MTV Video Music Awards 2004 Re-Cap

By on September 15, 2004

The MTV network brought its annual Video Music Awards to Miami, Fla. last month, with music’s best and brightest participating in a live telecast of the awards show on Aug. 29 from the American Airlines Arena. The gala event, usually held in New York City, began with its “Pre-Show by the Shore,” where artists, performers, and guests arrived in style on various nautical vehicles, to strut their stuff on the red carpet.

The pre-show featured performances by recording artists Jadakiss, Ashlee Simpson, and New Found Glory. The first awards of the night were announced for winners in technical categories: Best Direction (Mark Romanek for Jay-Z’s “99 Problems”), Best Choreography (Fatima Robinson for Black Eyed Peas’ “Hey Mama”), Best Special Effects (Outkast – “Hey Ya”), Best Art Direction (Eric Beauchamp for Outkast’s “Hey Ya,”) Best Editing (Robert Duffy for Jay-Z’s “99 Problems,” and Best Cinematography (Jay-Z – “99 Problems.”) The award for Breakthrough Video was given to the group Franz Ferdinand for “Take Me Out.”

The 2004 VMAs officially kicked off with an opening monologue by Jennifer Lopez who then introduced Usher, performing singles from his new album, “Confessions,” including a group performance featuring Lil’ Jon and Ludacris on the song “Yeah.” Actor/rapper Will Smith took the stage to introduce the new starting center for the NBA’s Miami Heat and co-presenter, Shaquille O’Neal. Together, they gave No Doubt the award for Best Pop Video for their cover of Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life.”

Actors Hilary Duff and Matthew Lillard then presented the award for Best Rap Video to Jay-Z for his “99 Problems.” Following the presentation, Spanish language recording artist Shakira introduced a series of performances featuring newcomers Jet, performing “Be My Girl,” Hoobastank, singing “The Reason,” and Yellowcard, performing “Ocean Avenue.” The bands were forced to play abridged versions of their songs, presumably to keep under the allotted time limit for the show. These performances were decent, with the possible exception of Hoobastank vocalist Doug Robb who appeared to be singing half-asleep and deaf to all pitch and tone.

Ex-B2K rapper Omarion and actress Eva Mendez took the stage to present the Best Female Video award to Beyonce for “Naughty Girl,” who beat out pop heavyweights like Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson for the honor. International recording artist Marc Anthony, who made headlines recently for his impromptu wedding to fellow VMA attendee Jennifer Lopez, introduced one of the more entertaining performances of the evening, Kanye West who performed “Jesus Walks,” “All Falls Down,” and “Through the Wire,” featuring famed recording artist Chaka Khan.

Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliot teamed to present the award for Best Male Video to Usher for “Yeah,” despite Aguilera’s goof-and-cover of introducing the category as Best Female Video, again.

Former MTV personality Carson Daly introduced an interesting piece; a political rally featuring both 2004 Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry’s daughters, Alexandra and Vanessa, and Republican President George W. Bush’s daughters, Jenna and Barbara who were via satellite. This segment proved to be quite controversial among audiences, as audible levels of cheering and jeering were directed at Kerry’s daughters, who were live at the event. The basic message of the piece was to encourage young people to vote and donate to the American Red Cross. However, tempers flared both on and offstage, proving this piece to be quite entertaining for viewers.

At the end of the piece, Daly introduced the next set of presenters, Lenny Kravitz and model Naomi Campbell. They presented the award for Best R&B Video to Alicia Keys for her hit “If I Ain’t Got You.”

Actor/comedian Dave Chappelle performed a short stand-up routine and introduced another myriad of performers including Fat Joe and the Terror Squad, Lil’ Jon, Petey Pablo, and the Ying Yang Twins. Each set of artists performed their own singles, including some collaborative raps, but the performances suffered due to the station’s necessity to edit so much of the piece for expletives, particularly during Fat Joe and the Terror Squad’s performance of “Lean Back.” The awards show, aired in the wake of the MTV-produced Super Bowl halftime show last January, was carried with a ten-second delay.

