MTV show: Roseanne and raucous rock

September 08, 1994|By J. D. Considine | J. D. Considine,Sun Pop Music Critic

For the most part, people watch awards shows for one of two reasons. Either they're genuinely interested in seeing who will win, as with the Oscars or Grammys, or they want to see their favorite performers in action, as on the People's Choice or American Music Awards.

Unless, of course, the show in question is tonight's 10th annual MTV Video Music Awards broadcast (8 p.m. on MTV). People will watch that because they know something memorably bizarre is bound to happen.

Just look at the show's track record. This was where Madonna debuted her Boy-Toy bridal outfit, cementing her sexually provocative stardom, and where Andrew Dice Clay used all seven of the words you can't say on TV, solidifying his reputation as slime. Over the years, viewers have watched Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic bean himself with his own bass, seen Dana Carvey blow his chances for talk show stardom, and sat stunned as the Artist Then Known as Prince hit the stage in seatless trousers.

This, in short, is not your father's idea of an awards show.

MTV knows it, too. In fact, it's made it something of a selling point this year. Even though tonight's telecast will include live performances by some of the biggest acts in popular music, including Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Smashing Pumpkins, the Beastie Boys and Green Day, as well as some sort of visitation by Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley Jackson (they may kiss -- viewer discretion is advised), what the channel's promotional spots stress is that Roseanne will be host of the show.

In other words, anything can happen.

"You know how directors control somebody like me?" Roseanne asks in one spot. "Editing." But, she snickers, there's no chance of that with a live broadcast like the Video Music Awards. Another spot puts it even more bluntly, as she informs us that after the show, "there will be two kinds of people in the world: Those who saw what I did, and those who only heard about it."

What, exactly, she has planned is hard to say, but it's a fair bet the musical acts will have to be unusually outrageous to steal this show. (Let's just hope no one strikes up "The Star-Spangled Banner.")

Of course, there has to be some stuff between the star-studded music performances and Roseanne's presumably outlandish shtick, and that's where the awards themselves come in. Unfortunately, there's a considerably lower chance of anything shocking happening here.

Aerosmith is clearly the favorite. Not only did the group earn more nominations than any other act (nine overall, with R.E.M. in second with seven), but the videos themselves created quite a buzz, thanks to an ongoing story-line featuring nymphet Alicia Silverstone. Expect to see Aerosmith doing the acceptance-speech thing at least three times: For Best Group Video, Best Metal/Hard Rock Video (though Soundgarden may score an upset there), and Best Special Effects in a Video.

Tonight's other big winner may well be Bjork. Although the Icelandic sprite hasn't achieved the kind of popular success here she enjoys in Britain, the playful, dream-like clip for "Human Behaviour" -- the only video in memory that actually shows what actually happens on the days when the bear eats you -- makes her a shoo-in for Best New Artist in a Video. But don't be surprised if she beats out Janet Jackson (represented here by "If") for Best Female Video, and walks away with the Breakthrough Video trophy as well.

If there's any justice in the voting, Snoop Doggy Dogg's cameo-studded "Doggy Dogg World" will win Best Rap Video in a walk, and Maryland's Toni Braxton's sumptuous "Breathe Again" seems likely to slip past "Whatta Man" by Salt-N-Pepa featuring En Vogue. But how come Warren G's "Regulate" (from "Above the Rim") isn't in the running for Best Video from a Film, when Sinead O'Connor's largely forgettable "You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart" is?

Most likely to be disappointed? R.E.M.

MTV Video nominees

This is the complete list of nominees for the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards:

* Best Video of the Year

Aerosmith, "Cryin' "

Beastie Boys, "Sabotage"

Nirvana, "Heart-Shaped Box"

R.E.M., "Everybody Hurts"

* Best Male Video

Beck, "Loser"

Tony Bennett, "Steppin' Out with My Baby"

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, "Mary Jane's Last Dance"

Bruce Springsteen, "Streets of Philadelphia"

* Best Female Video

Bjork, "Human Behaviour"

Sheryl Crow, "Leaving Las Vegas"

Janet Jackson, "If"

Me'Shell Ndege'Ocello, "If That's Your Boyfriend"

* Best Group Video

Aerosmith, "Cryin' "

Beastie Boys, "Sabotage"

Green Day, "Longview"

R.E.M., "Everybody Hurts"

* Best Rap Video

Coolio, "Fantastic Voyage"

Cypress Hill, "Insane in the Brain"

Dr. Dre, "Let Me Ride"

Snoop Doggy Dogg, "Doggy Dogg World"

* Best Dance Video

Crystal Waters, "100% Pure Love"

En Vogue, "Runaway Love"

Janet Jackson, "If"

Salt-N-Pepa featuring En Vogue, "Whatta Man"

US3, "Cantaloop"

* Best Metal/Hard Rock Video

Aerosmith, "Cryin' "

Anthrax, "Black Lodge"

Rollins Band, "Liar"

Soundgarden, "Black Hole Sun"

* Best Alternative Music Video

Beck, "Loser"

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