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VMAs host live performances in Barclays Center once again

Graphic by Kyle St. John

After last year’s MTV Video Music Awards consisted of video performances and COVID-19 paranoia, most fans and performers were thrilled to get a taste of normalcy last Sunday with this year’s VMAs held fully in-person at Barclays Center in New York City. 

Those attending the awards or watching from home saw performances from 22 different artists including Camila Cabello, Ed Sheeran, Olivia Rodrigo, Normani, Lil Nas X, Machine Gun Kelly, in addition to Doja Cat, who hosted the awards. 

The artists made an excellent effort to keep the show alive and unpredictable the entire night. Noteworthy moments from the performances included Normani’s stunning choreography and Lil Nas X’s perfect mashup of “Industry Baby” and “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” 

Doja Cat went even more wild with her role as host by donning outfits ranging from nice-looking ball gowns to wearing a chair on her head to possibly her most viral outfit of the night — a pillowy, quilted dress forming a bubble over her upper body.

She also went off-script from the traditional emcee role and instead opted for her own approach. As the show began, she said, “If you like famous people, keep watching!”

Of course, all of the showmanship didn’t overshadow the excitement of the actual awards. 

Olivia Rodrigo expressed many thanks to her fans and encouraged girls to keep creating music from their hearts as she took home the awards for Best New Artist, Song of the Year and Push Performance of the Year. 

Justin Bieber acknowledged the hard times we are all living through, saying “I know you guys have heard it a lot, but we are in unprecedented times right now,” as he accepted awards for both Artist of the Year and Best Pop. 

After accepting the Video for Good Award, Billie Eilish gave an inspirational message: “We need to protect our young women at all costs — for real.” She finished her speech with “We need to remember that we all have power, and we have to remember not to abuse it.”

Eilish also shared the award for Best Latin with Rosalía for their collaborative song “Lo Vas a Olvidar.” 

A few of the other award recipients this year included Lil Nas X with Video of the Year, Best Direction and Best Visual Effects (all for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”), BTS with Best Group of the Year and K-Pop (the latter for their song “Butter”). Machine Gun Kelly and Blackbear took home Best Alternative for “My Ex’s Best Friend,” in addition to Doja Cat with Best Collaboration (with SZA for “Kiss Me More”) and Best Art Direction (featured by Saweetie on “Best Friend”). 

Due to the necessary protocols to keep everyone safe at the show, Lorde, who was originally supposed to be in the lineup of performers, had to cancel at the last minute. She later explained that her performance involved many people and lots of intimate dancing which did not comply with the protocols, adding “I can’t make something less than outstanding for you guys.”

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