More than a Moonman

by Bailey Carpenter

In 1984, Madonna — clad in a see-through wedding gown over lingerie — rolled around the stage at the first annual MTV Video Music Awards. This performance simultaneously jump-started her career and the tradition of the VMAs to be the wildest, most stunt-packed annual TV awards show.

Madonna is the first of many celebrities whose careers sky rocketed from VMA stunts, proving that the VMAs are about more than winning a Moonman. In an August 25 article, Aphrodite Manousos highlights some of the VMAs’ most remembered stunts before this year’s show, asking, “Will all this planning live up to the wildest moments in VMAs history?”

Manousos’ article mentions the famous 1999 Diana Ross/Lil’ Kim breast fondle; the Madonna/Britney Spears kiss in 2003; Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift’s speech in 2009 (“Ima letchu finish”); and Lady Gaga’s frightening meat dress last year.

These stunts resulted in the celebrities’ names buzzing all over news programs and sites. Even a stunt like Kanye West’s led to a huge sales increase for Taylor Swift.

In fact, it seems that with progressing years, the VMAs is a career starter or booster for many celebrities, a phenomenon that has led to celebrities trying to one-up each other or themselves each year in an attempt to gain the spotlight.

This year, the VMAs, which aired August 28, shattered records with 12.4 million viewers. Bill Gorman said in a press release,“the VMAs is the #1 cable telecast of 2011 with P12-34 [viewers ages 12 to 34] and the #1 non-sports cable telecast of 2011 with total viewers.”

This year’s show also reflects the growing social media craze, as millions of viewers live-tweeted their reactions throughout the show. Us Magazine reported that tweets mentioning Beyonce broke the Twitter record for most tweets per second following the reveal of her “baby bump” during her live performance.

@TwitterGlobalPR tweeted August 29, “Beyonce’s big MTV #VMA moment gave Twitter a record bump: 8,868 Tweets per second.”

Musical performances at the VMAs have also led to tremendous growth in celebrities’ careers. This year, Adele’s single “Someone Like You” went from number 19 to number one the Billboard charts after she performed the song live at the VMAs.

On billboard.com, Keith Caulfield said, “the singer achieve[d] the biggest jump to No. 1 in the chart’s 53-year history that wasn’t spurred by the release of a single.”

The buzz surrounding this year’s VMAs leaves us with one question: what will they think of next?

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Filed under Career, Trends

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