Video on Trial (abbreviated as VOT) is a half-hour MuchMusic television program where a panel of musicians, comedians and entertainment columnists critique music videos.
In the opening credits, the narrator describes the show as being "the show that will never rest until all music videos are brought to justice".
About Video on Trial
The concept of the show is to put a set of five music videos in a fictional court-room with five comedians acting as the jurors
; they poke fun of and question each artist's behaviour in each video. However, the "critics" are shown in separate clips to use their opinions. Also, artists' personal lives and off-set behaviour are mocked by the critics in relation to the music video.
In the conclusion of the TV program, humorous verdicts are given to the artists which most often relate to them in real-life. For example, in the first episode, Gwen Stefani and her video for "Hollaback Girl" were sentenced to "stay 400 metres away from any Harajuku Girls." (an oblique reference to the back-up dancers, which all of them are not associated with the Harajuku culture)
About The Accused Videos
Most of the videos featured are generally recent, with at least one of the five videos per episode still being in rotation. Older videos are still featured, though, mostly those from the early '00s, and popular videos from 1997 to 1999 have been played on rare occasions.
Special Edition Video on Trials
Special editions of VOT have occurred. Several were '80s Specials known as "Totally 80s" or "80s Superstars" that featured classic 1980s videos. The jury was dressed up in 1980s-styled clothing, and the black background behind them was replaced with various neon
colours. Another special, "Holiday Crap", was Christmas-themed that featured holiday-themed videos. The jury was dressed up in holiday sweaters or Santa outfits. A special Centerfold Edition was also made, featuring three Playboy models on the jury. As well, a 90s spinoff was created, ("So 90s"), poking fun at artists famous in the 1990s. Some other special episodes, were One Hit Wonder Video On Trial, where the background was gold and the announcer's voice was different. Another was Totally Naked, in which all jurors were naked.
Some jurors make multiple appearances on the show, and the ones who appear most often are generally Canadian stand-up comedians and celebrities. By contrast, some judges make just one appearance and never return.
The following have all appeared as a juror at least once:
Canadian Stand-up Comedians
- Carol Cunningham
- Amy Lynn Grover
- Lisa Anne Houser
- Jesse Jane
- Tina Apostolopoulos
Television and Movies
A list of verdicts and a list of some of the show's best known quotes is also available on the episode guide
Most accused artists
- Justin Timberlake has had the most videos tried on the show so far, with eleven in total (four as a solo artist, four with 'N Sync, and three collaborations - one with Snoop Dogg, one with Madonna and one with T.I.). They are as follows:
* "SexyBack"* "Cry Me a River"* "What Goes Around...Comes Around"* "Like I Love You"* "I Drive Myself Crazy"* "Bye Bye Bye"* "It's Gonna Be Me"* "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays"* "Signs"* "4 Minutes"* "My Love"
- Britney Spears takes a close second place with a total of ten videos accused on the show so far.
- Gwen Stefani has done six videos as a solo artist, and three with her band, No Doubt, making a close third with a total of nine videos accused so far.
- P!nk, Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé, and 50 Cent are tied for fourth place, each with seven of their videos tried so far. P!nk has had six of her videos featured, and so has Christina. Along with that, they both collaborated with Mya, & Lil' Kim for "Lady Marmalade". My Chemical Romance has also had six videos featured. Beyoncé has done five videos by herself, one with Shakira, and one with Destiny's Child for "Video on Trial: Holiday Crap". 50 Cent has had four of his videos featured, along with two collaborations with G-Unit. However, it should be worth noting that 50 Cent's video for "Candy Shop" was actually tried twice on VOT, once during a regular episode and another time in the "Centerfold Edition" (Trevor Boris actually joked during the latter episode that 50 cent had appeared the most times on the show, and gave him a mock "lifetime achievement" award for sucking).
- Fergie is in fifth place, being accused with 4 solo videos, and 3 with the Black Eyed Peas.
