The MTV Video Music Awards have been defined by stirring performances, shocking surprises and sexual shenanigans. Now the network has booked an act that might provide all three elements in one performance — R. Kelly.
The chart-topping R&B singer was named Tuesday as one of the performers at Sunday’s awards show in Miami. Kelly, whose latest album, “TP.3 Reloaded,” has sold more than 1 million copies, created buzz this summer with his five-part song, “Trapped in the Closet,” a mini soap opera about infidelity.
The 38-year-old singer, known for his sexually charged material, also faces multiple child pornography charges in his native Chicago stemming from a three-year-old case that allegedly involves a teenage girl. The case, which has yet to go to trial, hasn’t hurt Kelly’s recording career: In the interim, he has released four albums that have sold more than 1 million copies each and charted several hits.
Still, the MTV Video Music Awards may be Kelly’s most mainstream performance since his 2002 arrest.
Kelly is set to join a lineup of performers that includes Kelly Clarkson, Green Day, 50 Cent, Shakira, Mariah Carey, The Killers, Kanye West and others. The hip-hop mogul formerly known as P. Diddy — now just Diddy — will be the host.
The performers, presenters and Diddy will each receive a $26,000 gift basket courtesy of the network. Included in the goody bag: an iPod shuffle, a two-night stay at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina courtesy of Auberge Resorts, a two-year VIP Blockbuster Online membership, a Dooney & Bourke travel bag, Jose Cuervo limited-edition tequila and an Americana Couture T-shirt bejeweled with Swarovski crystals.