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2009 MTV Video Music Awards
2009 MTV Music Video Awards.png
Date September 13, 2009
Venue(s) Radio City Music Hall
Host(s) Russell Brand
Network MTV and VH1

The 2009 MTV Video Music Awards took place on September 13, 2009 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Comedian Russell Brand hosted the event for the second time in a row. Madonna opened the show with a speech about Michael Jackson. Janet Jackson made an appearance at the VMAs to pay musical tribute to her late brother and honor his career.[1]

On August 4, the nominees were announced. Beyoncé and Lady Gaga led the pack with 9 nominations each, closely followed by Britney Spears with 7.[2] Beyoncé, Green Day and Lady Gaga got 3 awards each, the most of the VMAs.

The show was watched by a total of 9 million people, a 17% increase over 2008's show and the biggest ratings since the 2004 award show. This year was also the first year since 2006 to return to the Radio City Music Hall for the awards and unlike last year, where the show was held in a warehouse, this show was at a real venue with a live audience.[3][4]



Winners are in bold text.

Video of the Year

Best Male Video

Best Female Video

Best New Artist

Best Pop Video

Best Rock Video

Best Hip-Hop Video

Breakthrough Video

Best Direction in a Video

Best Choreography in a Video

Best Special Effects in a Video

Best Art Direction in a Video

Best Editing in a Video

Best Cinematography in a Video

Best Video (That Should Have Won a Moonman)

Best Performance in a Pepsi Rock Band Video

Best Breakout Artist Awards

Eight local "MTV VMA Best Breakout Artist Awards" were awarded. The table below lists the number of bands considered in each city, the three finalist nominees selected by MTV for each VMA, and the winner in bold:[6][7] The winners were featured on MTV on local cable during the live VMAs and received featured coverage on MTV and MTV2 (or MTV Tr3́s in the case of the LA contest).[6] The winners did not receive a moonman.[citation needed] Neither the awards nor the winners were listed on the "Winners" page, nor were they mentioned elsewhere on[8]

New York City Bay Area Atlanta Chicago Boston Philadelphia Washington, DC Los Angeles
  • MeTalkPretty
  • Red Directors
  • The Shells

of over 190 entries
Presented by

Time Warner Cable and MTV2[6]
  • The New Broken
  • Oona
  • Picture Me Broken

of 129 entries
Presented by

Comcast and MTV2[9]
  • Holla Front
  • Rantings of Eva
  • Tone G

of over 150 entries
Presented by

Comcast and MTV2[10]
  • Andrew Belle
  • The Lifeline
  • Stop Goodnoise

of over 150 entries
Presented by

Comcast and MTV2[11]
  • Air Traffic Controller
  • Gentlemen Hall
  • Twin Berlin

of over 150 entries
Presented by

Comcast and MTV2[12]
  • Atlantic Avenue
  • DaCav5
  • Rushmore

of over 150 entries
Presented by

Comcast and MTV2[13]
  • RAtheMC
  • Frank Sirius

of over 170 entries
Presented by

Comcast and MTV2[14]
  • La Banda Skalavera
  • No Way Jose
  • South Central Skankers

of 116 entries
Presented by

Time Warner Cable and MTV Tr3́s[15]


The house band was rapper Wale and go-go band UCB. The following performed along with the band:


Kanye West controversy and debated incidents

West taking the microphone from Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.

While Taylor Swift was making her acceptance speech for winning Best Female Video for "You Belong with Me", Kanye West got onto the stage and interrupted her; he took her microphone, saying: "Yo Tay, I'm really happy for you and I'mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time.", referring to the music video of "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)". Beyoncé looked shocked, and West was then booed by the audience.[20] Angered, he flipped off the crowd.[21][22] During the commercial break, singer Pink walked by the rapper and reportedly shook her head in disgust.[23] West was later removed from the remainder of the show.[21][22] After Beyoncé won Video of the Year, she asked Swift to come on stage to complete her speech.[24][25] Later, West apologized on his blog (which he later removed).[26]

On the day after the awards, "Taylor Swift", "VMAs", "Kanye's" and "Beyoncé" were top trending topics on Twitter.[21] Various celebrities and industry figures, including Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Spencer Pratt, Heidi Montag, Katy Perry, Joel Madden, Adam Lambert, Kellie Pickler, Ryan Seacrest, Jeremy Fall, Dane Cook, and Audrey Kitching, spoke out about the incident through Twitter[27] and other outlets, condemning West for the verbal outburst.[21][28] Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton said, "Taylor Swift deserved that award, damnit [sic]. It is what THE PEOPLE voted! My heart broke for her, she looked so sad at the end of that moment."[21] Rapper 50 Cent, who has a history of feuding with West, said winning the award was Swift's special moment that night and that West took it away. "Even an apology can't replace what it feels like for the very first time receiving that award. Now in her head, My first award was Kanye West. And it's damaging," he said.[29] Donald Trump called for a boycott on West.[30]

