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Three Minutes of Writhing

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A Music Video trope, frequently done with female solo artists, but also with dozens of male R&B/pop performers. It involves them dancing about in a skimpy/fanservicey outfit for the entirety (or vast majority) of the video. Seems to be a very Overdosed Trope as of 2010s (and there's no sign of receding) - to the point where it's often easier to name contemporary music videos that don't adhere to this trope.

Female Examples:

  • Beyoncé: The video for "Single Ladies". How about the videos for "Crazy in Love", "Drunk In Love", "Baby Boy" or "Partition"?
  • Kelly Rowland. The video for "Motivation" is quite the steamy affair. The videos for "Ice", "Kisses Down Low" and "Comeback" are quite erotic as well.
  • Name a Mariah Carey video. Any Mariah Carey video. "I'll Be Lovin' U Long Time" in particular.
  • Since clearly the gamers are stepping up Bayonetta would like to writhe for you.
  • "Bo$$" by Fifth Harmony, which marked the start of their "feminism is sexy" phase.
  • Britney Spears:
    • The video for "Toxic" is notable for having long sequences of Spears literally writhing and nothing more, wearing only a layer of Swarovski crystals.
    • You better Work B****. (pictured above)
  • Though none of the actual musicians do it themselves, Robin Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell's "Blurred Lines" video involves them dancing with three female models in Stripperific attire (or in the explicit version, just panties) who are doing this.
  • Madonna was an early pioneer for overtly sexual music movements in videos. This made a comeback in the video for 2008's "Celebration". Madonna was also a pioneer in doing this live. See her 1984 MTV VMA performance.
  • Kylie Minogue has done this for a while.
  • Lit, Miserable: Downplayed in the video. While the video is mostly her lounging around in a bikini while the band play on top of her body, the Giant Woman does get up a couple times and starts seductively swaying to the music most notably shortly before she starts devouring the guys in the band.
  • This is pretty much why the Pussycat Dolls exist.
  • Rihanna:
  • Shakira is particularly famous for shaking her hips. The "Beautiful Liar" video is noteworthy, because it's three minutes of writhing with Beyonce. Then of course, there's "Hips Don't Lie". As a trained Belly Dancer, she works some oriental moves in the choreography.
  • The White Stripes' video for "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself", which consisted entirely of a scantily-clad Kate Moss performing a pole dance.
  • Queen Adreena:
    • 'I Adore You' contains much writhing by scantily-clad vocalist Katie-Jane Garside, but it is of an unnerving quality.
    • And FM Doll is nothing but that. Writhing about whilst looking like she's been dragged through a bush backwards and is currently having a panic attack is just what Katie-Jane Garside does.
  • Christina Aguilera, especially during her "Dirrty" phase.
  • Have you forgotten Gillian Anderson (Agent Dana Scully from The X-Files) in the Extremis video by Hal?
  • Parodied by Felicia Day and the cast of The Guild in "Do You Want To Date My Avatar", which is basically about cybersex.
  • Mocked in the Jewel video "Intuition" which includes fake TRL quotes like "Her voice sounds so much better in that outfit!" It didn't quite turn out like she figured.
  • A bizarre example of this trope happened in Brazil once. A singer performed in a TV program around various pole dancers in very skimpy outfits to the tune of a Pokémon-themed song.
  • In the 80's, we had Tawny Kitaen writhing around in numerous Whitesnake videos. This was parodied when Kitaen appeared in the video for Bowling For Soup's 1985.
  • Quite a few videos by Lady Gaga. Straight examples include "Just Dance", "Telephone" and "The Edge of Glory", while "Bad Romance" and "Applause" use the trope in a disturbing context.
  • The video for "Call On Me" by Eric Prydz notoriously consists entirely of busty women in Stripperiffic gymwear (and a man who's enjoying it) doing eroticised aerobics.
  • Used to interrogate a POW in Rudenko's "Everybody".
  • This was Fergie's primary role in the Black Eyed Peas' videos (My Humps, anyone?). She stuck with it when she split from the group too (Fergalicious is especially guilty).
  • Scott Weiland in the Stone Temple Pilots' "Sour Girl" spends the video twisting his bare torso while Sarah Michelle Gellar drapes herself over him like a scarf.
  • Parodied in "Pop Song" by Jon Lajoie. The video is pretty much a bunch of girls dancing with little pieces of Jon and some backup dancers:
