MTV’s Video Music Awards has harboured some of the most iconic pop culture moments of recent years, from the Miley Cyrus performance that prompted the word “twerking” to enter the Oxford Dictionary, to Kanye West interrupting a young Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech to show some love to Beyoncé. This year’s ceremony may not have reached the level of scandal that previous years has, but the performances were unmatched, boasting everyone from Lizzo to Missy Elliott (plus a John Travolta mix-up to add to the list). Here’s seven of our fave moments from last night…
7 WONDERS: VMAS 2019
The run-down of the most iconic moments and performances from last night’s ceremony.
Lizzo being, well, Lizzo
We didn’t know it was possible to stan Lizzo anymore than we already did. Clearly we were very wrong, because the body-positive queen absolutely slayed us all with her medley of “Truth Hurts” and “Good as Hell”, performed in front of a gigantic booty balloon and surrounded by her backup dancers, The Big Grrls. After arriving to the awards wearing a floor-length red sequin dress covered in the word siren and draped in a feather boa (iconic), Lizzo changed into a sparkly yellow bodysuit and sang her heart out in the performance. A queen, truly.
Missy Elliott’s career-spanning medley
Flying through the air in inflatable PVC. The little girl from the “Work It” video all grown up. Dancers literally being transported upwards into a huge UFO. And seemingly endless outfit changes. It could only be Missy Elliott, in a medley which included “Get Ur Freak On”, “Lose Control” and her latest bop “Throw It Back”, as she accepted the legendary Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award from presenter Nicki Minaj. In a celebration of her career – which has spanned 22 years – the rapper proved that nobody does it quite like her.
Taylor Swift calls for equality
T-Swift has been bashed for her political silence in the past, but she undoubtedly broke it in her acceptance speech for Video of The Year. On stage next to the stars of the “You Need To Calm Down” video, which include several LGBT celebs, Swift continued to endorse the Equality Act, which her rainbow-themed performance also referenced.
Another John Travolta mix-up
Luckily Swift’s speech didn’t get cut short this year *ahem, 2009 VMAs*, but it did almost get given to the wrong person. After mistakenly presenting an Oscar to “Adele Dazeem” rather than Idina Menzel in 2018, John Travolta made another blunder last night as he attempted to give Swift’s award to Jade Jolie, the Ru Paul drag queen who was dressed as the Lover singer. Whoops.
John Travolta accidentally giving Taylor Swift’s award to a drag queen is OBJECTIVELY FUNNIER by the fact that literally one minute earlier he made Queen Latifah read the envelope so he WOULDN’T MESS UP pic.twitter.com/jfzkDPI2Fd
— Marc (@MarcSnetiker) August 27, 2019
Normani’s gymnastics-inspired performance
After the noughties-inspired video for “Motivation”, we knew Normani wasn’t going to disappoint with her performance of the song last night, but we. Were. Not. Ready. Impressive vocals plus an intricate dance routine? The 23-year-old makes it look oh so easy. She even made time for a mini gymnastics show, as she twerked, flipped and did the splits on the stage before immediately belting out even more flawless singing without missing a beat. We have to stan.
Shawn and Camila’s “Señorita” serenade
Normani’s ex-bandmate Camila Cabello also blessed the VMAs stage along with Shawn Mendes to perform a steamy rendition of their collab “Señorita”, accompanied by nothing but the couple, a guitar and a row of candle-like lights along the stage. Joe Jonas was every single one of us when he tweeted “VMAs are over, but we’re still waiting for that kiss tho”.
Miley still has us in our feels
Excuse us while we try to pick ourselves up from the floor and stop bawling over this performance of “Slip Away”, Miley’s break-up song that’s kept us consistently in our feels since its release. The words “Miley Cyrus” and “VMAs” might bring to mind images of Robin Thicke and a certain giant foam finger – the rendition of “We Can’t Stop” from 2013’s awards ceremony was one of the most discussed pop culture moments, after all – but Miley poured her heart out in this stripped-back version of her latest single. Brb, still not over it.