VMAs 2015: Best Choreography


You may have heard about the Taylor vs. Nicki tussle last week.  Nicki’s tweets did not address Taylor specifically, but they did address a very specific issue:  the Video Music Award for best choreography.

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Now, it’s been a while since I’d seen “Anaconda”, so the choreography wasn’t super fresh in my mind.   I thought I’d take a little tour of the Best Choreography nominees, plus “Anaconda”.  My experience was so gosh darn great, I want to share it. Here are the nominees, in the order that allows for Maximum Awesomeness:

1. “Don’t”, Ed Sheeran, Dir. Emil Nava

I saw this and went, “What?  Ed dances?”  He does not dance.  Shy Ed opts for only a cameo appearance in his music video.  The dancer (Philiph Chbeeb of America’s Best Dance Crew’s I.aM.mE) dances from poverty to wealth via increasingly more expensive houses on a sunny afternoon.

2. “Never Catch  Me”, Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, Dir. Hiro Murai

Fresh off producer Flying Lotus’ LP You’re Dead!, “Never Catch Me” resurrects a black boy and girl at a double funeral.  They dance out of the caskets, into a hearse, and drive away.

3.  “Gold”, Chet Faker, Dir. Hiro Murai

I call this the sleeper hit of the Best Choreography category.  One continuous shot follows three rollerskating divas as they dance/ roller skate down a street at night.  Very cool except for the obligatory artist shot which features Chet Faker and a dead animal.

4. “7/11”, Beyonce, Dir. Beyonce (?)

7/11 received 5 nominations.  I’m not sure who choreographed this, but it looks like Bey and her backup dancers cut loose in a hotel and recorded it with an iPhone.

5. “I Won’t Let You Down”, OK Go, Dir. Damian Kulash and Kazyaki Seki

I saved OK Go’s video for last, because I knew it would be mind- blowingly awesome.  OK Go uses their traditional one- shot take (see also:  Here It Goes Again and This Too Shall Pass); this time, they mounted a camera to a drone helicopter to shoot the video. The band (and hundreds of extras) use Honda UNI-CUBs (they’re like sitting Segways) and umbrellas a for an incredibly choreographed video, concluding with a group message you can see from space.  AMAZING.

“Anaconda”, Nicki Minaj, Dir. Colin Tilley

I love this video.  I understood Nicki’s frustration in seeing it snubbed for Video of the Year.  This video had the standing record for most views in 24 hours before Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” came along.  I couldn’t remember much choreography, save for much luscious booty shaking, but upon a rewatch I realized it actually has some seriously good moves.  This video brings me a special kind of joy usually reserved for  Lady Gaga’s Fame Monster videos.  You won Video of the Year in my heart, Nicki!

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