Yesterday (Aug 28), stars gathered from all over the globe for the 2022 MTV VMAs ceremony in Newark, NJ. The event was a successful and feel-good night filled with beautiful, full-circle moments, expertly executed performances, international representation, and honoring of the artists who deserve their flowers.
Whether it was two regions coming together to hype up Snoop Dogg and Eminem’s performance of “From The D 2 The LBC,” Nicki Minaj singing “Moment 4 Life” to her day-one Barbz, or special groups like BLACKPINK and Red Hot Chili Peppers bringing their chemistry to the stage, the crowd just couldn’t get enough.
LL Cool J kicked off the show by saying, “Welcome to the biggest music party of the year,” which wound up being an accurate description. Here are some of the best moments from the night.
1. Jack Harlow’s full-circle moment with Fergie
At 7:58 p.m. sharp, the restless crowd was gently yet firmly ordered to hush and a chilling silence swept over the entire Prudential Center, which would be the last time the venue was that quiet for the rest of the night. Just as quickly, the audience erupted in cheers as Jack Harlow’s performance of “First Class” began, starting from an offstage plane set and then spilling over to the main stage.
The song notably samples Fergie’s smash hit “Glamorous,” so it was only right to bring out the 2000s icon herself to join Harlow’s opening performance. The entire crowd welcomed her back onto the scene with unmatched enthusiasm and chanted, “If you ain’t got no money take your broke a** home” in perfect unison like it was 2006.
Later on in the evening, Harlow made sure to shout out Fergie again in his acceptance speech when he won Song of Summer. “This was one of the most important songs in my life and influenced the way I make music,” he said.
2. The Barbz presented Nicki Minaj with the biggest award of the night
The main attraction of the night was indisputably Nicki Minaj, this year’s recipient of the esteemed Video Vanguard Award. The cherry on top of the already incredibly special moment was that the award itself was presented to her by the ones who’ve stood by her side: the Barbz. Five of her biggest fans took the stage to hand the award to Minaj before she shared a sentimental speech about her journey, with everyone in the room hanging onto her every word. The love was felt in the entire venue.
3. Bad Bunny didn’t even have to physically be in the building to make it shake
Bad Bunny proved it’s possible to be in two places at once. Although the Puerto Rican star is currently blessing stages all across the globe on his “World’s Hottest Tour,” that didn’t stop his show last night from doubling as his official VMAs performance — and it couldn’t have worked out any better.
This was achieved through a live stream of him performing “Tití Me Preguntó,” which was plastered on all screens at the Prudential Center at the time of his set. Essentially, the VMAs crowd and his crowd at Yankee Stadium were partying together simultaneously while being miles away from each other, creating an indescribable dynamic that had the entire building rocking.
4. Lizzo gets the last laugh
Lizzo continues to be the prime example of confidence and self-love, and last night was no different. While accepting her award in the Video for Good category, she took some time to encourage people to go out and vote to “change the laws that are oppressing us.” Next, she addressed the recent body-shaming comments that have been trending on Twitter, and she chose to take the high road once again. “To the b**ches that got something to say about me in the press, they be like, ‘Lizzo why don’t you clap back?’ ‘Cause b**ch I’m winning, h**,” she said as the crowd cheered for her.
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5. Augmented reality vs. real life
One interesting facet to witness in person was what the crowd sees versus what actually winds up being broadcast on television. Throughout the whole show, elements of augmented reality were added for the viewers at home, like the animated and twerking silver ladies that were shown on screen during J Balvin and Ryan Castro’s viral performance of “Nivel De Perreo.”
That difference in perception was especially present during one of the biggest performances of the night: Snoop Dogg and Eminem’s live rendition of “From The D 2 The LBC ,” as a portion of the performance took place in the metaverse. While folks at home were taken to another dimension, the in-person VMAs crowd just watched the two hip hop icons take a breather on the couch during that time, which was an honor to watch regardless.
6. Honestly, the night was all about celebrating Nicki Minaj
Being given the biggest award of the night wasn’t enough for Ms. Minaj as she circled back around to collect another, this time for Best Hip Hop with her “Do We Have A Problem?” record featuring Lil Baby. Also, by that time, everyone was having a blast witnessing her skills as an emcee thanks to her charisma, undeniable sense of humor, and quirky delivery. She did a great job at preparing the crowd for the wild ride, screaming things like, “Buckle up your motherf**king seatbelts!” into the mic.
7. Anitta makes history and looks good doing it
Anitta had one of the best moments in her career last night, gracing the stage as the first Brazilian artist to be nominated for a Moon Person. Her sultry performance of “Envolver” already had everyone drooling, but then it got even better as she shouted into the mic, “VMAs, did you think I wasn’t going to shake my a**!?” and proceeded to deliver her signature booty-bouncing choreography that had the crowd going wild.