Gwen Stefani of No Doubt and actor Owen Wilson then presented the award for Best Rock Video to Jet for “Are You Gonna Be My Girl.” The presentation was followed by an introduction of Jessica Simpson by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Simpson performed “With You” and “Angels.”

Benji and Joel Madden of the band Good Charlotte along with rappers D-12 gave the first ever award for Best Video Game Soundtrack, a new category added to the staple of VMAs, to “Tony Hawk’s Underground” by Activision. Skaters Tony Hawk and Bam Margera accepted the award.

Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon, starring in the upcoming film “Taxi,” presented the award for Best Hip-Hop Video with the help of Flaming Lips’ front man, Wayne Torn, who delivered the winning envelop to the presenters from inside of an oversized, translucent, plastic ball. Outkast won the award for “Hey Ya.” Rappers Xzibit, host of MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” and Ludacris introduced an interesting performance duet by Christina Aguilera and Nelly. Their performance was retro-entertaining, featuring a wardrobe and sound reminiscent of the Jazz Era blended with modern hip-hop.

Recording artists P. Diddy and Mase promoted MTV’s “Vote or Die” campaign, part of their “Choose or Lose: 20 Million Loud in 2004,” a political rally to get teens to vote in this year’s presidential election. Both audiences at home and live in Miami were bludgeoned with these campaigns the entire evening. MTV believes almost as much in modest political public service announcements as it does in its devotion to music video-powered programming. P. Diddy and Mase then presented the Best Dance Video award to Usher for “Yeah.”

Christina Milian and LL Cool J introduced a crowd pleasing performance by Alicia Keys, performing her award-winning song “If I Ain’t Got You,” She was then joined onstage by Lenny Kravitz and her idol, the great Stevie Wonder, for a spirited and energetic cover of Wonder’s “Higher Ground.”

Paris Hilton and Nick Lachey awarded No Doubt with the Best Group Video award for “It’s My Life.” MTV personality and singer Ashlee Simpson and skateboarder Tony Hawk took the stage to present the Best New Artist Award. After a brief skateboarding expose featuring Hawk and a variety of other skaters on stage, Hawk and Simpson accepted the award on behalf of Maroon 5, who were not present at the ceremony, due to their nationwide touring schedule.

After a very brief tribute by Alicia Keys to the late Ray Charles, the Beastie Boys presented the MTV2 Video Award to Yellowcard for “Ocean Avenue.” Yellowcard, a mainstream pop/rock band, beat out strong contenders Elephant Man, Twista, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Franz Ferdinand and Modest Mouse for MTV’s supposed “alternative/indie” alter-ego station, MTV2.

Mandy Moore and Marilyn Manson introduced a very unique performance by the Polyphonic Spree. The performance was followed by Dave Chappelle’s tribute to the career of recently retired rapper Sean Carter, a.k.a “The Jigga Man” Jay-Z.

Teenage recording newcomer JoJo, along with select members of 2004 U.S Summer Olympic Gold Medalists, presented the coveted Viewer’s Choice Award to Linkin Park for “Breaking the Habit.” Linkin Park was selected over Christina Aguilera, Simple Plan, Good Charlotte, and Yellowcard by fans who voted online and via mobile phone messaging.

The final VMA of the night was presented by actress Gwyneth Paltrow. Paltrow presented the award for MTV Video of the Year to Outkast for “Hey Ya.” Outkast was chosen over videos by Jay-Z, D-12, Usher, and Britney Spears. As a result of the award, Outkast’s Big Boi and Andre 3000 closed out the show with performances including “Prototype,” “The Way You Move,” and as Andre 3000 apathetically and almost lamentably exclaimed, “And hell, for the millionth time …… Hey Ya.”

Aside from the performances by Kanye West and Alicia Keys, MTV’s 2004 Video Music Awards proved to be rather disappointing. A poor arena and even poorer camera work gave the illusion that there were only about 200 people in the audience. A lack of any one specific host made the transitions between performances and award presentations seem rushed and choppy. With little variation among performing artists and nominees, one could say that the Source Awards, held annually by hip-hop magazine “The Source,” managed to broadcast on MTV under the pseudonym of the Video Music Awards.


About Mike McKenna