    Shake that ass girl my rhymes are gettin lazy lazy,
    The things I'm talking about have nothing to do with the song baby,
    But it don't matter won't you show me that thong baby?
  • Florence + the Machine:
    • The video for the cover of "You've Got The Love".
    • She writhes a fair bit in "Drumming Song" too. On the floor too.
  • Miley Cyrus' music videos for "Can't Be Tamed", "Who Owns My Heart", "Party In The USA", and "We Can't Stop". Especially the last one, aside from the weird imagery.
  • R&B singer Ciara, especially in the Ride video where in one scene she wears nothing but a slingshot bikini with a long fur coat over it.
  • Nicki Minaj:
    • Nicki Minaj's videos usually qualify. Especially notable is the video for "Massive Attack", which takes this trope literally and has a bunch of double jointed soldiers writhing.
    • "Pound The Alarm" is another particularly risque one, showing plenty of tits and ass jiggle.
    • Then Nicki took the trope to its most logical extreme (maybe even beyond that) with "Anaconda".
  • Literally done by Sharon den Adel in most of Within Temptation's music videos, although she prefers elaborate gowns to skimpy outfits. See "Ice Queen" and "Mother Earth", which both feature a lot of movement.
  • The woman in the video for the Warrant's "Cherry Pie". Her name is Bobbi Brown (no relation to Bobby Brown), and she dated the lead singer of Warrant for a while, after achieving slight fame on the 1980's talent show "Star Search". Her talent was being pretty... literally.
  • Rather darkly parodied by SebastiAn's "Love In Motion" video, which applies this trope to a 10 year old girl.
  • Ellie Goulding's "Lights" video. Gyrating around in a short dress? Check.
  • Elen Levon is basically Australia's reigning queen of this trope.
  • The dancers in Kid Cudi's "Day n Nite (Crookers Remix)" video, which include a cop turned S & M stripper.
  • Rapper Brian P had a video where an oiled up dancer pretty much does this in front of his Pimped-Out Car fully nude. The dancer in question was pornstar Sydni Capri though. In fact many porn videos start out this way as a pseudo rap video intro for the rest of the movie, known as a "Tease". And there's now an actual adult video award category for it.
  • The "car wash" video for Khia's "My Neck, My Back", which uses the Bowdlerized version of the song, is actually bawdier than the original, which had the uncensored song.
  • Carly Rae Jepsen in the video for Owl City's "Good Time", though this one's far tamer than most.
  • Hyuna's part in "Oppa is Just My Style" is pretty much this, in stark contrast to PSY's... interesting movements.
  • Cabin Crew's "Star to Fall" combines this with Busby Berkeley Numbers.
  • Nomansland - 7 Seconds. Complete with the main character wearing a double-slitted miniskirt, possibly Vapor Wear.
  • David Guetta and Akon's "Sexy Bitch"note  features dancers in bikinis. When Todd in the Shadows reviewed the song, he stated that the video is pretty close to just being borderline pornography.
  • Chris Isaak's "Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing", featuring Isaak watching French model Laetitia Casta.
  • Neon Hitch's "Fuck U Betta". Then again, with a title like that...
  • Nelly Furtado got into this during her Loose phase, most notable in "Promiscuous" and "Maneater". She's a bit more tame than most examples on this list, however.
  • Jennifer Lopez, particularly in "On the Floor" and "Love Don't Cost a Thing".
  • Katy Perry's "California Gurls".
  • Ashley Jade's Let Me Be Your Fantasy. By the way, she was seventeen at the time.
  • A lot of rap videos feature this. Even if the rapper himself doesn't, there is usually a large number of models hired specifically to do this in the video, often in Stripperific attire.
  • Austra's "Beat and the Pulse" is a lesbian example. Bonus for the dancer baring her left breast.
  • Inna's Be My Lover is just a starter. Her videos have done this trope to various degrees ever since Hot, her first hit single, and started to get more stripperific with Deja Vu. J'Adore consists of her doing an erotic gym workout in a one-legged one-strapped bodysuit. Wow takes the trope to more surreal territory. In Your Eyes continues the trend further, with a nude leotard, burlesque pole dancing in translucent lingerie, Underboobs, go-go dancing in the rain, and a barely-concealing minidress with metallic thigh high boots.
  • Another Romanian who even has a video with Inna, Alexandra Stan, also has a lot of it. Her biggest hit, "Mr. Saxobeat", at least has a resemblance of a plot (Stan seduces a guard to leave prison and leaves dressed as a cop). "Dance", on the other hand, is just plain Fanservice.
