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2012 VS Fashion Show: A Ho Ho Hot Mess

Kelly Hanelt |
December 5, 2012 | 3:05 p.m. PST

TV Editor

All eyes on me, in the center of the ring, just like a circus. Like, like, like a circus.
All eyes on me, in the center of the ring, just like a circus. Like, like, like a circus.

After 11 months of waiting, and another torturous three-and-a-half weeks of teaser runway shots and tireless promotions, the 2012 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show invaded America by way of CBS. But as excited as all were for the festivities, the second the show ended we were left unsatisfied and a little dumbstruck.

Wait… that was it?

The show’s viewership was down 24% from last year, a shocking decrease. There are 2 possible reasons I can speculate are behind this decline. 1) It’s still so soon after Thanksgiving. Leftovers just got finished last week. Absolutely no one wants to see a parade of women composed of 100% fat free mass while we’re just awakening from our food comas. 2) Maybe VS or whoever should think twice about releasing all the runway photos a couple weeks before the show. If you already know what all the outfits look like, what is the point of tuning in?

But for those who did tune in, whether out of genuine interest/ loyalty, or as a masochistic mechanism to induce holiday dieting in 3..2..1, what they were treated to was essentially a live music video. The celebs were the stars, and they had some hot beezys swagged out in jewels and lingerie dancing around making them look good. As much as I genuinely enjoyed Rihanna’s and Bruno Mars’s performances (Justin Bieber’s are another story), the decision to have a live performance with almost every single collection was disappointing. One of the greatest appeals of shows of years past was the soundtrack. Let’s not forget that this fashion show singlehandedly propelled the Ting Ting’s “That’s Not My Name” into international fame back in 2008

The show’s opening circus themed collection was presented with a truly bizarre mash-up of The Door’s “Break On Through (To The Other Side)” and Missy Elliot’s “Get Your Freak On”. The acrobats were a nice touch, but really made the whole thing seem like Pink’s Funhouse tour, but with worse music. The prevailing moment of the first whole segment really was Adriana Lima, 6 weeks post baby and making the rest of us cry in shame. Britney needs to move on over, because there is a new ringmaster in town.

Despite the producer’s best efforts to hype Justin Bieber’s presence at the show, even going so far as to cut away from Bruno Mar’s performance of “Locked Out Of Heaven” to show his arrival (How wuude), the real star of the night was Rihanna. From those $3,200 sunglasses, to her phenomenal stage presence, RiRi literally stole the show. It was hard to focus on the models when Rihanna looked just as good as them, and was belting out a good-as-auto-tuned version of “Diamonds”. What was the theme of that collection again? Who knows... who cares? Rihanna is where it was at.

Her second performance, “Phresh Off The Runway” was playful and just slightly less apropros for the VS fashion show than Bruno Mars’s “Locked Out Of Heaven”. (Get it? Angels. Heaven. Haha) Speaking of Bruno, his aforementioned first performance was a delight, though I found it hard to focus on much more than the height difference between him and the models strutting past. His second performance of new song “Young Girls”? Well sung but overall forgettable.

And then there was Justin…

The Bieb’s first performance, a slowed and acoustic rendition of his pop radio hit “As Long As You Love Me” was impressive, but not nearly as much so as when he sang it the exact same way two weeks ago at the American Music Awards. Literally though. Exact. Same. Way. No offense to Justin’s artistic vision but by this reporter’s standards, new “swaggy” fingerless driving gloves do not merit enough of a reinterpretation to be pulling the same shtick 12 days later. Technically speaking, the VS Fashion Show was recorded before the AMA’s, but the Biebs knew what he was doing. And what he was doing was perpetrating a huge faux pas. Check it out for yourself below.

But when you have a fan base as intimidatingly large and passionate as J. Biebs has accrued (which, according to last night’s backstage segments, includes every single VS Angel in existence), I guess people (and Barbara Palvin) will love him anyways. Even when, just as at the AMA’s, his second performance was of Nicki-Minaj-infused hit “Beauty And A Beat”. He danced (because that’s all you can really do to this song; lyrics such as “take a bow, you on the hottest ticket now” don’t really make enough of an impact to be emphasized), and entertained while models decked out in the bubble-pop Pink collection sashayed past him. And that moment when Justin checked out Cara Delevingne’s ass as she walked past? So obvious. So awkward. So hilarious.

All in all, at least it was better than Heidi Klum and Seal’s uncomfortable love ballad duet disaster of 2007.

All things considered, the VS fashion show was not a total catastrophe. The circus and floral themed collections were well conceived and clever, though the rest of the directionless designs coupled with the overpowering celebrity presence made this year’s fiesta one of the less impressive. My suggestion for next year would be to cut back on the Ryan Murphy effect (i.e. unnecessary celeb stunt casting which detracts from the main point of the program), and spend time freshening up the collection ideas. We still love you Victoria’s Secret. Always have and always will. Now that you’ve gotten Bieber fever out of your system, I’m looking forward to brighter days ahead. 

Reach TV Editor Kelly Hanelt here. Follow her on Twitter here.



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