Olivia Rodrigo and Lil Nas X Shine Bright at MTV Video Music Awards

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(Photo/ latimes.com and rolingstone.com)

Cate Stanton, Editor-in-Chief

The 2021 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) took place on Sept. 12 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Last year, the show took place at multiple different venues due to COVID-19; however, at this year’s show, hosted by Doja Cat, the entire audience was located at the same venue.

Dropping from the ceiling for their entrance, Justin Bieber and The Kid LAROI opened with the first performance,  singing their hit song, “Stay”. The two singers matched each other’s energy jumping around on stage, creating a lively atmosphere for the audience. Then Bieber went on to sing his latest single “Ghost.” At her first VMAs performance, Olivia Rodrigo sang her chart-topping single “good 4 u.” At the end of her performance, confetti and balloons were dropped into the audience, while Rodrigo smashed the camera with her microphone. Lil Nas X began his performance by singing “Industry Baby,” bringing out Jack Harlow to sing his featured part. After several outfit changes, he finished his set with the chorus of “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” Machine Gun Kelly came on stage with an intense performance of “Papercuts,” smashing his guitar at the end and laying flat on the ground. For his first VMAs performance since 2017, Ed Sheeran sang three songs: “Bad Habits,” “Shivers” and “Perfect.” Swae Lee and Alicia Keys harmonized with “Lala” and “Empire State of Mind”, a song perfect for the occasion, as the show took place in New York, just one day after the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Other performers at the 40th VMAs include: Busta Rhymes, Camila Cabello, Chlöe, Doja Cat, Foo Fighters, Kacey Musgraves, Ozuna, Normani, Shawn Mendes + Tainy and Twenty One Pilots

(Photo/ independent.co.uk)

As for the awards, it is safe to say that Olivia Rodrigo and Lil Nas X may have been up on the stage, more than they were seated in the audience. Lil Nas X received three awards, taking home the top prize, Video of the Year, for his hit song “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” as well as Best Direction and Best Visual Effects. At just 18 years old, Rodrigo also received three VMAs: Best New Artist, Song of Year for her first ever single “Driver’s License” and Push Performance of the Year. When Rodrigo went up on stage to accept her awards, she told the audience that this year had “been the most magical year of [her] life.” After leading the amount of nominations with seven, Justin Bieber received two awards: Artist of the Year and Best Pop video with “Peaches.” BTS won three awards with Best K-Pop, Song of the Summer and Group of the Year. As well as hosting the awards show, Doja Cat won Best Collaboration for “Kiss Me More” featuring SZA.  

Although the VMAs were still cautious to COVID-19 with everyone in the audience wearing masks, the awards night displayed a return to normalcy, one that many are looking forward to after the last year and a half.