I went to the 2014 MTV VMAs last night and stood in the pit. This is what I saw.
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1. ALL of the celebrities were cordoned off from the regular audience, sort of like the cool kids' table in your high school cafeteria.
2. The celebrity section was CHAOS for most of the show. Stars were getting up to present/perform, or take selfies with one another.
3. They were also split up into sections: So Lorde and Taylor Swift were seated right by Jason Derulo, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry were right near each other, and Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Lopez were down the row from the Orange Is the New Black cast. It was pretty ~random~ seeing them all mishmashed together!
4. The celebrities were seated adjacent to the stage, facing the audience. Sometimes, it was hard to choose whether to look at all the star wattage sitting down or what was happening on stage.
5. To add to this craziness, producers were constantly shuffling seat fillers in and out when celebs temporarily left their seats. That means sometimes average people like you and I were seated next to REAL stars!
6. Whenever a celeb had to get up — to perform, take a picture, present an award, go to the bathroom, etc. — it seemed like they did it with an entourage of, like, 10 people. Stars, they're just like us...except when they're not!
7. The stage was a HUGE spaceship. You can kind of see this on TV, but it's even crazier in person because it SURROUNDED you.
8. The first screams from the crowd were when Orange Is the New Black stars Laverne Cox and Uzo Aduba walked to their seats.
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9. Laverne also danced during the ENTIRE show. During one commercial break, she stood up and broke it down to a Jay Z-Kanye song. The entire audience ATE. IT. UP.
10. The Orange Is the New Black cast was seated in front of the Kardashians, which is kind of funny when you think about it.
11. The show was TOTALLY laid out for television, so it wasn't 100% live-audience-friendly. You couldn't see Nicki Minaj for the first part of "Anaconda," and when Beyoncé sang "Drunk in Love" during her medley, she was perpendicular to the main pit and half of the seated audience could see only the back of her stage.
12. This was especially true when the cameramen followed a performer around on stage. Taylor Swift sang "Shake It Off" directly into a camera, which made sense when you were watching on TV. But when you're there, it's like the artist was ignoring the thousands of people in the arena for a cameraman.
13. Despite that, the audience — especially close to the stage — was encouraged to clap, wave their hands in the air, cheer, and generally be very lively the entire show so as to complete the television experience.
14. Basically, everyone wanted to get a selfie with Kim Kardashian and Kendall and Kylie Jenner...and they were totally down for it.