The MTV Video Music Awards is making plans to keep Kanye West and Taylor Swift as far apart as possible after last year’s embarrassing debacle. That’s when West crashed Swift’s best female video award speech. But if not that, then what?
The awards always produce one or more controversial moments, often scripted, but sometimes spontaneous, like when
West grabbed the mike from Swift and proclaimed that Beyonce should have won the prize
But the show’s executive producer, Jesse Ignjatovic, flatly declared the pair will not reunite in a duet or any other part of the show, although West is slated to perform.
Lady Gaga leads this year’s nominees with 13 nods behind the eight nominations for Eminem, who will open the ceremony.
Other acts scheduled to perform include Drake, Mary J. Blige, Swizz Beatz, Bruno Mars, Florence and the Machine, Usher, Paramore, Linkin Park, B.o.B. and Justin Bieber, the teen sensation who is set to take his routine outside the theater.
Meanwhile, West took to his Twitter account last week to again apologize for last year’s on-air fiasco, acknowledging that he was wrong for lunging on stage at Radio City Music Hall.
Swift, incidentally is nominated for best female video again, but she has yet to confirm she is attending this year’s show.
West, who is working on his next album, has kept a lower profile since the incident and subsequent public backlash.
His moment in the spotlight Sunday could provide the perfect opportunity to seek redemption from MTV viewers.
In his series of tweets last week, he revealed that he wrote a song for Swift, and “if she won’t take it, then I’ll perform it for her.”
Producers have made no accommodations for a potential West ambush with this year’s stage, a space-age paradise inspired by mid-century modern architecture that’s almost completely open to the crowd.
The sweeping stage design, dreamed up by German designer Florian Wieder, required about 2,000 orchestra seats to be removed from the Nokia Theatre.
Videos of nominees will blast on two giant screens enveloping the theater, as well as a massive rotating billboard rising up from a smaller oval stage.
Deadmau5, the show’s house disc jockey, will perform from his trademark cube booth hoisted above the crowd. He’ll be joined by the likes of Robyn, Travie McCoy and Jason Derulo on a nearby curvy catwalk.
“When the audience sees it for the first time, it’s going to look like no other show they’ve ever seen,” said MTV general manager Stephen Friedman.
“I promise you that. Our team has transformed it. I’ve never seen a set quite like this in the history of the VMAs. The way that it’s configured enabled us to mold it to exactly the way we wanted it.”
Ultimately, as with all VMAs, spectacle trumps substance. This is the show where Madonna swapped spit with Britney Spears, and Eminem fought a puppet. Whether an invitation to attend this year’s festivities is accepted by Swift or not, all eyes will certainly be on West. If he’s on his best behavior, what will everyone be talking about the next day?
“In a million years, we couldn’t have predicted it last year,” said Friedman. “I think this year’s the same. We’ll have the guys from ‘Jackass,’ the cast from ‘Glee’ and some of the ‘True Blood’ cast there.
“I don’t know. What we try to do is bring the most entertaining talent and artists together, and that brew always creates fascinating moments for us.”
Associated Press writer Natalie Rotman contributed to this report.