katy Perry’s closing gig?

Well, now we know at least half of that equation. With a closeup of her face surrounded by white poster board, Gaga kicked the ceremony off in an operatic and characteristically kooky fashion. The camera zoomed out to reveal her dressed as a sort of cubist nun, the first of many costumes for the next few minutes.


VMAs: The 2013 Winner's List

Tonight’s Moon Man recipients are (via real-time updates):

Best Collaboration: Pink feat. Nate Ruess, “Just Give Me a Reason”

Best Rock Video: Thirty Seconds to Mars, “Up in the Air”

Best Pop Video: Selena Gomez, “Come and Get It”

Best Hip-Hop Video: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, “Can’t Hold Us”

Best Female Video: Taylor Swift, “I Knew You Were Trouble”

Best Video with a Social Message: Macklemore & Ryan Lewsi feat. Mary Lambert “Same Love”

Video Vanguard Award: Justin Timberlake

Artist to Watch: Austin Mahone

Best Male Video: Bruno Mars, “Locked Out of Heaven”

Video of the Year: Justin Timberlake, “Mirrors”

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