The Video Music Awards Moonman: Up Close And Personal

Over the 27 year history of the MTV Video Music Awards, plenty of things have changed. Each year brings new hosts, new winners, new performers, new venues and new surprises. But there’s one thing that has stayed the same year-in and year-out, and that’s the MTV Moonman. The award, meant to encapsulate the brave new world that MTV was exploring when it first launched in 1981, was modeled after astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Like the Oscar or the Grammy, it has never shifted or changed. It’s a classic symbol that signifies greatness in music and in the unusual and wonderful medium of music videos.

MTV News’ Jim Cantiello has been in pursuit of the Moonman ever since he touched down in Los Angeles in preparation for the big show (which airs this Sunday, September 12 at 9 p.m.). Before he left, he tried to figure out just how much it costs to make a Moonman (it turns out they are priceless, as they are the droppings of magical unicorns) and yesterday he hunted around the Nokia Theatre in search of the statuettes. After an exhaustive hunt, his search paid off.

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Who knows whose hands will end up gripping that particular Moonman once the show kicks off this Sunday? Will it be one of the prizes Lady Gaga is expected to bring home? Will it be another one for Eminem’s mantle? You don’t have to wait very long before you find out.

The 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on September 12 at 9 p.m. ET.