MTV European Music Awards, MTV

by | Nov 3, 2005 | All, Reviews

The good:

• Gwen Stefani was nowhere in sight which meant we were spared her flask of acid being poured into a milkshake performance, as well as her supernova-bright hair and her simpering, worthless opinions.

• Perhaps it was a spitefully delightful in-joke by the producers of the EMAs, but the mindless monotony of the CGI-generated crowd during the announcing of the nominees for each category mercilessly aped the flesh and blood audience – automatic Wimbledon applause for every “artist”, the wild cheering of production-line mediocrity and being such a writhing morass of shuddering euphoria you’d think they’d all just been spared the gas chamber rather than anticipating a performance by the Pussycat Dolls.

• Gorillaz performing Feel Good Inc.

The bad:

• The predominance of synchronised dancing which may have in the era of disco embodied the febrile excitement of the genre, but for the past decade has more resembled lap dancing for drunken stockbrokers. Later on, this outdated mode of musical expression was further exposed when the CGI-generated Gorillaz exhibited infinitely more humanity through their digitised faces.

• Green Day – punks in suits; each wail of faux defiance echoed like the programmed scream of a corporate hospitality tent at a society wedding.

• Listening to Coldpay these days is increasingly like being washed with an intrusive antiseptic which scours the body for inspiration and imagination before crushing it in its bony, chemical fist. As they’ve had to purloin the hook for their latest single from the godlike Kraftwerk, you doubt if they will they ever write anything as heartbreaking and emotive as Don’t Panic again.

• The reverence towards Snoop Doggy Dogg, who is the unquestioned Oasis of hip hop – a smashing first album, who then spends the rest of his career living off its proceeds, both musically and financially. He only ever seems to appear on “collaborations” these days, and the French Resistance had the right spirit about “collaborators” – shoot them. While commercial hip hop is a wasteland of creativity, it was a shame the winner wasn’t Kanye West who tries to instil his music with a craft and wit beyond the scope of the other nominees. (Missy Elliot wasn’t up for the prize.)

• Pussycat Dolls are the most effective manmade contraception ever, even better than the pill, and second only to castration – you even can scent the stench of plastic pop through the TV. To quell the blight of teenage pregnancy, they should tour schools to put boys off the idea of intercourse – at least until they’re old enough not to be brainwashed by such avaricious, synthetic pap.

• Akon is little more than breathing enclosing prison walls, utterly restricting the imagination of the listener beyond his record-company wrought mannerisms; you can almost see the bland taut brickwork in his face when he raps. And his performance was little better than a 70s Miss World without the bumbling, slightly bashful host but with additional soulless gyrations by the dancers.

• Jared Leto, an actor so anonymous and stripped of charisma he looks like he was conceived of a brief liaison between a blank sheet of paper and the empty chamber of a revolver.

• Despite music, and especially pop, being the fruit of the young and youthful almost all the award-winners were in their mid to late 30s, while the show was opened by an admirably athletic Madonna, who is pushing 50. Snoop Dogg is about 36, Damon Albarn is 37 or so, while the singer of System of a Down looks like he was recently exhumed from an Egyptian pyramid.

• And even those few winners in their 20s – Alicia Keys, Coldplay and James Blunt – are the musical equivalent of wrinkles, impotence, the menopause, arthritis and the stark empty drift into inevitable doom which begins at 41 and ends in the grave.

• Although the old age, actual or spiritual, of the winners is emblematic of the way in which music is following film in being reduced to the artistically primeval state of “projects”, franchises and cloned sequels to rake in the money for the record companies. And the record companies want their “customers” to be enduring fans and so continue to feed them the same poison rather like an infant being affixed to a McDonald’s food tube, in the shape of an effigy of its mother’s teat, until their well into their teens. And you’ll see evidence of this desire for conformity and easily digestible music if Radiohead ever return to make earnest guitar rock, as “the critics” will uniformly hail it as “a return to form”.

• Craig David sauntering on to the stage to present an award in his peculiar, staccato stride, which makes it seem like you’re watching a TV with a very slow frame rate. And then the words tumble randomly from his mouth from his limited “street” lexicon like dice being thrown in a gambling den.

• James Blunt would be very useful in a nuclear holocaust. Instead of enduring the agony of lethal radiation burns, in the four minutes before the apocalypse slip on his CD (and it would have to be CD) to sedate yourself to the pain. The audio anaesthetic will enable you to watch without pain as the skin on your arms split and fester, whilst your lungs catch fire and disintegrate without any sensation whatsoever.

• Borat as host was utterly unsuccessful. The clever notion of Borat is that he exposes the ignorance of bigots through winning their confidence and then getting them to elicit appalling views. The racial stereo-typing of an intolerant Eurasian is excusable because the audience is in on the joke. However, isolated and without any targets, Borat suddenly become an offensive racial stereotype such as when offering boys to pop stars or getting them to steal from stars’ dressing rooms.

• Robbie Williams is like dog excrement that crawls of its own accord through your letterbox, with the same inexorable crawl as the ghost out of the TV in Ring.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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