everything you missed at last night's vma awards

Obviously Lizzo killed it.

by James Greig
27 August 2019, 1:15pm

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

35 years after its inception in 1984, the VMA’s remain one of the most important events in the music industry calendar. The ceremony has always been great at producing iconic moments -- think Britney snogging Madonna, Lady Gaga’s meat dress, Kanye interrupting Taylor Swift, Nicki Minah demanding ‘Miley, what’s good?’ Last night may not have been a vintage year for drama or beef, but there were still plenty of memorable moments. First, the name on everyone’s lips…

Lizzo absolutely killed it
A giant pair of inflatable buttocks set the tone for what was a hugely fun and frothy performance, which featured multiple costume changes and Lizzo downing a bottle of tequila -- or water in a tequila bottle, but who cares? It’s hard to think of a more enjoyable duo of bangers than ‘Truth Hurts’ and ‘Good As Hell’. ‘I just took a DNA test, turns out...’ is already close to being an iconic opening line, so much so that Hilary Clinton saw fit to tweet it at Lizzo the other day and, unfortunately, made it slightly less cool in the process.

But the medley of these two songs that she performed last night, along with a troupe of backing dancers and vocalists, was at times genuinely ecstatic. Lizzo has been widely hailed as the Queen of this year’s VMA’s, and rightly so.

Taylor Swift got mistaken for a drag queen
Taylor Swift’s recent single ‘You Need to Calm Down’ is hardly subtle in its pro-LGBT message and neither was her performance last night, comprising graphics which read ‘equality act’, a bunch of visibly queer backing dancers, and enormous flashing rainbows. There’s something endearing about this level of earnestness but ‘You Need to Calm Down’ is simply not a very good song -- the stripped-back performance of ‘Lover’ which she segued into was way more effective.

Later on, John Travolta nearly handed Swift’s ‘Video of the Year’ for the aforementioned ‘You Need to Calm Down’ award to drag queen Jade Jolie by mistake. In fairness, Jolie and Swift look pretty similar, so as far as award ceremony gaffes go, it’s quite an innocuous one.

Lil Nas X confirmed his status as meme king
It seems inevitable, and entirely fair, that ‘Old Town Road’ was crowned ‘Song of the Year’ -- anything else would have been a travesty. Lil Nas X is unique in the sense that, unlike basically any other musician, he’s actually extremely funny on the internet. Never one to miss up the opportunity for some banter, he accepted his award by saying ‘I’ve got a little speech’ and then pulling out an enormous, floor-length scroll. This is, objectively, very funny and the internet wasted no time in turning the incident into a meme.

Earlier in the evening, he performed ‘Panini’ on a futuristic set reminiscent of the sci-fi film Tron. A fake news report, from the year 2079, poked fun at the number of Old Town Road remixes he’s released, with a pretend advert for ‘remix #3162 - starring Yung Sandwich, the ghost of Benjamin Franklin, my mother’. Shine on Lil Nax X, you clown Prince.

Missy Elliot had a heart-warming reunion
Missy Elliot received the ‘Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award’, celebrating her life’s work. It’s kind of weird that it’s still called that, after the recent controversies surround MJ, but Missy Elliot is an undeniably worthy recipient.

She celebrated the occasion by performing a medley of her greatest hits, including ‘Get Your Freak On,’ ‘Lose Control’ and ‘Work It’. It was this last track which provided one of the most memorable moments of the night: Alyson Stoner, who was the child dancer in the video for ‘Work It’, came on stage in a bright yellow Adidas tracksuit, and showed that she hasn’t gotten any worse at dancing in the intervening 17 years.

Another highlight was ‘Pass that Dutch’, which featured a UFO, a field of corn, and Elliott decked out like a scarecrow, which was a pretty iconic look.

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

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Missy Elliott
VMA Awards
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