Funniest Presentation: No, not Chris Rock. Jim Carrey, a late addition to the lineup, asked the audience, "Can anyone tell me what the hell I'm doing here?" Acknowledging his utter lack of music industry connection, he broke into a credible bit of Jesus Christ Superstar and introduced Eminem's performance, saying, "He scares me a little. I've got to be honest. I enjoy his music, but he scares me. His lyrics are totally socially unacceptable, but, you know what? I think if we spend some time with our kids, we'll be OK."
Worst Presentation: Ugh, the teaming of WWF's Chynna and Survivor's Richard Hatch. Banal and unfunny, Hatch was unsuited to the live camera, and the pair deteriorated into a bit of faux wrestling that was truly unimpressive.
Most Inappropriate Presentation: … And the award goes to Robert De Niro, who was there only to plug his upcoming film, Meet the Parents. Hey, he's a great actor, but he stumbled over the titles to "Thong Song" and "Californication," the only two videos he actually had to mention.
Best Presentation: Destiny's Child and Wyclef Jean began by following cue cards, Jean asking if he could become the fourth member of the now three-part act. As he began singing "Say My Name" terribly, the members of Destiny's Child joined in, and you could actually see him decide to drop back, and out, of the performance. The trio finished the song together, sounding even better than on their studio version.
Share the Wealth: Napster founder Sean Fanning introduced Britney Spears' performance with Carson Daly, wearing a Metallica T-shirt. Drummer Lars Ulrich, sitting in the crowd, could be seen either wincing in pain or nodding off.
Worst Actor: The aforementioned Ulrich, who joined Marlon Wayans in a Napster sendup, invading a college student's dorm room and relieving him of everything he had — including his girlfriend — in the name of "sharing."
Biggest Soy Bomber: Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim C showed up unexpectedly as Limp Bizkit accepted its Best Rock Video Award. Behind the podium was a 15-foot tall structure that began shaking as Fred Durst began his acceptance speech; all eyes quickly went to the top, on which the bassist was sitting and grinning maniacally. "Stage dive, dude," advised Durst, as security quickly arrived, the telecast cut away, and the Wayans brothers proclaimed, "They are going to kick his ass!"
Quickest Quick Change: Like her or not, Britney Spears can get out of her clothes in a jiffy. She began her performance wearing a sequined suit and a fedora, doing an overly dramatic rendition of "Satisfaction." But as "Oops! … I Did It Again" kicked in, she flew out of her clothing, revealing a skintight, flesh-colored body suit and some grinding hip action that prompted Marlon Wayans to later say, "She's gone from the Mickey Mouse Club to the strip club!"
Most Revealing Outfit: Lil' Kim's spider-web dress couldn't compare to the considerably more classy Toni Braxton, who was definitely not wearing a bra under that wide-open jacket.
Biggest Surprise: Whitney Houston, who took the stage to present the Best Video of the Year Award.
Most Surprising Pairing: Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears, who introduced Houston.
Best Backing Group: Blink-182 closed out the show, performing "All the Small Things," accompanied by an enormous group of tattooed midgets and dwarves, bouncing on trampolines, suspended on bungees, crowd surfing, and wrapping things up with a more-than-unrespectable kick line. Apparently, rock and roll will never die. — Anders Wright
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