Britney kisses Madonna. Beyonce announces her pregnancy. That guy from Rage Against the Machine climbs the set pieces. Every year, the MTV Video Music Awards present us with some of the most memorable moments in awards show history. But this year’s VMAs took the show-stopping moments to a whole other level – infamy.
Moment #1: Nicki Minaj opened the show with “Trini Dem Girls” with fitting Carnival-reminiscent costumes. But the opening performance was nowhere near finished – not until Taylor Swift emerged and joined Nicki on “The Night Is Still Young.” The two then segued into Taylor’s aptly-fitting “Bad Blood” as a sort of public reconciliation (after their Twitter feud) and another “classic” VMAs performance was burned into the brains (and social media feeds) of everyone everywhere.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis continued the first few minutes by performing their new single “Downtown” in (what do you know?) downtown L.A., recreating the “Uptown Funk”-esque video with legendary rappers Grandmaster Caz, Melle Mel, and Kool Moe Dee, street dancers, and Foxy Shazam frontman/Freddie Mercury look-alike Eric Nally to sing the hook.
And that was just the opening…
Host Miley Cyrus exhibited many colorful, funky fashion statements throughout the show, from her Charo-meets-Electric Daisy Carnival monologue outfit to a primary color block ensemble to Britney Spears-style poofball meets Lady Gaga ARTPOP dreads.
Other awards of the night included Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars winning Best Male Video for “Uptown Funk,” Taylor Swift swooping in for Best Female Video for “Blank Space,” and Big Sean, Kanye West, and John Legend’s “One Man Can Change the World” for Best Video with a Social Message.
Everyone was on their feet for The Weeknd’s (literally) fiery performance of “Can’t Feel My Face” – even Kanye West. This performance follows the release of his debut album, “Beauty Behind The Madness,” and his general domination of the music industry as of late.
Moment #2: One shade fest ends, another begins…Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus got a bit heated after Nicki accepted the award for Best Hip-Hop Video. Cyrus recently spoke in the press in regards to Minaj’s VMA nominations frustrations – Minaj called her out on stage, Miley responded, and everyone sat a little more uncomfortably in their seats. Can’t we all just go back to dancing to The Weeknd, ladies?!
Justin Bieber made his first VMA appearance in 5 years with a high-flying performance of “Where Are U Now” and new single “What Do You Mean,” while Demi Lovato threw a super hot swim party outside with her summer smash “Cool For The Summer,” featuring a guest appearance by Iggy Azalea. Props to Demi for belting those notes while on a giant mobile floatie.
Tori Kelly absolutely slayed with a rockin’ version of her hit “Should’ve Been Us” – and that acapella bit at the end? Chills upon chills – this was absolutely one of the best performances of the night.
Moment #3: Swift returned to the stage to present Kanye West with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award – and her six years in the making “Imma let you finish” reference was just the beginning of this instantly iconic VMA moment. West took to the stage with a 10-minute-plus speech full of awkwardly long pauses and a plethora of thoughts (and hashtags – #ListenToTheKids). But the mic drop? When Kanye announced he was running for president in 2020. Let there be pandemonium.
Pharrell followed the pre-campaign campaign speech with a performance of “Freedom,” while A$AP Rocky and Twenty-One Pilots took the stage later to perform “Heavydirtysoul” and “Lane Boy.” Both were solid performances, but I think we were all still in too much post-Kanye shock to even register anything.
The final moonmen (which were redesigned with a glittery, more colorful aesthetic by Jeremy Scott) of the night went to newfangled Artist to Watch Fetty Wap and Video of the Year recipient Taylor Swift (feat. the Swift Squad) for “Bad Blood.”
Miley ended the night with a colorful performance with a gaggle of drag queens – and then pulled a Beyonce by announcing her new album, “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz,” was available online.
Phew…everyone good? Let’s all mark this down in the history books and go back to our day-to-days, ‘kay?
Stay tuned for the next Trophy Hunting for the Primetime Emmys, airing Sept. 20!