The night that celebrated this year’s hits of pop culture happened on Monday, Aug. 26, and was made up of breathtaking performances, unique speeches and beautiful outfits.
This year’s MTV Video Music Awards took place in Newark, New Jersey, highlighting artists such as Lil Nas X, Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande, through them winning some of the night’s most prestigious awards. Along with the presentation of awards, other artists performed some of their top hits, such as Lizzo, Normani and Missy Elliott.
Elliott’s performance consisted of a dynamic medley of some of her top hits, which included “Work It,” “Lose Control,” “Get Ur Freak On” and “Pass That Dutch.” During “Work It,” Elliott surprised the audience by bringing out Alyson Stoner. At 10 years old, Stoner danced in Elliott’s music video of “Work It” and recreated her dance moves during the performance.
Along with her performance of a medley of her top hits, Elliott was presented with the 2019 Video Vanguard Award.
“This Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award means so much to me,” Elliott said during the acceptance speech of the award, with tears in her eyes. “I have worked diligently for over two decades and I never thought that I would be standing up here receiving this award.”
In her speech, Elliott did refer to the award by its full name, but the telecast, instead, decided to shorten the title to the “Video Vanguard Award.” In press releases, MTV did include Jackson’s name when Elliot won the award, but there was talk of pulling his name from the award after the controversial HBO documentary, “Leaving Neverland,” was released.
Another momentous moment during this year’s VMAs was the award for Video of the Year, won by Taylor Swift. Swift’s hit song, “You Need to Calm Down.” This allowed Swift to recognize the fact that this award was completely fan-voted during her acceptance speech.
“You voting for this video means that you want a world where we’re all treated equally,” Swift said. “Regardless of who we love, regardless of how we identify.”
Alongside that information shared during her speech, Swift also discussed the petition that is shown when her music video of “You Need to Calm Down” ends. This petition also endorses the Equality Act.
“I want to thank everyone who signed that petition because it now has a half a million signatures, which is five times the amount that it would need to warrant a response from the White House,” Swift said during her speech. “In this video several points were made, so you voting for this video means that you want a world where we’re all treated equally under the law.”
Swift’s video was one of the first times she has been outspoken on politics. Swift was pretty silent about the 2016 presidential election and received some backlash due to how quiet she was on this topic.
“Unfortunately in the 2016 election you had a political opponent who was weaponizing the idea of the celebrity endorsement,” Swift said to Vogue about her reasoning for being silent during the last election. “Then-candidate Donald Trump was going around saying, ‘I’m a man of the people. I’m for you. I care about you.’ I just knew I wasn’t going to help.”
Alongside this acceptance speech being a very memorable one, the moment of giving Swift the award was as well. John Travolta was one of the announcers of the Video of the Year Award and when Swift took the stage to accept the award alongside several of her video co-stars, Travolta tried to give the Moonman award to Jade Jolie, a drag queen that was in the “You Need to Calm Down” video.
“There’s so many people that bombarded the stage, that I was looking for [Swift],” Travolta said in an interview with USA Today. “So the video has me trying to find her, but you know, I thought it was so funny the way it was interpreted. And it was cool, I didn’t care… Sometimes I fantasize, what if I had given it to [Jolie]? That would have been awesome. I should have just gone all the way with it.”
Another memorable moment during this year’s VMAs was Miley Cyrus’s performance of her ballad, “Slide Away.” Alongside the fact that this was the debut of this single live, this was Cyrus’s first performance since splitting up with her husband of eight months, Liam Hemsworth.
While performances, such as Lizzo’s that brought the crowd to their feet in applause and Normani’s that showed off her amazing dance moves, the VMAs did highlight other well-known artists through them winning the prestigious awards.
Going into the awards ceremony, Ariana Grande and Swift were both nominated for 10 awards, while Billie Eilish was nominated for nine and Lil Nas X was nominated for eight, with seven being for his break-out hit, “Old Town Road (Remix).”
Eilish ended up taking home three of those nine awards, including “Push Artist of the Year,” “Best New Artist” and “Best Editing” for her hit song “Bad Guy.”
Alongside her win of “Video of the Year” for “You Need to Calm Down,” Swift also won the award for “Best Visual Effects” for “ME!”
Lastly, Grande took home the awards for “Artist of the Year,” “Song of the Summer” for her new hit, “Boyfriend,” and “Best Art Direction” for “7 Rings.”
With all the wins and amazing performances at this awards ceremony, the 2019 VMAs was like no other.