In what was an off the record part of an interview, the incident received condemnation from even U.S. President Barack Obama, who had invited West to perform at the Youth Inaugural Ball in January.[31][32][33] TMZ later obtained audio of the comment.[34] "You know, it was like, she's getting an award and what are you butting in? ...The young lady seems like a perfectly nice person, she's getting her award and what's he doing up there? He's a jackass," said Obama.[32][33] The "off the air" comment forced ABC, whose news anchor Terry Moran leaked the information, to issue an apology after the Internet quickly "became abuzz over the stunning remark".[31][32][33] Additionally, West was criticized by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter for the outburst.[35] The day following his outburst, West posted a second apology on his blog;[36][26] he appeared on The Jay Leno Show later that night, where he delivered another apology to Swift which was met with cheers from the crowd.[37] "Dealing with the fact that I hurt someone or took anything away, you know, from a talented artist—or from anyone—because I only wanted to help people," he said. "...My entire life, I've only wanted to do and give something that I felt was right and I immediately knew in this situation that it was wrong."[37] He became emotional, seemingly tearing up, when questioned what his late mother would have thought of the incident.[37][38]

Emil Wilbekin, managing editor of, said West may have gone too far with his antics this time. "I think that it was not Kanye's place to speak for Beyoncé or to ruin Taylor Swift's moment," said Wilbekin. "It's OK for Kanye to rattle off about himself, but I think he crossed the line when he decided to speak for other people."[21] Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times said that "from one vantage point, it was a case of chivalry gone horribly wrong" as West meant to "stand up for" Beyoncé.[39] She added that when Swift accepted Beyoncé's invitation to return to the stage, "The two women [engaged in] a quick sisterly embrace, adding another layer of meaning to an already complicated moment. Now this controversy was about women sticking up for each other, too."[39]

On September 15, 2009, two days after the outburst, Swift talked about the matter on The View. Asked what she was thinking the moment it happened, she stated:

Well, I think my overall thought process was something like, 'Wow, I can't believe I won, this is awesome, don't trip and fall, I'm gonna get to thank the fans, this is so cool. Oh, Kanye West is here. Cool haircut. What are you doing there?' And then, 'Ouch.' And then, 'I guess I'm not gonna get to thank the fans.'[40][41]

Swift described how she had to get over the shock quickly. "You know, I'm not gonna say that I wasn't rattled by it," she said. "But I had to perform live five minutes later, so I had to get myself back to the place where I could perform."[40] She said that West had not spoken to her following the incident.[41] Following Swift's appearance on The View, West contacted her to apologize personally; Swift said she accepted his apology.[41][42] The night of the awards show, Swift became the first country music artist to win an MTV Video Music Award.[42]

West's outburst resulted in an Internet meme which saw images of West being superimposed onto other images alongside text in the style of his VMA outburst ("X is one of the greatest Y of all time", or variants thereon, in some cases preceded by "I'm really happy for you" and/or "I'mma let you finish").[43]

The incident was parodied at the 2009 Country Music Association Awards, in which after Swift won the award for Music Video of the Year, Carrie Underwood, who was hosting the awards with Brad Paisley, told Paisley that she thought his video for "Welcome to the Future" was a great video as well. Paisley thanked her and then thanked his producers for the video, at which time singer Little Jimmy Dickens stepped on the stage and pushed Brad Paisley away from the microphone, saying, "Excuse me. Excuse me, sir. Excuse me, I'll let you finish later. Now, Brad Paisley, I know you had a nice video and all that, but Taylor Swift had the best video of all time. You go girl!" Swift laughed in her seat. Paisley then remarked, "What kind of security do we have if a 4'9" 88-year old man gets by it?" Earlier in the awards show, Underwood and Paisley's monologue was a duet paying tribute to the song "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys", in which the first line was "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Kanye". Additionally, when Taylor Swift hosted Saturday Night Live, one part of her monologue (which was done in the form of a song ostensibly about all the things that she was not going to talk about) included Bill Hader and Jason Sudeikis as security men charged with preventing Kanye West from coming on stage. She closed her monologue by saying "Kanye West is not here."[44]

In addition to the West controversy, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys were performing "Empire State of Mind", but towards the end of their performance, Lil Mama jumped and danced on the stage uninvited. She soon later issued an apology.[45]


