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VMA nominations smart (Gaga), perplexing (30 Seconds to Mars)

To paraphrase that great sage Cher Horowitz, analyzing the MTV Video Music Award nominations is as useless as searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.

And yet, we're still intrigued by the VMAs. Not only do they provide a rare glimpse into what the pre-teens are listening to these days, but remind us that even in a "Jersey Shore" world, music videos still exist.

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And Lady Gaga should be glad she makes some. She netted a lucky 13 nominations, including two in the prestigious (?) video of the year category — "Bad Romance" and "Telephone." Even her other less-popular phone-related duet with Beyoncé, "Video Phone," scored some noms. That makes sense — is there any doubt Gaga ruled music last year? — but many of the other nominations are a bit odd. Some observations to consider before you set your calendar for the Sept. 12 VMA broadcast. That means you, Kanye.

••• Really? 30 Seconds to Mars (above) getting a video of the year nomination for "Kings and Queens"? I mean, we love Jordan Catalano as much as the next guy, but the Jared Leto-fronted band's multiple nominations were something of a surprise. A better surprise for video of the year was the love for Florence + The Machine's "Dog Days Are Over."

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••• No Vampire Weekend shout-outs? Surely "Cousins" deserved something, probably in the weird-ish "breakthrough video" category. (Coldplay again? Ugh.)

••• If 3OH!3 and Ke$ha win for best collaboration for "My First Kiss" over Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind," there is no God.

••• We have a feeling Drake could win best male video for "Find Your Love," even though we never really could follow the odd drugs/violence/lost-love plot of the video. Or understand what any Jamaican is saying.

••• "Bad Romance" is up for best art direction, and we want it to win just to see what the art director looks like. We picture someone resembling a disco-loving homeless Parisian.

••• Love Dan Black's video (below) for "Symphonies." Should definitely win breakthrough video and best SFX. That's "special effects," for all you uncool kids.

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