  • The Vengaboys' Rocket To Uranus.
  • Kerli does this in the dance segment of "Zero Gravity", wearing a miniskirt and thigh-high platform boots.
  • "Nobody's Perfect" by Islandrocks. Reminiscent of "Call on Me", albeit slightly tamer.
  • Most dancehall reggae videos are like this. There will usually be girls shaking their butts, in extreme cases doing handstands and splits while doing so. Case in point: the dancers with colored wigs in "Dancehall Queen" by Beenie Man & Chevelle Franklin.
  • Being a show that uses a lot of pop music, Glee tends to have a few musical numbers like this. One such example is Rachel's dimly-lit, sexually-charged performance of "Oops! I Did It Again" in the second Britney Spears tribute episode.
  • Unusual for a goth band, Project Pitchfork has this in "Carnival".
  • Rita Ora, especially "I Will Never Let You Down".
  • Bruno Mars:
    • The video for "Gorilla" features a pole dance by Frieda Pinto.
    • "Versace on the Floor" has Zendaya in a shiny mini-dress that shows off a Navel-Deep Neckline while she dances around a hotel room, lip-syncing to the song.
  • Ariana Grande:
    • Ariana Grande's music video for "Love Me Harder" features her posing, stroking herself, and wearing a bra and short skirt the entire time.
    • Her music video/visual for "Dangerous Woman" is also an example of this.
  • Audrey Napoleon's My Sunrise video consists mostly of the lingerie-clad artist gyrating at her apartment window.
  • In Highway Superstar's "Dream Diary" video, this is Honey Colonna's routine.
  • The Pet Shop Boys' "Domino Dancing" has this with the latex minidress-wearing female dancer.
  • Matthew Wilder's "Break My Stride" has sexy backup dancers in leotards.
  • Dee Demirbag (standing in for vocalist Nana Hedin) in E-Type's "Here I Go Again"(combined with Surreal Music Video) and "Life".
  • Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" has a line of backup dancers twerking in daisy duke shorts.
  • Mastodon's "The Motherload" plays with this trope. Starts off like a heavy metal video, switching between "symbolic" scenes and shots of the band, but by the first chorus the trope is parodied by having several girls Shaking the Rump appear in contrast to the bleak color and haunting images. The trope then zig-zags to subversion at the bridge when the video becomes about the girls and their dance battle/party, while the band becomes the "background dancers."
  • In Annie's "Russian Kiss" video, several dancers, both male and female, exhibit this trope, though Annie herself remains modest.
  • Lasgo's "Sky High" has this with both female lead Jelle van Dael and the male love interest.
  • In Void Vision's "The Source" video, Shari Vari's main outfit consists of a plastic wrap minidress over a thong.
  • Gali's "I'm Alive" video has her flaunting her moneymakers in a black leather ultra-mini dress with a gold latex bra top.
  • Nearly every video by Swedish Power Metal/electropop group Amaranthe has this with lead vocalist Elize Ryd.
    • To the point where it is a standing joke among the fans that if you watch them on mute it's a shampoo commercial
  • FKA twigs subverts this just a little with the video for “Cellophane”, which starts with Twigs pole-dancing in a sparkly bikini. Then she meets a giant insect with her face. Then things begin to get odd.
  • Salt Ashes' "Counting Crosses".
  • Then You Look At Me, by Céline Dion, features Dion in tight metallic coveralls with the zipper down to her abdomen. She's dancing in place, mostly with her arms.
  • TLC's video for "No Scrubs" features several shots of the trio dressed in skimpy black Stripperiffic outfits... onboard a spaceship.
  • Lynette Cerezo of Bestial Mouths often utilizes this in a Fan Disservice context, e.g. "Earth".
  • E-Rotic's "Murder Me '21" and "Head Over Heels", as if they, along with the director of videos Oliver Sommer, were trying to replicate the success of music videos for Madonna's songs (see example above) instead of making animated videos they were known for.
  • Miquel Brown's "So Many Men, So Little Time" plays this straight with the Sensual Spandex-clad female backup dancers, but averts it with Miquel herself.
  • Nadia Ali, formerly of iiO, performs in a latex Spy Catsuit in the 2010 "Rapture" video.
  • Mike Mareen's "Dancing In The Dark" was ahead of its time for 1986, with his backup dancers mainly dressed in midriff-baring crop tops and booty shorts or miniskirts.
  • Queen: The music video for "Body Language ↑⬱" consists primarily of scantily-clad women slowly and sensually moving around in a sauna, which got it banned from MTV.
  • Hubert Kah's "Machine Gun" video incorporates black & white footage of a burlesque stripper.

