"The vma fake audience sounds like the crowd from Guitar Hero. I can't stop laughing."
All eyes were on the MTV VMAs on Sunday night to see exactly how the hell one holds an awards show in the era of Covid.
And the fake audience.... is freaking everyone out a little.
While viewers are well used to green screens, pre-recorded speeches, remote performances, and even award honorees not turning up on the night -- the pretend crowd was something new, and more than a little bit unsettling.
The set-up saw presenters and winners taking to a physical stage with a heavy dose of computer-generated trickery providing bells and whistles, which didn't feel that unusual.
But similar to the pre-recorded canned laughter that provides the backing tracks to sitcoms, cuing audiences when to laugh along, MTV simply played the sound of a screaming, cheering crowd in the background.
Similar to the NBA and WWE, they did have an audience remotely tuned in, their animated visages displayed on screens in the background; but the audio was very clearly of the canned variety for many of the performances... and it was weird.
"The vma fake audience gives me a weird dystopian type of feeling," one tweeted.
"The whole vma set up is cute but i cannot with the fake audience and cheers," concurred another.
"The vma fake audience is very unsettling to me," agreed a third.
The set-up drew many comparisons, not many of them flattering, such as The Hunger Games, the fake crowd in a game of Guitar Hero, or that freaky 1984-esque episode of "Black Mirror" starring Daniel Kaluuya.
"i'm screaming imagine if you showed someone in 2019 the fake 2020 vma audience .... this year can not be real," one summarized on Twitter.