VMAs still play to celebrate latest music releases

Photo courtesy of VMAs, Public Domain


MTV’s Video Music Awards have been around for 36 years and even in the midst of a global pandemic, that hasn’t stopped music artists from releasing music. This year, we have heard music from some of the biggest names in the industry: SZA, Megan Thee Stallion, Lady Gaga and more. Even though the VMAs looked a little different from past years, the same energy and quality of performances were bigger and better than ever.

Hosted in New York City on Aug. 30, MTV created a virtual ceremony for the award show with different green screen effects and pre-recorded acceptance speeches. Despite this, host Keke Palmer did a fantastic job of keeping viewers engaged through their screens. She had great energy throughout the entire show and even performed her own song, “Snack,” towards the end. Palmer also dedicated this show to the late Chadwick Boseman, who passed two days prior after battling with colon cancer for four years.

“…A true hero, not just onscreen, but in everything he did. His impact lives forever,” Palmer said in dedication to Boseman.

Many precautions had been taken prior to filming the performances and speeches. The performing artists, crew and others involved in producing the show had to quarantine for three to four days on arrival and get tested before and after filming.

Another precaution taken was the use of face masks. Multiple artists performing did not wear masks on stage, whereas many positive influencers did, like Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande. A handful of times, background dancers were seen wearing masks and standing far apart from each other throughout the performance.

MTV had originally intended on having an in-person ceremony with limited seats; after talking with health officials, they ultimately decided to air a majorly virtual experience. If held indoors, this year’s VMAs would have been the first major indoor event to occur since the pandemic first hit New York in March. 

Even with new challenges and obstacles, the performers and guests still provided an amazing show. As artistic as ever, Lady Gaga brought the house down with Ariana Grande as they both gave a stunning performance of “Rain On Me”. With flashing lights, eccentric costumes and amazing vocals, the duo put on a fantastic show that didn’t disappoint. They took home awards for Best Cinematography, Best Collab, Gaga for Artist of the Year, and Song of the Year.

K-Pop sensations BTS made their big VMAs debut and wowed viewers across the globe. This was the group’s first appearance since the Grammy Awards in January, and at the VMAs, BTS snagged multiple awards and gave their fans a stunning performance for their new single, “Dynamite.”

Both BTS and Lady Gaga received four awards each, and they were incredibly thankful for all the support they’ve gotten this year from their loyal fans. Year after year, fans vote in for their favorites to win Artist of the Year and this time, Lady Gaga grabbed her fourth award of the night and won this award for the very first time. 

Many artists that night performed either on stage or in front of a green screen. This includes the iconic duo, Chloe x Halle with “Ungodly Hour” as well as Jack Harlow’s performance of “Whats Poppin” during the pre-show. Miley Cyrus performed “Midnight Sky” and sat on a disco ball, paying homage to her famous “Wrecking Ball” video. Doja Cat surprised fans with a medley of “Say So” and “Like That.”

The Weeknd opted out for singing in front of a screen and went to the extreme for his fans. He performed “Blinding Lights” at 30 Hudson Yards’ observation deck in New York while a helicopter filmed him from below.

Despite the pandemic, the VMAs were a smash hit and will be remembered as one of the first award shows to go virtual.