Male Examples:

  • The Backstreet Boys' "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)", which starts out with the boys just singing in an abandoned basketball court but turns into this trope by the 2:15 minute mark, when a sudden downpour kicks in and they start writhing around in wet button-down shirts. Nick (who was 16 at the time) and Brian are the only ones not to have their shirts open, while on the other hand, Howie is pretty much shirtless by the end, unashamedly gyrating for the camera with his shirt hanging from his elbows.
  • For some added Playing to the Fetishes, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails is not immune.
  • Yoshiki Hayashi's "White Poem," either PV or live. BDSM is involved, to an extreme degree in the PV (suspension hooks and whips) and to a lesser but real degree in the live.
  • Morrissey's "November Spawned A Monster". a pretty odd choice because the actual song is about the plight of a disabled woman, and midway through the song an actress, apparently portraying said woman, starts letting out terrifying unintelligible cries. This makes sense if you're paying attention to the lyrics, but if you're too busy watching Morrissey suggestively writhe around rock formations in a desert while wearing tight pants and a mesh v-neck shirt, it just seems inexplicable. When the video appeared on Beavis and Butt-Head, Beavis told Morrissey to "quit whining, go out and get a job and some good clothes... and another thing, stay away from those rocks!"
  • Olivia Newton-John plays with the trope in "Physical", by replacing it with Three Minutes Of Flexing instead: her video is set in a gym, in which she and some fat guys work out, the latter being transformed into some Grade-A beefcake for the final chorus. Still lots of bodily contortions and skin, but at least there's a pretense of plot.
  • Take That had a fair bit of that in their 90s videos.
  • The R&B group H-Town, whom more or less danced like male strippers.
  • Minus all the jet fighter footage, the music video of "Danger Zone" stars with Kenny Loggins singing in a bedroom, then landing on his bed, then writhing around until the song climaxes (and apparently, him too.) The Ho Yay apparently was too powerful to stay in the film itself.
  • In the Zod-only music video for "Distraction", Doug Walker was kind enough to make it this. Lots of self-groping, and in a leather outfit no less.
  • Marina Diamandis did a Gender Flipped version of the standard "fully-clothed male singer surrounded by scantily-clad women" in her video for "How to be a Heartbreaker", with herself fully clothed (though in a dominatrix-like outfit) and surrounded by male models in Speedos.
  • The video for WASP's "Black Forever" is Blackie Lawless crawling around on the floor and smearing ink on himself.
  • Dear gods, the video for Billy Squier's "Rock Me Tonight." It depicts Squier, decked out in a getup that looks like it was stolen from Jennifer Beals' Flashdance wardrobe, flailing effeminately around a pastel-lit bedroom and writhing on pink satin sheets. As one might expect, it undermined the tough guy image he'd worked hard to cultivate and alienated a lot of his fans. His career stalled, and although he remained moderately successful throughout the eighties, he never quite recovered the fame he'd experienced at the start of the decade.
  • Fischerspooner's "TopBrazil" is entirely shots of Casey Spooner in a pile of writhing naked or nearly-naked male bodies (link is very NSFW)
  • Eminem faced some negative backlash in 2009 for his music video for "3 a.m.", a horror-themed video built around showcasing his shredded new body after recovering from obesity. Hip-hop fans at the time mocked his attempt to return to the pop world with choreographed dancing (a new addition to both his videos and stage shows after he kicked the drugs), nude scenes, and closeups on his sexy pecs and abs, and claimed he was trying to be a male Lady Gaga. ("3 a.m." has since been Vindicated by History as a Horrorcore Cult Classic, and the video was popular enough for Eminem to make a sequel almost a decade later.)


Video Example(s):


Klown Bitch

Glitz and Glam, the sisters who are the antagonists of the episode, sing and perform in a sexualized pop song filled with provocative dancing moves and taunts aimed at their rival, whom they refer to as "bitch" in the song.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (20 votes)

Example of:

Main / VillainSong

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