From Nicki Minaj‘s stellar Video Vanguard Award performance to Taylor Swift‘s surprise album announcement, this year’s VMAs had simply too many unforgettable moments. However, the three hosts (LL Cool J, Nicki Minaj, and Jack Harlow) were rarely seen together and seemed more like the men were working around Minaj’s performance. It wasn’t until announcing the last award, “Video of the Year,” did past collaborators Cool J and Minaj teamed up. Today, let’s go over the highlights of one of music’s most-anticipated nights!
Jack Harlow opened the VMAs with none other than “First Class,” winner of the “Song of Summer” award. However, the song’s interloping of Fergie’s “Glamorous” is incomplete without the Dutchess herself. So, Harlow brings the beloved and infamous singer to his star-studded airplane set design to serenade fans. Upon winning the “Song of Summer” award, he talks about the importance of “Glamorous in hip-hop culture and how much the track influenced his childhood.
The international darlings of BLACKPINK hit the stage performing “Pink Venom.” It is a huge honor since this was the first time a K-pop group graced the VMAs with high-impact choreography, energy, and charisma. The group’s performance had everyone on their feet, including Taylor Swift. Compared to South Korea cinematography, the VMAs lacked giving BLACKPINK dynamic angles and seemed boring. Perhaps, the most touching moment for Blinks was seeing LISA win “Best K-pop” with her mega-hit “LALISA.”
The most surprising performance has to be Bad Bunny performing at the packed Yankee Stadium. The moment is sweet because he won “Artist of the Year” but didn’t know yet. Instead, he focused on giving MTV the hottest exclusive performance of “Titi Me Pregunto.” Cameras not only caught his playful kisses with background dancers but his fans singing along. After the performance, he freaks out and accepts the award in a Spanish-language speech.
Nicki Minaj’s Video Vangaurd Award Performance
The Harajuku Barbie, or Nicki Minaj, had fun performing a melody of her biggest hits inside her Barbie dreamhouse. Yes, she transformed the set design into her own Barbie mansion, where she breezed through “All Things Go,” “Roman’s Revenge,” and “Monster.” Afterward, she leaves the playhouse to perform “Beez In The Trap,” “Chun Li,” “Moment 4 Life,” and “Anaconda” with fun, flirtatious choreography. For the grand finale, she freaks out to “Super Freaky Girl” by gyrating on a stripper pole and being the seductress to her dancers.
Her fans, the Barbz, presented her with the “Video Vanguard” award with much energy and praise. And Minaj accepted it as her usual goofy self, forgetting her speech and having a laugh. This milestone comes after another milestone: debuting at no.1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Minaj is the first female rapper to have a solo song debut at No.1 this century.
Doritos’s Extended Play Stage
During commercial breaks and throughout the show, smaller acts still got the recognition they deserved while performing on VMA Extended Play Stage (presented by Doritos). The performers rotated after one or two songs.
First up, Conan Gray partied hard to “Disaster” and “Memories” in a fuchsia tulle gown.
Flo Milli takes the stage with her TikTok viral smash hit “Conceited.”
Music Discovery JID rapped to “Dance Now” and “Surround Sound.”
Lauren Spencer Smith closed out the experience with the sadly optimistic “Flowers” and “Fingers Crossed.”
VMA Must-See Award Speeches
After her first VMA performance, Anitta also danced her way to her first moon man for “Best Latin” with smash hit and TikTok viral “Envolver.” She is the first Brazilian musician to win a VMA and dedicates her speech to speak about the recent war in Brazil.
Dove Cameron dedicates her “Best New Artist” award to all the queer kids because “they put an overtly queer song [“Boyfriend”] on radio.”
However, the most important highlight is Taylor Swift‘s “Video of the Year” VMA award for “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version).” And that’s when she dropped the bombshell: another album is on the way, out October 12. But she took to Instagram to gush about the detail. Her Instagram post reads, “Midnights, the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life, will be out October 21. Meet me at midnight.”
What is your favorite VMA moment? Let us know in the comments!