Even though the MTV Video Music Awards are often dominated by the wild events and envelope-pushing moments, the show is still an important touchstone of pop culture. We can certainly anticipate contrived antics at the 2012 awards, which air on Thursday, September 6, but the preshow buzz surrounds rivalries between nominees like Chris Brown and Drake, which go beyond who had a better music video. There are some really great contenders for Moonmen this year, Rihanna and Katy Perry could take home top honors.
Our Pop and Urban expert combed through the major categories and gave her view point on who she thinks will win and who she believes should win. See predictions for the most unpredictable award show of all.
VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Who Will Win: Rihanna - "We Found Love"
Who Should Win: Gotye - "Somebody That I Used To Know"
The music video for “We Found Love” is the one thing that Rihanna has done right this year. Despite the heavy subject matter, the visually stunning clip depicts a tumultuous period in Rihanna's life though the uplifting song and beautifully directed video.
Gotye should win because of the trippy visual stills and stop-motion cinematography seen in his video for “Somebody That I Used to Know.” This clip captures the raw emotion of a bad breakup without the shocking narrative as seen in Rihanna's video. Even though I've heard the song a few too many times now, the indie underdog caught my attention with his edgy vocals and artistically colorful video. Gotye has my vote.
BEST NEW ARTIST
Who Will Win: Carly Rae Jepsen - "Call Me Maybe"
Who Should Win: fun. feat. Janelle Monáe - "We Are Young"
Carly Rae Jepsen will win for her breakthrough hit “Call Me Maybe” because even though the guy in the video wouldn’t call her, everyone else seems to want to. This song was the biggest pop song of the summer with an equally as popular (and cute) video.
Of all of the nominees, fun. should win Best New Artist because they have the best chance at longevity post 2012. The epic slow-motion bar fight scene in the video for “We Are Young” makes it the coolest clip out of the nominees. Plus, Janelle Monáe is pretty rad.
It will be amusing to watch One Direction and The Wanted duke it out for Worst New Boy Band, I mean, Best New Artist. Their music videos are almost identical, featuring five guys, a beach and some hot girls who may or may not be of legal age. I say stick them in the bar fight in fun.’s video, and let them have at it. May the best boy band win and get the VMA.
BEST HIP HOP VIDEO
Who Will Win: Jay-Z and Kanye West - "Paris"
Who Should Win: Jay-Z and Kanye West - "Paris"
Even though I’m jealous of Drake’s adult bar mitzvah in “HYFR,” Kanye West's sweet ride in “Mercy” and Nicki Minaj’s toned rear in “Beez in the Trap,” “Paris” is hands down the best hip-hop video this year. Not only is the track most representative of the category, the visuals from the Watch the Throne tour featured in the clip make this video the most fun to watch. It’s a great hip-hop song with an equally great video.
BEST MALE VIDEO
Who Will Win: Justin Bieber - "Boyfriend"
Who Should Win: Drake feat. Rihanna, "Take Care"
Reigning Best Male Video VMA winner Justin Bieber is a shoe-in to take the award for the second year in a row with his clip for “Boyfriend.” It’s a solid pop song with a hint of swagger, and the video isn’t half bad either. At least if Chris Brown tries to kick his ass, Brown won’t be charged for assaulting a minor since Bieber is now of legal age.
The announcement of the Best Male Video VMA has the potential to be the most explosive moment of the show if Drake gets the award for “Take Care.” I don't actually cares if Breezy or Drizzy wins. I just want to know who wins Rihanna’s affection, once and for all.
BEST FEMALE VIDEO
Who Will Win: Katy Perry - "Part of Me"
Who Should Win: Rihanna - "We Found Love"
Katy Perry kicked ass in the music video for “Part of Me” when she chopped off her hair and joined the military, and she’s going to kick the other nominees’ asses in the category for Best Female Video. However, I think Rihanna should win because as I stated earlier, her video is the most aesthetically pleasing of the bunch. Besides, Beyoncé already had her shining moment when she announced her pregnancy at last year’s VMAs on the red carpet and during her performance of “Love on Top.”
Katy is sure to take home more Moonmen than she’s had boyfriends post-divorce, so I’m slating her as the winner for Best Female Video.
BEST POP VIDEO
Who Will Win: One Direction - "What Makes You Beautiful"
Who Should Win: Rihanna - “We Found Love”
One Direction will most likely walk away with the award for Best Pop Video because MTV needs to give some love to a boy band (and the 98 Degrees reunion just isn’t cutting it). This category really could be anyone’s game though. Rihanna could take this Moonman because let's face it – her real pop competition is Lady Gaga (who received 0 nominations this year). The folks at MTV probably skipped over Gaga because they didn’t know who the hell Jo Calderone was when deciding the nominees.
Who Will Win: Kanye West feat. Pusha T, Big Sean and 2 Chainz, "Mercy"
Who Should Win: Jay-Z and Kanye West, "Paris"
The odds are in Kanye’s favor to win the VMA for Best Editing. I want him to win so Taylor Swift can interrupt his speech and let him know how much better of a choice Amber Rose is over Kim Kardashian.
BEST ROCK VIDEO*
Who Will Win: Black Keys - “Lonely Boy”
Who Should Win: Jack White - “Sixteen Saltines”
While “Lonely Boys” is a good song, both catchy, portable, it’s been showcased everywhere from commercials to movie trailers and SportsCenter highlight reels. And that’s precisely the problem. The Black Keys are in critical danger of becoming overexposed right now. That could be a factor when it comes time to decide whether to give them another trophy. Also, the video for this track is just some dude doing the twist outside a box office somewhere. It’s cute, but not enough.
In my opinion, Jack White delivers the hardest-hitting track of his new solo album with a video that shows a range of scenes depicting unruly children. Unlike most of the other videos, this one is compelling. There is a lot of action going on, and I’m sorry but anytime you feature a group of kids dancing and one of them flies 20 feet off the ground (presumably by the power of his slick moves) you’ve got my vote.
BEST ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC VIDEO (EDM)
Who Will Win: Skrillex - "First of the Year (Equinox)"
Who Should Win: Avicii - "Le7els"
Skrillex will win for Best Electronic Dance Video because the creepy kids reminiscent of Children of the Korn in the video make it the most captivating of the nominated clips. Skrillex has also done wonders for Dubstep music by bringing the genre mainstream popularity, which is fine by me. (Let’s be real. You hadn’t even heard of Dubstep music before Skrillex.)
Avicii "Le7els" should win because it’s the most hilarious music video I’ve ever seen. Plus, the guy in the video who looks like Napoleon Dynamite has mad dance skills. The dancing nurses also swayed my vote.
BEST ART DIRECTION
Who Will Win: Katy Perry - "Wide Awake"
Who Should Win: Drake feat. Rihanna - "Take Care"
Unless Lana del Rey’s daddy decides to pay someone off, Katy Perry will win for Best Art Direction. “Wide Awake” chronicles Katy through the maze (or daze) of her last two years as a performer and artist. She’s had a tough year with her divorce and put herself out there both honestly and vulnerably in this video. Let’s give her this one.
However, I'd really like to see Drake and Rihanna on stage together accepting this award while Chris Brown looks on from the audience. This moment could be where things get nasty, AKA the moment we all wait for when we tune in to the VMAs.
Image: Shareif Ziyada/FilmMagic
Katherine Epstein (@RTNowRadio) for Cumulus Media © 2012
*Rock Commentary provided by Justin Starling