Slate's Aisha Harris pointed out that the Video Vanguard Award (theoretically) specifically awards cumulative achievement in music videos, and Pink is not known for her music videos the way that, say, any of the previous five winners — Rihanna, Kanye West, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears — are known for their music videos. Harris also noted that the award used be described as honoring "forerunners in the music video sphere," but that language has changed to "honors an artist's exceptional body of work."
Pink's body of work is exceptional — in her nearly 20-year career, she's had four #1 singles. She's one of those sneakily solid performers who you don't think about very often, but then you realize you really like about 10 of her songs (I personally like "So What"). Her in-show medley will be really good. But she's not exactly in the same league artistically or popularity-wise as Beyoncé.
It just seems odd that it would go to Pink before it goes to Lady GaGa or Missy Elliott or Jay-Z or Mary J. Blige or any number of other performers with greater name recognition and more iconic careers. Maybe Lady GaGa wants to stay home and watch the Game of Thrones finale, but Pink said yes. Pink has a new album to promote.
The 2017 MTV Video Music Awards will air live on Sunday, Aug. 27 at 8pm ET/PT.