Young The Giant has the distinct honor of being the only rock act to perform at the 2011 MTV VMAs, where they'll make the jump from relative unknown -- yes, they're aware that they may elicit a "who is Young The Giant?" reaction -- to your new favorite rock band. They're the lone rockers in a performance lineup that includes the club-ready sounds of Pitbull and Ne-Yo, the theatrics of Lady Gaga, Beyonce's A-list glitz, Adele's sullen swan song, Bruno Mars' piano anthem and other more mainstream acts.
Knowing that Young The Giant skews less Bieber, more Brooklyn and that lead singer, Sameer Gadhia, has a Stanford education under his belt (plus, the entire band looks like the type of guys who'd have dusty paperbacks stuffed in the back pocket of their jeans, and I mean that int he best possible way because those guys are never not hot), I decided to challenge Young The Giant to a game that involves both the canons of poetry and pop culture. It's called "VMA Nominee, Actor Or Dead Poet," and it's basically what it sounds like. I name a person, and Young The Giant has to tell me whether that person is a VMA nominee, actor or dead poet.
Did Young The Giant know that Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta is not Angelina Jolie's birth name, but it's VMA opener and three-time nominee Lady Gaga? That Cameron Jibril Thomaz is not the name of a Lebanese poet but is instead the name of a very-much-alive rapper named Wiz Khalifa, who's nominated for Best New Artist? Well... no, they didn't. But they did get Cubbie Fink right! He's the bassist for another Best New Artist VMA nominee, Foster The People.
Overall, Young The Giant got three out of six questions correct. Normally that'd be a failing grade, but I'll grade on a curve since they're such nice dudes and since they're playing the VMAs. Though I'm confident they'll do a far better job performing at the VMAs than they did taking the VMA quiz.
Watch Young The Giant play "VMA Nominee, Actor Or Dead Poet," see how they feel about being the only rock act at the VMAs, and get a behind-the-scenes look at their VMA rehearsal. Plus, watch Best New Artist and 2011 VMA MTV.com Red Carpet Report host Kreayshawn take the VMA quiz!
Watch the 2011 MTV VMAs live from Nokia Theatre L.A. in Los Angeles on Sunday, Aug. 28, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on MTV and MTV.com. Catch the live pre-show at 8 p.m. ET/PT and cast your votes for Best New Artist up until the show airs!