- Almost every guest on the show has appeared as "themselves", but there have been a few notable exceptions:
- Sean Cullen appeared as a "Stand-in for Ron Sparks" in season two during one video (after Ron said that he couldn't stand it), "Smack That" by Akon featuring Eminem.
- ????? appeared as "Hugh Phukovsky" (a rock-and-roll comedian).
- Trevor Boris has made the most appearances as a juror, with 36. He also made many cameo appearances in episodes he isn't listed as a juror.
- Hugh Phukovsky pulled all the Video on Trial listings from his MySpace page, claiming "I gave those fuckers some GOLD!" and that they cut it all out with "humourless editing".
- The sentence for Paris Hilton's "Nothing in This World" video was to "have a Video on Trial viewer add her picture to the Wikipedia entry for 'loser.'" Although there is no such Wikipedia page for "loser", rather just a disambiguation page, fans of the show subsequently added her photo to Wiki pages that the disambiguation page led to.
- Oddly enough, the episode containing this verdict aired shortly after a Wikipedia entry covering all of the show's verdicts was considered for deletion.
- There have been several instances where the jurors have have made various appearances in the videos they judge:
- "Weird Al" Yankovic & the Bloodhound Gang appeared as regular jurors on the show, & their videos for "White & Nerdy" and "Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo", respectively, were critiqued in separate episodes.
- Josh Ramsay of Marianas Trench appeared as a juror in one episode so far, when his band's video for "Shake Tramp" was on the docket. During the video's critique, he jokingly over-praised the video & its star, while never mentioning that he himself was the star or a band member (he was even billed simply as just "Member of Some Band" through it all). He does not mention the band's name that much, perhaps not at all (and guesses that the band they are critiquing are members of Fall Out Boy, Hedley, or All American Rejects, but Ramsay doesn't keep up.). To this date, he is the only cast member to officially critique one of their own videos properly as a member of the jury.
- Musician Jully Black actually critiqued a portion of her own video "5x Love" at the end of an episode in which she was a juror (keeping with the tone with the show, she didn't go easy on it). However, no other judges were involved, the video was not on the docket, and no verdict was given.
- Black actually insisted that her own video be included, and that she be the one to criticize it.
- Musician Jeffree Star was also a juror during an episode containing a video he had appeared in, for Good Charlotte's "The River". However, it was only a background appearance (nonetheless, all the other jurors took notice).
- During the critique of The Used's video for "Pretty Handsome Awkward", which opened with footage of the band at the 2007 MuchMusic Video Awards, some of the jurors noted & joked that they were in the background as part of the crowd (although they were not visible to the naked eye). However, given the comedic nature of the show, whether this is fully true or not is unknown.
- Sunsilk has parodied the show in a series of commercials for their hair care products. The spoof is called "Hair On Trial" and features frequent VOT cast member Trevor Boris as the juror endorsing the product. Not surprisingly, the commercials usually ran during airings of the show.
- On a Kelevision radio broadcast, guests Darren Frost, Boomer Phillips and Aaron Berg discussed the show and its shortcomings (Frost and Phillips had both appeared on VOT). Frost was especially upset about the show, particularly the small fees that comedian guests were paid. To date he has not appeared on the show again.
- Jacob Hoggard of Hedley was supposed to appear in an episode of Video on Trial, but backed out at the last second. Instead, the jurors got to critique their video for "She's So Sorry".
- Ron Sparks appears so frequently on Video on Trial that in newer episodes he is listed as various fake occupations instead of just "comedian". He has been billed as such things as:
- a hand model
- a non-union stuntman
- a handsome bachelor
- a member of the Justice League
- the Star of "Sorority Shootout"
- not cool in the '80s (During the "'80s Superstars" episode)
- Santa's biggest elf (During the "Holiday Crap" episode)
- the president of the Shawn Desman Fan Club (an in-joke, as Ron often makes fun of Desman)
- the inventor of techno music (coincidentally during an episode featuring a techno music video)