What We’ll See at the MTV VMAs Sunday

MTV is rolling out the heavy hitters this year for the 2013 VMAs: Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis… practically everyone teens want to see.

The question is: what will young people take away from Sunday night’s show?

This Sunday night literally millions of young people will be watching the MTV Video Music Awards (the VMAs), an event where the most popular celebs in music, movies and television come together to celebrate the greatest music videos of the year. This event always provides a sobering glimpse into the window of youth culture, revealing a remarkably accurate cross-section of the kind of content young people have been absorbing in the last year through their headphones and those handy little screens in their pockets.

I’ll be watching it, so you don’t have to. It’s one of the two times a year I actually watch MTV, just to keep my thumb on the pulse of youth culture. Monday we’ll be posting our two cents (here’s our 2012 article) as a Youth Culture Window article on the front page of our sites (subscribe to those free articles here).

What can we expect from this year’s VMAs? Allow me to think out loud:

  • Lady Gaga is back, opening the VMAs with the world premiere performance of her new single Applause. The last time Gaga opened the show she was dressed as her “male alter ego” Joe Calderone at the 2011 VMAs. We can expect to hear a lot more from Gaga in the next few months with the release of her new album, Artpop, expected November 11th. She launched her new song from the album last week and it quickly rose to No. 2 on iTunes, dropping a few spots to No. 4 this week. The music video to this song is typical Gaga: great vocals, weird costumes, and overtly sexualized. Is this what we should expect from her at the VMAs?
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis will be performing their popular song Same Love, about Marriage Equality, at the VMAs. These guys are tied with Justin Timberlake for the most VMA nominations this year (six). Same Love was nominated for Best Video with a Social Message. What are our kids gleaning from this video and these lyrics?
  • Katy Perry will be closing the show performing her new No. 1 song Roar from her upcoming album Prism (expected October 22nd). Will this be a different Katy than the 2010 MTV Movie Awards Katy, performing the “raunchified rendition” of California Gurls. I’ve notice some positive changes from Katy of late, and I can’t help but wonder which Katy we’ll see.
  • Justin Timberlake will not only be performing at the VMAs, he will also be honored with the prestigious Michael Jackson award. Will there be any alluding to the controversial nudity in Timberlake’s music video, Tunnel Vision? (Is this art, or just eye candy?) Personally, the only thing I’m excited about is the chance that we might see ‘N Sync reunite at this event. That would be worth seeing!
  • Speaking of nudity in music videos, Robin Thicke will also be taking the stage at the VMAs. Will any discussion arise about his blatant sexualization of girls in his video (not to mention his lyrics), Blurred Lines?
  • Miley Cyrus and her team will perform live at the VMAs as well. To be honest, I’m really not that curious about what she’ll do. I’m sure it will feature plenty of cleavage, twerking and other antics typical of her activities of late. It’s been depressing seeing her 5-year downward spiral.
  • Drake will be performing Started from the Bottom. You’ve already heard us chime in about this song, it will be interesting to see if they just bleep out all the foul language and course talk in this song, or if they try to perform an edited radio version. Past MTV award shows have been almost laughable as they just couldn’t even keep up trying to bleep out all the curse words.

Countless other performers and presenters will be there as well, and many of our kids will be taking it all in on the sidelines.

It’s sad that these celebs are today’s heroes and role models.

What do you expect to see? What do you think many of our kids will be gleaning from this event?

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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3 Responses to What We’ll See at the MTV VMAs Sunday

  1. Matthew says:

    I just wanted to say that I really appreciate reading your blogs and insights concerning pop culture. Thank you for your ministry!

  2. Wesley Ryan says:

    Great article! I think NSync & Macklemore have the potential to produce an epic moment 🙂