It sounds glamorous, working the red carpet for an awards show like the VMAs where heaps upon heaps of celebrities (and numerous B-list cast members from Laguna Beach) waltz by in their designer duds. But in reality, it's a screaming, elbow-jabbing competition for the attention of those waltzing down the carpet, with members of the press thrust against a metal barricade like clowns in a very glitzy circus. Observers included J. Crew employees, who had a perfect view of the carpet from their Rockefeller Center location and sat amongst their khaki-clad mannequins with video cameras, and eager hip-shakers uncorking deafening shouts of "Shakira look over here!" But despite everyone's attempt to be the last one in Radio City Music Hall, and the last-minute rush of hip-hop moguls and their enormous body guards into the theater, SPIN.com managed to wrangle a few musicians off the carpet.
Ex-Stone Temple Pilot Dean DeLeo and Filter's Rich Patrick were among the first to arrive in a clear attempt to score media attention for their new band, Army of Anyone, whose debut album arrives Nov. 14. "We just got together being fans of one another, and gosh, you know, it's a real honor to be doing this with Rich," said DeLeo, who was rooting for a Chili Peppers win. "There's something that can encapsulate every mood of life on the record, so hopefully it touches people for whatever mood they happen to be in. Or whatever mood they want to be moved into."
AFI was escorted down the carpet by several handlers and were the cause of some clear confusion amongst the press regarding their identity. Singer Davey Havok, who claimed to be most excited to see Justin Timberlake, offered some sage advice for applying false eyelashes like the glittering purple ones he was sporting. "You know what the trick is?" Havok asked. "To let the glue dry a little bit before you put them on."
New Found Glory arrived toting the large suitcase depicted on the cover of their new record, Coming Home, which drops Sept. 19. Unfortunately it was empty. "It's in honor of the new record," said singer Jordan Pundik, who was rooting for former tourmates Green Day. "I wanted to fill it with candy for everyone, but I guess not."
Nas, draped in a pin-stripe suit and Louis Vuitton shoes, offered a quip in response to his massive female fanbase. "I love my female fans," the rapper said. "We're cutting off pieces of me and selling 'em. That's what my records are."
The Raconteurs breezed by, stopping only briefly to praise Christina Aguilera's "Ain't No Other Man," and to respond to a query about how often they wash their hair. "Not very often," singer Jack White said. "We don't have time for that sort of thing. We have to play for three hours tonight."
Fall Out Boy made a late appearance after marching down the red carpet with a live monkey. "We brought a monkey on the red carpet and it was insane," shouted bassist Pete Wentz, clad in an actual cape. "Panic! at the Disco's gonna be awesome tonight. Justin [Timberlake]'s gonna do something insane I think."
Wentz was followed by Cobra Starship's Gabe Saporta and Gym Class Heroes singer Travis McCoy, who was decked in a gold and black special edition hoodie from Wentz's Clandestine clothing line. When asked what they were most excited about, McCoy hollered "There's gonna be some cobras tonight in the audience," in reference to Cobra Starship's song for Snake on the Plane. "Don't give it away!" Saporta admonished him. "Snakes on a VMAs!" The duo, each with a record deal on Wentz's Decaydance label, were rooting for their labelmates. "It's a family occasion," McCoy said. "Panic got nominated for a couple more so they get theirs, Fall Out Boy will get theirs. Decaydance is taking over this year!"
Ryan Ross, guitarist of Panic! at the Disco, ran over to chat and gushed about his point of excitement for the evening -- and it did not involve performing on the show or being nominated for several awards. "We're sitting next to Paris Hilton and P. Diddy!" Ross said breathlessly. Imagine how excited he was a few hours later when his band left Radio City with Video of the Year trophies tucked against their ruffled sleeves. EMILY ZEMLER
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