More riveting entertainment was provided by youthful dance whiz Chris Brown, whom MTV showcased in a lengthy song-and-dance medley designed to anoint him the new Michael Jackson — even including a snatch of Billie Jean in case you somehow missed the intent.
Linkin Park and Alicia Keys also performed, along with some unusual combinations from four Palms Casino suites, hosted by the Foo Fighters, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, and Fall Out Boy (who performed Shut Up and Drive with Rihanna).
"It creates a lot of hype, so she had better live up to that," Chamillionaire said. "I was at Kanye (West's) party last night at the Hard Rock, and I can tell you he wasn't happy about it. He told me, 'After all the hard work I've been doing for this, they put her name up, and she hasn't had a hit in years.' "
Though many expressed support for Spears before the show, the story changed afterward. Ashanti, watching from backstage, was asked what she thought. She laughed, rolled her eyes and walked away as her publicist indicated she had no comment.
Regardless of how big her name was, there's one thing for sure. Britney wasn't the hottest girl in the house. Alicia Keys, Jennifer Garner, Nelly Furtado, and especially Rihanna were all looking super fine.
Another blonde was the apparent catalyst of a rocker dust-up, referenced several times onstage. Tommy Lee and Kid Rock, who both have been married to actress Pamela Anderson, got into a scuffle in the auditorium.
Said Jamie Foxx onstage: "Stop all of this white-on-white crime. Tommy Lee and Kid Rock fighting like black folks. … It's hilarious. Who won? I was in the bathroom."
No word on that, but both were seen being escorted out of the event. Speaking of blondes, even America's least favorite socialite, Paris Hilton, made a return to MTV television, after being destroyed by Sarah Silverman at the Movie Awards a few months ago.
Silverman wasn't entirely nice though. She did get in a couple good quips about Britney that left the house laughing. I almost hoped for Britney's sake she didn't hear it... but then I remembered it's Britney Spears.
Beyonce took home the Earth-Shattering collaboration trophy for "Beautiful Liar," which features Shakira. Fall Out Boy won best group, while their proteges, Gym Class Heroes, won the fan-voted best new artist award. Fergie was named female artist of the year but was a surprising no-show to accept it.
All in all, I'd say the show was a solid 8 out of 10, and easily the best VMA show put on in years. I'm glad to hear they won't be airing reruns all week, though they would be an improvement on The Hills.
Some other photos from the show: