Comeback Kids

The MTV Video Music Awards, held for the first time in our very own Las Vegas at the Palms, didn’t fall short on entertainment value. Between the Kid Rock, Tommy Lee tussle and Britney Spears’ comeback — or is that go away? — performance, the show definitely lived up to the anything-goes Las Vegas expectations. And so did the fashions.

The guys — including T.i., Ludacris, Justin Timberlake, Common, 50 Cent, Shia LeBeouf and a handful of others — managed to pull out some of their finest tricks. For the women, a few pleasant surprises surfaced such as Paris Hilton and Mary J. Blige, who strayed from her over-the-top reputation in favor of a subdued, streamlined look.

As always, a few artists kept things interesting with the kinds of ensembles that would garner an approving nod from Björk and her ill-fated swan. Perez Hilton arrived in plaid shorts and a hot pink coif while MTV reporter John Norris donned eyeliner thicker than Alicia Keys’ thighs looked on stage in a pair of skin-tight black pants.

Since MTV planned to keep what happens in Vegas in Vegas by not running the show over and over until you have it memorized, we thought you should see the fashions that you missed. Here’s a look at our best and worst picks from this year’s show.

GARZA’S BEST

Paris Hilton: Yes, you read that right. The heiress finally makes a cameo on the best list. That’s what happens when you take out the Rapunzel extensions and skip that 10th spray tan. The exquisite coif that channeled Marilyn Monroe, creamy skin tone and fierce Dolce & Gabbana number are a far cry from the biker ballerina look she donned at last year’s VMAs. And by far cry we mean much less trampy.

Jennifer Garner: Us Weekly may catch her sans makeup in sweatshirts and jeans in every issue, but when it’s time to clean up, Mrs. Affleck doesn’t mess around. Here, her tousled hair, smoky eyes and simple, yet sexy white frock with metallic detail pump up the volume to just the right MTV frequency.

Alicia Keys: What a hit. The shiny shoulders, slicked-back braid and leather V-form down the middle of her strapless dress pull together a look as sultry as Keys’ voice.

GARZA’S WORST:

Britney Spears: It wasn’t enough to put on a performance that had the entire audience waiting for Ashton Kutcher to pop out. Spears had to dress the part of the biggest disappointment of the night, too. This tiny, glittery two-piece number would have made sense if her song was titled “Gimme More Jello Jigglers.” And note to Brit: If you can’t walk in the stiletto boots, chances are you won’t be able to dance in them, either.

Beyoncé Knowles: Draping details usually work best on long, lean figures. If your rear can’t comfortably slide between chairs while making your way to the stage, you probably don’t qualify as long and lean. Plus, the plunge of Knowles’ neckline had us anticipating the sequel to Nipplegate.

Alicia Keys: What a miss. Someone clearly forgot her Spanx. Keys’ backside in these painted on pants was about as smooth as Spears’ performance.

STAPLETON’S BEST

Rihanna: You would have thought that the VMAs were a comeback for Rihanna instead of Brit. She shows up on the red carpet donning a hot pink fishtail gown. She performs with Chris Brown in an outfit reminescent of Liza Minelli in “Caberet” and sizzles. Then she steps it up in a black cocktail dress with gold cuffs and belts while she sings with Fall Out Boy. Brit should take some cues from this former red carpet don’t.

Ludacris: The only thing that could have improved his look was an off-the-cuff performance of “Purple Rain.” He put together quite the dapper outfit. Perhaps Justin Timberlake shared some of his styling tips.

Chris Brown: Not only can this kid dance and put on the best performance of the night, but he learned how to dress after showing up in Ronald McDonald yellow and red last year. The fedora and suspenders worked perfectly with his look. Smashing.

STAPLETON’S WORST

Lil Mama: Do I really need to explain what is wrong with this look?

Pamela Anderson: Gingham? At an awards show?

Jennifer Hudson: It makes me sad to put you here, my dear. You’ve worn such great clothes on the red carpet in the past. The dress was too short, the color didn’t look great on you, I wasn’t a fan of the sash and it looked like you were wearing a wig. You know you can dress better than this. Try Roberto Cavalli next time.

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