  1. ^ Janet Jackson To Pay Tribute To Michael At The VMAs. Retrieved on Sep 8, 2009.
  2. ^ Anitai, Tamar. "VMAs 2009: The Nominations Have Been Announced! Lady Gaga & Beyonce 9 Nominations Trump Britney's 7". MTV Buzzworthy. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  3. ^ MTV's 2009 VMAS Pull Nine Million Viewers, Best ratings since '04, Rolling Stone. 2009.
  4. ^ 2009 VMAs Ratings Up 17%, 2009.
  5. ^ "2009 MTV Video Music Award winners". MTV. 
  6. ^ a b c MTV VMA Best Breakout NYC Artist|
  7. ^ "MTV Local Music Contests". OurStage. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  8. ^ See 2009 MTV Video Music Awards | Winners | Searching for "Best Breakout" produces no hits for 2009. And for example searching for "MeTalkPretty" produces no hits.
  9. ^ MTV VMA Best Breakout Bay Area Artist |
  10. ^ MTV VMA Best Breakout Atlanta Artist |
  11. ^ MTV VMA Best Breakout Chicago Artist |
  12. ^ MTV VMA Best Breakout Boston Artist |
  13. ^ MTV VMA Best Breakout Philly Artist |
  14. ^ MTV VMA Best Breakout DC Artist |
  15. ^ MTV Tr3s Best Breakout LA Artist |
  16. ^ "Janet Jackson Planning Spectacular VMA Tribute to Michael - OK! Magazine - The First for Celebrity News". Archived from the original on 2009-09-10. Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  17. ^ Vena, Jocelyn. "Taylor Swift Promises 'Theatrics' For 2009 VMA Performance". MTV News. Retrieved 2009-07-14. 
  18. ^ 2009 MTV VMA Guest List
  19. ^ Vena, Jocelyn. "Beyonce, Solange Still Looking For Perfect VMA Outfits". MTV News. Retrieved 2009-09-11. 
  20. ^ Kanye West Crashes VMA Stage During Taylor Swift's Award Speech‎
  21. ^ a b c d e f Respers, Lisa (2009-09-14). "Anger over West's disruption at MTV awards". CNN. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  22. ^ a b "Kanye West Storms the VMAs Stage During Taylor Swift's Speech". Rolling Stone. 2009-09-13. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  23. ^ Kanye West Crashes VMA Stage During Taylor Swift's Award Speech. Kanye continues his history of onstage award-show rants, 2009.
  24. ^ "Beyonce Knowles Gives Taylor Swift 'Her Moment'". Archived from the original on 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2009-09-14. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ a b Todd Martens and Yvonne Villarreal (2009-09-15). "Kanye West expresses Swift regret on blog and 'The Jay Leno Show'". Los Angeles Times.,0,4346169.story. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  27. ^
  28. ^ Celebs Tweet Support For Taylor, Perez 2009.
  29. ^ "50 Cent Slams Kanye West For VMA Outburst". MTV. 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  30. ^ "Adam Lambert, Donald Trump, Joe Jackson Slam Kanye West's VMA Stunt". MTV. 2009-09-13. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  31. ^ a b Obama calls Kayne 'jackass', The Politico. 2009.
  32. ^ a b c "Audio: President Obama Calls Kanye West a 'Jackass'". People. 2009-09-15.,,20302940_20304704,00.html. Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  33. ^ a b c "Obama Calls Kanye West a 'Jackass'". Fox News. 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  34. ^ Obama calls Kanye a Jackass, TMZ. 2009.
  35. ^ "Jimmy Carter weighs in on Kanye West's VMA stunt". CNN. 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  36. ^ "kanYe West : Blog :". Archived from the original on 2009-09-17. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  37. ^ a b c Kanye West Tells Jay Leno He's 'Ashamed' Of VMA Outburst, MTV. 2009.
  38. ^ 103.5 Kiss FM
  39. ^ a b Powers, Ann (2009-09-14). "Beyonce and Taylor Swift: Sisterhood is powerful, especially when male-directed". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  40. ^ a b Vena, Jocelyn (2009-09-15). "Taylor Swift Tells 'The View' Kanye West Hasn't Contacted Her. The country star discusses her reaction to the VMA incident.". MTV. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  41. ^ a b c "Taylor Swift visits 'The View,' accepts Kanye apology". New York Post. 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  42. ^ a b "Kanye calls Taylor Swift after ‘View’ appearance". The Associated Press/MSNBC. 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  43. ^ Anderson, Kyle (2009-09-16). "Kanye West's VMA Interruption Gives Birth To Internet Photo Meme". MTV. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  44. ^ Saturday Night Live: Taylor Swift monologue. Season 35, Episode 1559. Originally aired on Nov. 7, 2009
  45. ^ Exclusive: Lil Mama Apologizes For Crashing Jay-Z's VMA Performance, MTV. 2009.

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