Though the MTV Video Music Awards have been happening for over three decades, it’s still quite a mystery as to how some people actually manage to win the much-coveted Moon man. Every year, it seems there is always at least one act who gets shafted when a much sub-par video nabs the prize.
In its 30-something years of existence, there have been plenty of VMA winners that made us truly go, “Really? This won an award?” From music videos you’ve probably never seen before to ones that clearly did not stand the test of time, here are 10 videos that totally didn’t really deserve to win a VMA.
PANIC! AT THE DISCO – “I WRITE SINS NOT TRAGEDIES”
Sure, 2006 had pretty weak contenders for Video of the Year notable ones include Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” and Madonna’s “Hung Up” but were music videos in general that year so terrible that this was considered the cream of the crop? Probably not. In fact, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” lost in every other category that it was nominated in that year. So, I ask again, was this really the best video of the year?
TAYLOR SWIFT – “YOU BELONG WITH ME”
Ah yes, the music video that launched a thousand Kanye West rants. Let face it: Even you can’t even remember this winning Best Female Video, I certainly don’t because I just had to Google: “What did ‘Single Ladies’ lose to at the VMAs” but you definitely remember that infamous Yeezy speech about Beyoncé having the best video of all time. He’s not wrong. Critics still tout “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” as one of Bey’s most iconic videos.
Meanwhile, “You Belong With Me” has basically become a footnote in think pieces about how Taylor Swift has actually spent most of early career pitting woman against woman.
JUSTIN BIEBER – “U SMILE”
How did four minutes of Justin Bieber just lazing around a theater stage beat out the visuals of Cee-Lo Green’s infectious “Fuck You,” Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie” with Rihanna, or even Bruno Mars’ dramatic “Grenade” is beyond me. There is simply nothing memorable about this pedestrian video that would make it deserve the title of Best Male Music Video of 2011. The only thing of note is that, at one point, Bieber was actually nice to his fans and allowed them to take photos of him.
LORDE – “ROYALS”
Lorde is amazing. This video is great. But is Lorde truly a “rock” act? No. The fact she won for Best Rock Video in 2014 just shows that the VMAs are a mess. It almost seems like MTV wanted to give Lorde an award, but wasn’t ready to let someone like her beat out pop princesses like Ariana Grande or Katy Perry, so they stuck her in a category where she didn’t belong just so she could win. Even Lorde agreed with the questionable decision group her with the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Linkin Park, later tweeting after her victory, “#theydontletyouchooseyourgenre #mymusicisweird“
THE CARS – “YOU MIGHT THINK”
This eked Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” in 1984 for Video of the Year. Yeah, let that sink in for a bit.
GREEN DAY – “BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS”
Out of all the music videos produced from songs off American Idiot, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” is probably the most boring one. (Like, at least “Wake Me Up When September Ends” albeit long had an actual story with plot.) Notable losers for 2005’s Video of the Year include Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks” and Gwen Stefani’s “Holla back Girl”. How Green Day won is seriously B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
BRITNEY SPEARS – “WOMANIZER”
You can’t argue that Britney Spears isn’t a VMAs icon. However, you can say that “Womanizer” is probably not her most iconic video. So how is that this somehow toppled Beyoncé‘s masterpiece that is “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” for Best Pop Video in 2009?
It simply makes no sense that “Single Ladies” nabbed the top honor of Video of the Year that same night but failed to inch out Spears in the pop category.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD – BAT COUNTRY
I know what you’re thinking: “Who?” However, MTV thought hat Avenged Seven fold are memorable enough to award them the VMA for Best New Artist in a Video in 2006, inching out Rihanna’s “SOS”. Yes, that same Rihanna that they’re presenting a Video Vanguard Award to 10 years later.
ONE DIRECTION – “WHAT MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL”
If a video of five boy banders singing on the beach can win you Best New Artist and Best Pop Video in one year, how the hell has 98 Degrees never won for anything? “What Makes You Beautiful” is the same as “Because of You“, no?
EMINEM – “WITHOUT ME”
Somehow, MTV thought this video deserved not one, not two, but four VMAs, including Video of the Year in 2002. It beat out *NSYNC’s “Gone” and The White Stripes’ “Fell in Love with a Girl”.