Coldplay turned out to be the big rock winners of Thursday’s (August 28) 20th Annual Video Music Awards, picking up three awards for “The Scientist” including best group video, best breakthrough video and best direction in a video. Good Charlotte went home with the viewer’s choice award for “Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous” and for the second year in a row Linkin Park scored the best rock video. The Queens Of The Stone Age video for “Go With The Flow” received the best Special effects award and the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” was awarded with best Editing in a video. Although they have been nominated nine other times, this is the first year Radiohead took home a VMA-the award for best art direction.
Performances were made by Coldplay who played award-winning “The Scientist” and Good Charlotte who did a version of “Anthem.” Dave Navarro played guitar for Aguilera who performed “Fighter.” But the biggest highlight of the evening was when rock legends Metallica closed the show with a montage of cover tunes from VMAs past and present including Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way,” Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” and Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” They also performed the track “Frantic” off their latest set St. Anger.
Presenters included Dave Navarro, Fred Durst, Evanescence and Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington.
Other winners of the evening included pop star Justin Timberlake and Beyonce Knowles, both picking up three awards. Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott took home the biggest award of the night, best video of the year.
The 2003 MTV Video Music Awards got off to a surprising start when Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera opened the show with a tribute to Madonna. In honor of MTV’s 20 annual event, the two pop princesses wore wedding dresses similar to what Madonna wore on the inaugural show in 1984. They danced and gyrated and rolled on the floor, just like Madonna did-and then they were joined by Madonna herself. The three sang her current hit, “Hollywood”-and then startled the audience when open-mouthed kissed both Aguilera and Spears.
Good Charlotte performed “Anthem” and were joined on-stage by dozens of girls they called “death cheerleaders.” After their performance, Chris Rock poked fun at them. “Good Charlotte-more like a mediocre Greenday, alright now.”
Good Charlotte was certainly a fan favorite, scoring this year’s viewer’s choice award. Singer Benji was really excited to win the award: “I just [expletive] in my pants. We started this band in our garage about eight years ago. Nobody in this industry would care about our band at all. We know this for a fact. If it wasn’t for the kids that come to Good Charlotte shows and go to the Warped Tour.”
Coldplay picked up three awards including best cinematography. During their performance of “The Scientist,” singer Chris Martin dedicated the song to Johnny Cash. After being announced for best group video, Martin said he was very appreciate of the award. “I know we don’t look as good as like Destiny’s Child and stuff,” Martin said. “Well maybe, actually. But, uh, everything that’s happened to us in America for the last three years has totally taken us by storm. And people we never thought would like have come out and said they appreciate us like Justin Timberlake and P. Diddy and all these people we only ever saw on TV when we were growing up ’cause we’re older than most of them, actually. But anyway, thank you very much for giving us this and we’ll see you again. Bye.”
For the second year in a row, Linkin Park picked up the award for best rock video, this year for the song “Somewhere I Belong.” Frontman Chester Bennington also introduced Beyonce Knowles’ performance and revealed the kind of music he likes. “Personally, I like a lot of different kinds of music,” Bennington said. “Depending on my mood, sometimes I listen to Pete Yorn when I’m chilling out. Metallica-if I’m feeling angry, you know what I’m saying?! And OutKast when I’m out-with my friends, you know what I mean?”
When Duran Duran joined Kelly Osbourne and Avril Lavigne on stage to help introduce the award for best dance video, the band was completely caught off-guard when they were given this year’s lifetime achievement award. Vocalist Simon Le Bon was shocked. “This is a bit of a surprise,” Le Bon said. “I gotta say thank you to all you people out here. We’ve had an amazing time over the last couple of months. We’ve been writing songs. We’ve been recording. And last night we played our first show in New York, and it really kicks ass. I love these guys. This is half the reason we got back together. The other half is out there. Thank you.”
Chris Rock’s opening monologue was full of jabs at everyone from 50 Cent to Justin Timberlake to DMX, but the comedian garnered a lot of laughs when he warned that this hasn’t been a good year for overweight Black male R&B singers. “Yo, it wasn’t a good year for fat Black singers, wasn’t a good year,” Rock said. “Barry White died. Luther Vandross had a stroke. I don’t know where Ruben Studdard is but I hope he’s eating a salad right now. The brother is named after a sandwich. He don’t stand a chance.”
The video that was expected to be a big winner, only won one. “Hurt” by 71-year-old Johnny Cash, was nominated for six VMA awards-but he was unable to attend the show after he was hospitalized with a stomach ailment earlier this week. The video won only one award.
Justin Timberlake humbly paid tribute to Johnny Cash, saying: “My grandfather raised me on Johnny Cash-I’m from Tennessee (applause)-and I think he deserves this more than any of us in here tonight. So, I guess in some cool way, I share this award with him, and he deserves a round of applause.”
A.F.I. took home the award for best MTV2 award at Thursday’s (August 28) Video Music Awards for “Girls Not Grey.” Lead singer Davey Havok revealed backstage that he was surprised to win the award. “To win was absolutely amazing,” Havok said. “I mean, it’s just really exciting. And you now, I’m going to have a little Moon Man, which is really, really exciting. You know something that you never thought you’d have and not many people have the opportunity to do. So, it’s just really, really great.”
The following is a list of some of Chris Rock’s best lines from the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards:
“Our next presenter saves a lot of money on Mother’s Day. Give it up for Eminem!”
“You’ll be hearing those songs at strip clubs for years to come” – after Christina Aguilera performed “Dirrty.”
“Our next presenter is being sued by more people than the Catholic church. Give it up for P. Diddy!”
“Seeing Janet Jackson with Jermaine Dupri is like finding out about a sale a day too late” – on the romance between the bombshell Jackson and the diminutive hip-hopper.
“Wow, I hope you didn’t slit your wrists to that one” – after Coldplay’s somber performance.
“Doesn’t Lil’ Jon look like a black Cousin It?” – on the super-dreadlocked “Get Low” rapper.
“She might have had a little Seabiscuit in the hair, but she was kickin’!” – after a big haired performance by Beyonce.