September 10, 2008

Vmas the Hottest Ticket in Town


Everyone loves a good comeback and Britney Spears put an exclamation point on hers Sunday night at the MTV Video Music Awards.

It was mighty good to see.

A year after hitting rock bottom with a disastrously unsteady performance at last year's show, a pulled-together Britney kicked off the night with these welcome remarks: "Thank you so much. Thank you for all the love. I'm here tonight to celebrate a very important birthday, the 25th anniversary of the VMAs. This is the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards and it starts right now."

But there was more. Britney won the night's first award for Best Female Video for the song "Piece of Me" and took the stage to thank God and her family.

I didn't see Britney on the red carpet before the show at Paramount Studios, or many of the other big stars there like Christina Aguilera, Kanye West, the Jonas Brothers or Michael Phelps, for that matter. But I did see Zac Efron whiz by, and John Legend, Ludacris, Chris Brown and Kid Rock were about six inches from me at one point.

So close, and yet ...

But hey, I chatted with someone who probably has more money than all of those people combined: Sumner Redstone, the chairman of Viacom, which owns MTV, Paramount Pictures, etc.

I wondered how it felt for him to be at the VMAs since in some ways, "You're in charge of all this."

"Well, sorta," he said, smiling. "I love coming here. It's always the hottest ticket in town. You get to see the stars. When you see the stars, you see a cultural event that we brought and we make a lot of money doing this. That counts too!"

I did managed to have a word with members of the band Paramore, music producer Jermaine Dupre, Heavy D and Corbin Bleu of "High School Musical" fame. But mainly it was reality show central around my tape recorder. I chatted up Brody Jenner, a guy named Fatman Scoop and his wife, Shanda, Brooke Hogan and, of course, Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt.

"We just got to hang out with Young Jeezy," Spencer told me. "It's not too often we get to hang out with Young Jeezy."

"And Rihanna! And the Jonas Brothers!" interjected Heidi.

I remarked: "And they got to hang out with you!"

Brooke, whose family has been in the headlines for all sorts of unfortunate reasons in recent months, showed up like a million bucks but insisted that it only took her a half hour to get ready for the big night.

"I was in Macy's an hour ago," she said. "I'm just coming here because everyone's saying, 'You should come to the VMAs and see and be seen and stuff.' And I'm like, I really just want to sit on my couch and eat cereal and watch 'SpongeBob SquarePants.'"

But Brooke was glad to give up the cartoons for a night to cheer on Britney Spears: "She's had such an amazing career and so many ups and downs and stuff, it'll be nice to see her back on her feet."

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