These Are Not Your Father’s MTV Music Video Awards

The MTV-VH1 Music Video Awards were tonight. They sure have changed.

Madonna, looking relaxed, calm and very pretty, opened the show with a quiet and actually quite moving speech in tribute to Michael Jackson. After noting they were born the same year, she mentioned she lost her mother when she was a young girl. But she says Michael he got the short end of the stick: She lost a mother, he lost a childhood. She also talked about how “we” abandoned him, how while he was trying to raise a family, “we all sat in judgment of him.” “There will never be anyone else like him again. He was a king.” She says she’s going to end on a positive note. “Michael Jackson was a human being but he was the King. Long live the King.”

They go to Thriller with Michael Jackson on the big screen and dancers, including one playing him, on the stage, in sync. Then Bad and another song, and out comes a stunning looking Janet Jackson, in top form. Michael's on the screen dancing behind her and she's dancing totally in sync matching move for move on the stage. It ends with a picture of them with their arms around each other on the screen. Janet looks emotionally drained at the end.

Then it's Live from New York City, the MTV/VH1 Music Awards.

Joe and Katy Perry do a terrific rendition of “We Will Rock You.” Russell Brand is hosting and while he's improved since a few years ago, he shouts his way through the whole thing.

It quickly got very weird. Taylor Swift, the frail looking teen who sings country music, wins the award for best female video of the year. As she's giving her speech, Kanye West comes out, interrupts her, and tells the audience Beyonce should have won. Beyonce, in the audience, looks horrified. Taylor is left standing there speechless and they finally whisk her off stage.

They bring out a couple that can't be older than 12. I feel like I'm watching the child dancers on DWTS. But they are there to introduce Taylor Swift, who is doing her performance live in a subway. This she has to do live, after Kanye dissed her on national tv. And she shines. The first time I saw her on Letterman last year, I thought she was awful. She's really grown in her performance ability. A crowd chases her through the subway as she runs through turnstiles and up those steps in a red cocktail dress with high heels. Then she's on the street outside Radio Music Hall, with a crowd of hundreds around her cheering her, still singing. This is all live while the audience is sitting inside the theater (I guess watching it on the big screen.)

Lady Gaga does her performance. There's a dancer brought out in a wheelchair and wheeled around and (kind of refreshing) a very plus size back up dancer. Lady Gaga struts around, almost Joe Cocker like at times — at one point I thought she was going to fall over. Then there's red blood all over her body, and she ends it hanging from a rope like a ragdoll, with blood everywhere, including her eye. Fake blood, but you get the point.

When she wins an award later, she goes on stage wearing a red bag on her head with a red mesh mask covering her face and starts giving her acceptance speech. She whips the mask off midway through her speech.

Green Day (who won for best rock video for “21 Guns)comes out and they perform in their trademark high octane manner. Billie Joe starts running around the stage and then invites the audience on stage to join him. It's a mob scene.

Beyonce does her performance. She's sexy, gorgeous, and as flexible as a rubber band — just an amazing ability to move every muscle simultaneously in different directions.

Then there was Pink. She does a circus performance. Two guys blindfold her and she's whisked up in the air on a rope where she meets a guy on a trapeze. She's unmasked and sings her entire song while doing some pretty incredible acrobatic feats. But still, it had nothing to do with the music.

Then it's hip-hop time. Are there only three hip-hop artists? Every year it's Eminem, Jay Z, Kanye West. Eminem wins this year.

Another bizarre thing: While the performances are going on, there's not only a chiron on the bottom of the screen showing who's up next, but a voice-over announcing things like “Lady Gaga in 8 Minutes.” and “Jay Z is in the car, he'll be here in 29 minutes.” They do this repeatedly, while the musical group is performing. How rude.

Then they go outside to a breathless young blonde who's following the twitter board. She can't speak in a complete sentence. She screeches a bit here and there and I caught that there were 1 million tweets. It seems like her job is to follow them and report on them, but she's too excited. Still, 1 million tweets during the first 60 minutes of a show that's not even on network (only on cable) is something.

Near the end of the show, Beyonce wins for best video of the year and upon reaching the stage and being handed the award, says how important her first award was to her and calls Taylor out to continue her thank you speech. Very gracious, but again, how bizarre that it was even necessary. Kanye West is a twit.

Finally Jay Z arrives. I guess he is the current king, it was like royalty was arriving, they showed his car driving up for blocks. He goes right from his car onto the stage where he performs with Alicia Keys, who was way better than him. Beyonce, who looks thrilled to be watching hubby Jay Z, gazes at him adoringly from the audience and sings and dances along, next to a pretty motionless Lady Gaga, who is back in the audience with the red bag on her head.

This was the most hyper awards show I've seen yet. I think they all took triple doses of Adderall when they arrived. I'm exhausted just from watching.