The video: A year ago, rapper Kanye West cut off Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards, setting off a media firestorm. During this year's ceremony, Swift debuted a much-anticipated new song absolving the erratic star for his indiscretions. Lyrics apparently aimed directly at West included, "Thirty-two and still growing up now; who you are is not what you did. You're still an innocent." West himself closed the show with his own song about the brouhaha, in which he "both chastised himself and saluted himself in one strange swoop."
The reaction: Swift is taking her role as victim much too seriously, says Linda Holmes at NPR. While she'd "previously precariously perched on at least something of a high ground," this performance cast her into a "morass of over-cooked and passive-aggressive self-pity." It's hard to "explain how odd—and, yes, pathetic—this was," concurs Matt Cherette at Gawker. For my part, says Jennifer Armstrong at Entertainment Weekly, I'm just glad that the much-hyped conflict appears to be over: "Let's all toast to the (hopefully) final note in that moment that launched a thousand blog posts, apologies, and replays on YouTube... there, don't we feel better now?" Watch Swift perform "Innocent":