I just finished watching the 2011 VMAs off the DVR. For my faith-market friends, I’m talking about show quality here, not song content or cultural value… I’m not expecting faith-friendly content from an MTV awards show. Why would anyone?

Finally, MTV got their act together on the production of this awards show.  It has s-u-c-k-e-d for the last several years. Not so this year.  The stage set up was truly outstanding. The audio was great. The stage production and lighting for Pitbull, Ne-Yo and Nayer was particularly well done.

The bumper songs in and out of the commercials were great. Not sure who the gal on vocals was, but she did a really great job. They should have captioned her on the screen a few times. I couldn’t find out on Google, so if you know, please post it in the comments below. She deserves credit. Was that  a Blade Runner costume?

MTV finally figured out that their show hosts were abysmal, and wisely didn’t have one this year. I guess they figured out that Chelsey Handler with the Jersey Shore knuckleheads in a hot tub was finally rock bottom last year, though of course the JS k-heads were back this year. You know it’s a trainwreck, but you can look away from the horror.

The Amy Winehouse tribute was pretty good though rushed a bit. Russell Brand as the tribute host was an interesting choice.  In the beginning you are waiting for a punchline. The show almost addressed that there are issues with an alcohol/drugs lifestyle. They stopped short of doing anything about it.  It would have been a great moment for them to have Mitch Winehouse (Amy’s Dad) there in spite of the name issues he’s facing with the foundation, or for some other non-profit partner.  Where was Dr. Drew with a PSA? Where was TWLOHA or even My Broken Palace?

Most of the performances were decent. Chris Brown’s dance number was great. I don’t think he could have sung it. He got a warmer audience reception that I expected. Gaga’s character was interesting for a while, but wore out later on, however her performance with Brian May was fun.  Young the Giant really nailed it.  Beyonce’s old school vocal song lacked her typical flash, but the pregnancy announcement was another fun moment. The Britney retrospective was decent, but they should have brought in Heather Morris for a cameo there.

Of course, I’m always watching for a good sponsor moment in these shows. Kia took the honor for best commercial with their spot for the Kia Soul during the show. Watch it at http://youtu.be/4zJWA3Vo6TU. Gotta love the Hamster crew shufflin’ to LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem.”

No nods to the faith-oriented side of the music market this year, but I wasn’t expecting anything.