The MTV Video Music Awards are pretty formulaic. To the surprise of no one, Justin Timberlake and Beyonce walked away with the lion’s share of nominations, with seven apiece. Not to say Justin didn’t deserve his…”What Goes Around…” was a pretty damn good video! But nothing about any of the videos B made in the past year really turned my crank, unless you count that “Beautiful Liar” video with Shakira, which was just as good with the sound off, if you catch what I’m throwin’ atcha.

Last year presented a few surprises because the awards were wholly voted on by the fans, which meant that bands like My Chemical Romance and Avenged Sevenfold got face time they may not have gotten otherwise. This year is also fan-voted, so let’s hope that they get creative this year as well. It would be nice to see the multi-nominated Amy Winehouse win some awards, not only because she’s excellent, but because I imagine her salty acceptance speeches would enliven up the show a bit. Hell, Kanye’s good for unpredictability, and while I’m not sure why he’s nominated (didn’t “Stronger” just come out, like, a couple weeks ago?)…I anticipate his performance, and hopeful acceptance speech.

Looks like they’ve eliminated the genre-specific categories this time around (guess that makes it easier, considering how little videos MTV actually plays nowadays), but if you’re going for a little bit of not-as-mainstream love, there are still some bubbling under acts that got some MTV love (hey, the station still wants to be known as being at least a little edgy amid all the “Laguna Beach” marathons). French band Justice is nominated for their clip “D.A.N.C.E.”, which won the Vid of the Year award at the MTV Europe awards and caused a drunken Kanye to go on an ODB-style tirade. Swedish newcomers Peter Bjorn & John are nominated for Best New Artist for “The Young Folks”. Hey, even Best Group nominees Gym Class Heroes could be considered underdogs.

Anyway, find the full list of nominees at