Ratings were up 66% last night from last year for the MTV Video Music Awards aka “The Justin Timberlake Show.” The combination of Justin and his NSync reunion brought in a whopping 10 million viewers. Critically the show was a horror. And it bored various nominees and participants who we caught yawning or knitting during the show. But MTV gave the kids what they wanted: their big pop stars live and in person for 45 minutes (plus commercials). It didn’t hurt that Miley Cyrus got all freaky with Robin Thicke.
The worse these awards shows get–with a one-two punch of insipid and canned while also raunchily titillating–the more popular they seem to become, so the formula must be working on some level. Must be the same human fascination with train wrecks and such that has made reality TV such a hit too, no?