PARAMOUNT has released two MTV Live performance compilations from their Video Music Awards ceremonies. They’re both available as individual offerings or in a two-pack.

As with most compilations, some of the performances are quite good and some quite bad.  The highlight of the “Hip hop” presentation is most likely the Britney Spears performance of “I’m a Slave For You” in which she struts around in extremely loose jungle-like attire, thrusting and gyrating, at times with a giant snake around her. 

There’s also an energetic performance from Shakira, but, while she looks great, it’s one of her worst songs(Objection Tango), and does little to show off the terrific voice she actually has.

Some may be amused by the decision to include MC Hammer performing “Can’t Touch This”.  It’s actually entertaining and humorous, especially when reflecting on just how big this act was at its time.  Still, why this and some of the other selections were included at the expense of other will leave many curious. 

Other acts include Nelly, Naughty by Nature, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Jamiroquaia, whom are all entertaining.  Brian Setzer Orchestra is also on hand, and while not at their worst, they certainly don’t merit inclusion here.

The original 1.33:1 full-frame ratio is intact. The image is sharp, offering vibrant colors and detail, especially during the Spears number.  Contrast is fine. Fleshtones appear natural.

For some reason, no 5.1 mix is offered. Instead, all we get is a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix.  While the mix is acceptable, the fidelity is more limited than on many music-oriented dvds, so ultimately disappointing. 

The “rock” presentation does offer a terrific performance by the late Michael Hutchence with INXS doing “SUICIDE BLONDE” and another terrific performance from U2 doing “PLEASE”, but the rest are all hit or miss.  There have certainly been better performances from Jewel than the one here of her performing “ANGEL STANDING BY” and the same goes for the other performers.

Again, the original 1.33:1 image is intact, though not as consistently sharp as the “hip hop” presentation.  Colors are generally solid, but the detail is inconsistent in quality from song to song.

The same limitations are present in regards to the Dolby Digital 2.0 mix here.

Some minor extras are included on each disc, but, with the exception of Chris Rock's monologue, none are memorable.