The MTV Video Music Awards premiered on August 26th this year, captivating the audience with incredible visual performances. The VMAs are known as one of the biggest nights in music, put on this year at the Prudential Center in New York, New York. Performances from the likes of Missy Elliot, Lizzo, The Jonas Brothers and Lil Nas X graced the VMAs stage. We decided to highlight some of our favorite performances of the night.
2019 VMAs Performances:
Beyond The Stage cover star, Ava Max performed her chart-topping singles “Torn” and “Sweet but Psycho” at the VMAs pre-show. Max began her performance with a short melody of “Torn” leading into “Sweet but Psycho”. Max, as well as her backup dancers, were adorned in a top-to-bottom silver outfit and tall, silver gladiator boots. Ava Max took the VMAs pre-shoe stage by storm with choreographed dance & incredible vocal runs. In an exclusive Beyond The Stage interview, Max spilled on her upcoming album- “the album is pretty much done, we’re just making final cuts. it’s just straight dance-pop records that I cannot wait to share with everybody. They’re very strong, they’re for my females for sure.” Ava Max was also nominated for Best New Artist presented by Taco Bell. You can find the full interview with Ava Max here.
Opening the Video Music Awards was none other than the queen herself, Taylor Swift. Taylor electrified the stage with incredibly colorful performances of hit singles “You Need To Calm Down” and “Lover”. The singles are off of her newest album “Lover”. Swift’s performances featured several well-known LGBTQ+ icons, including Todrick Hall.
Next up is the fiery, female-empowerment goddess herself, Lizzo. Lizzo graced the VMAs stage for the very first time, and man did she make a lasting impression. A giant, inflatable butt was the main focus of the start of her performance of hit “Truth Hurts”. Transitioning into “Good As Hell”, Lizzo removes her trench coat revealing a stunning yellow bodysuit that matches her eyeshadow. The backdrop changes to a sky-themed visual, with “Lizzo” spelled out in clouds. Lizzo took the time to give a feel-good speech to the world during her performance. “Let me talk to y’all for a second,” she said. “I’m tired of the bullshit. It’s so hard to love yourself in a world that doesn’t love you back.” She also took the opportunity to remind you of something so simple yet so complicated: “Feel good as hell- because you deserve to feel good as hell!”
The Jonas Brothers
After a decade-long hiatus, The Jonas Brothers returned to the VMAs stage. Performing their newest hits “Sucker” and “Only Human”, JB live-streamed a part of their Asbury, NJ stop of the Happiness Begins tour at The Stone Pony. Joe Jonas is the only human being allowed to wear a Canadian tuxedo- and that’s exactly what he did for their VMAs performance. The Jonas Brothers started on-stage and took their performance into the crowd. Fans having the time of their lives, reaching for the brothers as they follow the camera and greet fans. Their performance was incredible as expected, we just wish Kevin Jonas’ vocals had a moment to shine.
Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X made his debut VMAs performance with his newest hit single “Panini”. Extraterrestrial costumes and futuristic visuals, Lil Nas X captivated the VMAs audience. A staged, comedic news report began his performance, giving a brief listen of Lil Nas X’s chart-topping hit “Old Town Road”. His performance was filled with seamlessly executed, choreographed dance and strong vocals. Lil Nas X’s performance was incredibly immersive, making it one of our top performances of the night.
Vanguard award-winner Missy Elliot performed an immersive medley of her top hits of all-time. Missy’s performance was filled with costume changes, different backdrops and specialized choreographed dance. During the “Work It” section of the top-hit medley, Missy Elliot brought out Alyson Stoner- the famous dancing little girl from the “Work It” music video. Alyson had her time to shine and remade the exact dance she did for the music video. Missy returned to the stage in a scarecrow costume for “Get Ur Freak On”. She ended her performance with a mob of dancers for “Lose Control”.
Miley Cyrus performed her newest single “Slide Away” for the very first time- on the VMAs stage. Cyrus took the audience by surprise with her song of choice due to her recent split from Liam Hemsworth, but nonetheless, she gave us an emotional and powerful performance. Backed by an orchestra of string instruments, Miley’s sky-high vocals echoed off the Prudential Center walls. Black and white lighting with Miley center-stage, made for an amazing comeback for the singer.
Last on our list of performances is by none other than Normani. The former Fifth Harmony member made her debut as a solo artist with her first-ever performance of “Motivation”. She began her performance sat atop a basketball hoop, surrounded by chainlink fences where her backup dancers clung on and moved to the song. Angelic vocals echoed through the roof, paired with perfectly executed dance moves. Despite a wardrobe malfunction that caused Normani to be stuck in her cropped velour jacket, the singer didn’t miss a beat. She handled the issue like a queen- and as the situation blew up online, Twitter has decided to stan.
Complete List of Categories and Winners:
Artist of the Year: Ariana Grande
Song of the Year: Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus – “Old Town Road (Remix)”
Best New Artist, presented by Taco Bell®: Billie Eilish
Best Collaboration: Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello – “Señorita”
Push Artist of the Year: Billie Eilish
Best Pop: Jonas Brothers – “Sucker”
Best Hip Hop: Cardi B – “Money”
Best R&B: Normani ft. 6lack – “Waves”
Best K-Pop: BTS ft. Halsey – “Boy With Luv”
Best Latin: ROSALÍA & J Balvin ft. El Guincho – “Con Altura”
Best Dance: The Chainsmokers ft. Bebe Rexha – “Call You Mine”
Best Rock: Panic! At The Disco – “High Hopes”
Video For Good: Taylor Swift – “You Need to Calm Down”
Best Direction: Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus – “Old Town Road (Remix)”
Best Visual Effects: Taylor Swift ft. Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco – “ME!”
Best Editing: Billie Eilish – “Bad Guy”
Best Art Direction: Ariana Grande – “7 Rings
Best Choreography: ROSALÍA & J Balvin ft. El Guincho – “Con Altura”
Best Cinematography: Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello – “Señorita”
Best Group: BTS
Best Power Anthem: Megan Thee Stallion ft. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign “Hot Girl Summer”
Song of Summer, presented by Samsung: Ariana Grande & Social House – “boyfriend”
Video Vanguard: Missy Elliot
To watch the full 2019 VMAs:
For complete coverage of the MTV Video Music Awards visit billboard.com/mtv-video-music-awards.