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What the Press Said About the V.M.A.s: MTV Loves a Scandal

Say what you will about Kanye West's unbecoming behavior at last night's Video Music Awards, MTV is probably just happy you're still talking about it. That's the consensus among the press today, who seem unanimous in their assessment that 2009 was a step in the right direction for the embattled show.

  • The Los Angeles Times music blogger Todd Martens gave each of the performances a letter grade, favoring Beyoncé's choreography and Taylor Swift's subway singalong over Janet's tribute to her brother and Katy Perry's misguided Queen cover. [LAT]
  • Like most everyone else, The New York Times swooned for Madonna's speech about Michael Jackson, referring to it as “uncommonly intimate, by turns heartbreaking and gobsmacking.” [NYT]
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  • Between her performance and inviting Taylor Swift to the stage during her own acceptance, music writer Jay Lustig wrote that Beyoncé “almost singlehandedly saved MTV's Video Music Awards from being a totally tacky event.” [NJ.com]
  • The AP believes West's tantrum is exactly what the network always hopes for, noting, “MTV always seeks a combustible mix for their flagship award show, hoping for just the kind of attention West attracted.” [AP]
  • Explaining how long the Kanye hating lingered inside Radio City Music Hall, The Hollywood Reporter notes the boos whenever his name was mentioned and shouts of things like “He's finished,” from the crowd. [THR]
  • Not everyone faults Kanye for his episode, though—Seattle Times critic Andrew Matson wrote that his “fixes to pop culture's bell curve boringness are exciting.” [ST]
  • One thing not sitting well with critics was MTV's televised pre-show from outside the venue, which one blogger acknowledged as a parade of shameless brand tie-ins. [AllYourTV]
  • Thanks to Twitter, celebrity reactions to Kanye's outburst were available before the awards even ended, with profanity and disgust punctuating Tweets from attendees Katy Perry, Perez Hilton, and Pink. [TheFabLife]