Showbiz Commentary: Heidi Oringer

Kid Rock said the "F" word. As for what I gleaned from the rest of the MTV Video Music Awards, I'm not quite sure yet.

Well, there was the Michael Jackson special appearance during N'Sync's performance of "Pop," a video which garnered the group four Moon Man statuettes, including Viewer's Choice, Best Pop, Group and Dance Video.

Michael burst through a screen near the end of the song and performed a quick dance number. Many were surprised. I was not, as it had already been leaked to the press. (Guess I'll have to wait to be surprised at Christmas). I was surprised, however, to see that Michael looked slightly less frightening.

Jackson apparently had some locks cut, substituting his recent Marlo Thomas look for a more macho Bon Jovi-esque shag cut. Overall, it made him look more like a male — well, a male freakazoid.

Hail, Hail Fatboy

OK, enough of my confusion and disdain over the sexual identity of M.J., and back to my confusion and disdain for MTV.

The big winner of the evening was Fatboy Slim for the video "Weapon of Choice." It garnered six awards, but most were in the professional categories like Best Direction for Spike Jonze, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Breakthrough Video, and so on.

The crowning achievement for this video — and what made it stand above the rest — was having an unusual filmmaker like Jonze direct the thing and also to have an animated celebrity like Christopher Walken, who always gives an awkward yet stellar performance, as the star. He has now catapulted himself to stardom once again, introducing his strange and difficult-to-understand persona to a whole new generation.

Foxx Not Funny

The host, Jamie Foxx, shot off a series of zingers and one-liners strictly meant to offend. He focused on controversial topics that clearly wouldn't appeal to a young MTV audience.

He started with weak jokes about President Bush and Gary Condit, and later offered the Backstreet Boys a bottle of champagne as a knock at member A.J. McLean's recent stint in rehab.

At another point, he invited onstage an adult in an undersized baseball uniform to pose as disgraced Little League pitcher Danny Almonte.

But not to worry, because for those who didn't appreciate Foxx's humor or N'Sync's popness, there were the countless appearances and performances by today's hottest hip hop and rap stars.

Some Dribble Basketballs, Others Just Dribble

Missy Elliott "got her freak on," performing her song of nearly the same title ("Get Ur Freak On") with Ludacris and Nelly Fertado, among others. If that didn't get your groove going enough, there was also J. Lo and Ja Rule doing "Unreal" and Jay Z's "H to the Izo" song.

Z was backed by dancers dribbling basketballs (that's what I call impressive multi-tasking), and scantily clad cheerleaders who made male audience members dribble. The "songs" were fast-paced and loud. The performers' proudly allowed their spit to fly about. As for what they actually sang, I'd need liner notes to tell you for sure.

Britney as a Transvestite Tarzan

There was some humor that was actually meant for the young and old to enjoy. Comedian Andy Dick dressed as Daphne Aguilera, a pop diva with a bad attitude. Clad in a blond ponytail wig, hot pink shorts that said "Do Me" on the back and a little tank top, Dick proceeded to have a hissy fit on stage.

He called his dancers the "b" word (used for female dogs) and then marched into the audience where he told Christina Aguilera, "I was singing and dancing before you were a twinkle in your pappy's sack." It was a gritty and oversized take on what has become the pop cat-fight of the century between Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson and the rest of the under-25-years-and-110-pound set.

Another funny and in-your-face comic moment came when "Triumph The Insult Comic Dog" appeared (courtesy of the Conan O'Brien Show). He popped up in the audience next to Carson Daly and made some off-color jokes about his successes with women. Triumph then moseyed over (if a puppet can do that with a hand up its backside) to J. Lo and declared that he wanted to sniff her butt. Everyone seemed to enjoy that, especially Puff Daddy or P. Diddy or whatever it is he's calling himself.

Ben Stiller came onstage to rag on Puffy about changing his name so many times. He even called him "Puff the Magic Diddy," which everyone found amusing.

I thought the show had some overall sense of decorum until Britney Spears showed up dressed like a transvestite Tarzan to perform her new song, "I'm A Slave 4 U." She lip-synched the whole time, never even trying to get her mouth moving with the words. I've seen more precise synching in Godzilla movies. She barely spent any time with the live cheetahs (especially after the recent PETA/cheetah controversy) and the boa constrictor she had wrapped around her neck was clearly on downers as it was so non-threatening I actually heard it snore.

A Time When MTV Made Sense (to Me)

So with a show that had that many elements, I am left to wonder: exactly who is the MTV generation? If it's made up of the kids watching now, they are very different from the kids who watched when MTV first started. When MTV first started you could understand the words to the songs. The videos went along with the songs like they were telling a story. And the band that sang the song spelled their name the way the dictionary spelled the word and not by the way it sounded. (i.e., Linkin Park and Staind).

My answer, of course, would be that the current members of the MTV Generation are those that thought the show kicked butt, rocked, was exc-hell-ent and those that will tell me that Britney Spears' performance was the greatest thing that was ever broadcast on television.

They're also the same people who 20 years from now will say, "Who still watches MTV?"

Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.