Remember those 2009 VMAs when Kanye West stormed the stage, took the mike from Taylor Swift who had just won Best Female Video for “You Belong With Me” and slurred, “Imma let you finish… but Beyonce had one of the best music videos of all time.” You’d be forgiven for forgetting that Beyonce actually won Video of the Year later that night for “Single Ladies” while Swift was not even nominated. This year for the first time ever, Swift and Beyonce face off for this top award.
Our official Gold Derby odds have Swift far out in front at 8/15 to win for her collaboration with Kendrick Lamar on “Bad Blood” while Beyonce is back in fourth place with odds of 14/1 to take home a bookend with “7 11.” In between our Marc Ronson and Bruno Mars with “Uptown Funk” (11/2) and Ed Sheeran at 12/1 for “Thinking Out Loud.” Rounding out the race at 25/1 is Lamar soloing on “Alright.”
To help you make your predictions in our contest, my ‘Screen Verdict’ podcasting partner Jonathan Cooke and I review all five nominees. Take a listen to our countdown here or at the bottom of this post and then cast your ballot as which of these contenders will win Video of the Year using our easy drag-and-drop menu.
1. “Bad Blood” – Taylor Swift f/ Kendrick Lamar (odds: 8/15)
Swift opens this video fighting blindfolded businessmen in an office. Don’t worry she still has time to put her lipstick on. She is fighting under the alias ‘Catastrophe’ and every subsequent character has a name pop up on screen worthy of a ‘World of Warcraft’ avatar. And there are plenty of them as a new one is introduced every 14 seconds. Selena Gomez or ‘Arsyn’ then pops up and kicks Swift out a window. The rest of the music video sees Swift training with her heavily armed friends. There are plenty of playthings like a pug dog, a teddy bear and motorcycles in this futuristic training lair. The video ends with Swift and Gomez approaching each other in front of fire; they hit each other and it cuts to black. This video is a heavily produced, star-studded production showcasing the most buzzed- about singer with a huge song. She is going to be so hard to beat.
2. “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson f/ Bruno Mars (odds: 11/2)
Mars must be one of the the most heavily used featured artist in the history of music videos. This song was played on the radio so much it’s no surprise that it is the likeliest to take down Swift. In the video, we have Mars hanging with his friends when they see a lady they like walk past. They start dancing and singing the song but not to her as she’s already walked past. Ronson rocks up with a limo, they get their shoes polished, hair done and head to a club to perform. It’s fun and well edited. If voters aren’t sick of the song, it could pull off an upset.
3. “Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran (odds: 12/1)
If you like “Dancing with the Stars” you will love this! Sheeran is more famous than any star on that show and this video is pretty much just him ballroom dancing with a professional dancer. The ballroom is empty but the guy who operates the lights hasn’t gone home yet so there is elaborate lighting changes to go with the dance. It looks good but I can’t see him taking it out either of the videos ranked ahead of him.
4. “7/11” – Beyonce (odds: 14/1)
Not much story to this music video which has gone for the homemade movie vibe. Beyonce is just dancing around an apartment in a sweater and underwear. This left me confused as to whether she’s cold or hot. After a while some friends join her and they roll dice, spill drinks, make human pyramids. At one point Beyonce even jumps out of a wrapped gift box. This doesn’t seem like a winner but it does stand out from the other entrants. And never count out Beyonce, who has won 15 of her 53 MTV VMA bids and was honored with the Vanguard Award last year.
5. “Alright” – Kendrick Lamar (odds: 25/1)
This video deals with important themes in addressing the criminal justice system for minorities. If it was just the industry voting perhaps this could win, but on a popular vote the song probably doesn’t have enough buzz. However, if Swift wins, Lamar will too as he is the featured artist.
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Last year, our Editors, Users and Top 24 Users all tied with an accuracy rate of 37.50%, so we’re all hoping for redemption this time around. (Click on any of those groups to see what they got right and wrong last year.)
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