With the VMA’S taking place yesterday at The Prudential Center in Newark, Jersey, I must admit that I didn’t watch the show, partially because the appeal of award shows has been on a steady decline for the past decade and partially because I live in London and I was not willing to bypass my sleep to watch the show live.
When I woke up this morning I opened Twitter (not X) to catch up on the goings-on of last night, the highlights of the show flooded my timeline, and just like that I was caught up. In the space of a few minutes, I had skipped past the nearly 4-hour show with the help of a few performance clips and twitter reactions, which I know is very Gen Z of me. I couldn’t help but think that this quick-cut catch-up of the VMA’s is the future of all award shows.
The award for the biggest decline goes to…
When we take a closer look it becomes increasingly apparent why award shows have lost their appeal in recent years and I’m not sure if there can be anything done to fix it. The focal point of these glitzy events are obviously the awards themselves, but when we look at shows in the past they’ve also granted wider access to your favourite celebrities in a night of excess accented with a dose of drama and controversy.
Losing in every category
The celebrity chaos that was once exclusive to them has now become public property with the explosion of social media. We effectively have no middleman between the fan and the pop star, nullifying the previous pull that the likes of the VMAs and the Grammys had over the average viewer. In addition to this, we as a society have become more and more desensitised to the PR stunts that we used to see at award shows in the early 2000s, which would be considered mild in today’s climate. The insatiable thirst for the extreme has run rampant throughout social media and the use of controversial marketing seems to be pushing a constantly moving boundary that has no end in sight. Award shows simply cannot keep up with the shifting landscape of the entertainment industry and so will always fall behind the curve of what is at the pinnacle of pop culture. They once set the terms of what defined pop culture, but they are now scrambling to keep up with what the internet redefines as the new definition of what is current.Embed from Getty Images
And the winner is…
When I opened Twitter this morning, the first thing that popped onto my screen were the outfits and performances of the VMAs, in fact, this was almost what exclusively took up my timeline. Sure, the winners of the awards were mentioned, but they were addressed as an afterthought, they were of secondary importance behind the meme-worthy reactions, the red carpet runway looks, and the pop of performances that breathed new life into the show.Embed from Getty Images
I (barely) remember a time when people would watch these shows with bated breath in anticipation of who would take home the biggest awards of the night. Now, that doesn’t really happen, unless you’re part of a dedicated fanbase, which in and of itself is becoming more of a rarity.
Closing out the show
It’s becoming more and more difficult to justify the idea of setting aside x amount of hours to watch an award show that is usually filled with mind-numbingly mediocre drivel. On the odd occasion that we get an award show that can actually captivate an audience, they’re too far and few between to set a general precedent that they are worth watching in their entirety. The ability to access these shows in ten-second snapshots has drastically eroded their place in pop culture and only serves to sink them further into the depth of irrelevancy.