The MTV Video Music Awards are a big deal, okay? Just ask Kanye West, who infamously interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech for Best Female Video at the 2009 ceremony: "Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time!!!" 'Ye countered. Them's fightin' words.
As usual, the year's most popular music videos—from the likes of Robin Thicke, Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus and more—will all vie for Moonman statues Sunday night at Brooklyn's Barclays Arena. Nothing surprising there. But what is surprising are the high-profile hit videos that didn't receive nominations.
Unlike Kanye's notorious hissy fit, we're not planning to jump onstage and rain on anyone's parade. Instead, Fuse is highlighting 13 music videos from the past year that deserve a nod or two (or five), from Christina Aguilera's colorful comeback clip to a stunning, black-and-white visual by the xx.
Check out the most-egregious snubs from the 2013 VMAs.
The video for the first single from The Blessed Unrest hits an 11 on the adorable-o-meter: The California singer-songwriter breaks into dance in public, encouraging bystanders by cooing, "I wanna see you be brave!" Random people at the library, gym and mall bust a move too, before joining Bareilles in a choreographed routine. It's an anthem of self-expression—what, no nod for Best Video With a Social Message?
For this Tennessee pop-punk trio, falling in love is an epic display of eye candy: Fluorescent lights, twirling ballerinas, exploding fireworks and more collide to express the rush and exuberance of falling head over heels, which is exactly what we did for their "Still Into You" video. Also, MTV darling/frontwoman Hayley Williams looks dashing in half-pink, half-orange hair... so where's the nomination?
Less is more: It's a time-honored artistic approach, which this sexy-dangerous British indie band bring to their sound, image and music video for "Fiction," a no-frills black and white affair that's utterly stunning. Beautiful scenes of bassist/vocalist Oliver Sim wandering a tropical resort and venturing into majestic moonlight prove MTV's shortcomings again and again.
Christina Aguilera's musical comeback was totally killer (wink). In the video for her first Lotus single "Your Body," the diva dressed up in a kaleidoscopic array of kitschy outfits and went on a murderous rampage. Did MTV simply miss this one? Because it's a solid Best Female Video contender.
British songbird Jessie Ware's "Sweet Talk" is a super-sexy R&B jam about pillow talk between lovers... adult lovers. Its video, however, is overrun with adorable little kids representing Ware and her three studio producers. Watch mini Ware perform in the living room for her proud mum... who is actually played by Ware disguised in spectacles.
M.I.A.'s politically-charged "Bad Girls," which challenged women's roles in the Muslim world, won a pair of Moonmen at the 2012 VMAs (Best Cinematography and Best Direction). In 2013, the London-born rapper-singer ditched the politics for a more visually artistic approach to her latest video, "Bring the Noize." It's a dizzying thrill ride: M.I.A. presides over an underground dance club, full of ravers and exotic animals like long-haired yaks, before the camera work takes center stage, drenching the scene in gold visual effects. Trippy enough for a nomination.
Like the millions of tweeangers awaiting its arrival, we too screamed when One Direction's "Kiss You" video premiered in January. Better yet, it featured the 1D boys wholeheartedly embracing their adolescent icon status, referencing teen idol movies like Elvis' Jailhouse Rock and Frankie Avalon's Beach Blanket Bingo. 1D's way-less-fun "What Makes You Beautiful" video won three Moonmen last year, so why did "Kiss You" get the snub?
Thousands (millions?) of music videos show men surrounded by sexy girls in skimpy clothing. But for "How to be a Heartbreaker" this Welsh singer flipped the gender norms, surrounding herself with male models in Speedos, all vying for her attention. You go girl.
It's one ridiculous scene after another in the Georgia MC's "Birthday Song" video: There's a strip club's worth of girls tweaking in unison, a Pakistani man wearing a Hawaiian shirt and chugging a 40oz beer, a woman completely covered in cake icing, a fat clown in a gas mask and in the backyard, four buttoned-up business men receiving lap dances. Then Kanye West arrives, riding a BMX bike that's pulling a trailer with a cake shaped like a drum set, a pair of breasts perched up top. Later, a girl pops out and jiggles. Best. Birthday. Ever.
Like Where the Wild Things Are?, in the video for "Lilies," Bat for Lashes, aka Natasha Khan, offers her own surreal fantasy, complete with cuddly monsters roaming a far-off land. In a warrior-princess bikini get-up, Khan writhes and joins her newfound furry friends in the stars, as genius animation cuts on and off screen. Later, she coos "Thank god I'm alive" as clouds, mountains and oceans pour from her mouth. Hats off to you, Khan.