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Miley Cyrus is the big VMA winner, in more ways than one

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The big winner last night at MTV’s Video Music Awards? Miley Cyrus.

She wisely stepped aside performance-wise and let the others do the twerking, foremost among them Nicki Minaj and Beyonce.

Cyrus also pulled a Brando in having a homeless man come up to accept her Video of the Year award for “Wrecking Ball,” giving her the chance to inject a tone of social relevance to the commercialized excess, not to mention keeping her lolling tongue in place. So what no one else seemed to care.

Kim Kardashian and the Jenner sisters didn’t seem to care much, either, for Common’s unexpected call for a moment of silence for Michael Brown. Must have been a buzzkill for them, as they were busy texting during it. Then again, who in the MTV audience knows who Michael Brown is, let alone James Baldwin, who was curiously quoted in an MTV commercial.

Luckily, the moment of silence lasted barely a moment—and was directly followed by the Best Hip-hop Video Award.

Speaking of Kardashian, it’s unclear who suffered worse from VMA crowd-reaction shot overexposure—she or Taylor Swift. And as for Swift, who always comes off contrived in these settings, her huge “Shake It Off” production number, in support of her just-released first single from her “first” pop album, pretty much represented a final loss of red-lipped innocence: After a big buildup, she chickened out on jumping into the outstretched arms of her backup dancers, while the reaction-shot camera caught Cyrus forcing a smile, along with an indifferent Gwen Stefani.

As for the rest of the show, when you have to ask yourself how Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj and Jessie J could possibly hit all their notes live while prancing about the stage during the show’s opening spectacle, well, the answer is, they probably couldn’t—and didn’t. And what’s with the spiral walkway to the award pickup? Oh, just more means of low-fiving the shills upfront!

And let’s be honest: The Beyonce climax was truly interminable. Even Blue Ivy looked bored.

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