VMA Recap: Year of change

The annual MTV Video Music Awards kicked off on Sunday night at the Forum in Los Angeles. This years show took their own stance with the topic of neutrality and equal rights by changing the name of the ‘Moon Man’ award to ‘Moon Person.’  The show began with a performance from Ed Sheeran, before Lil Uzi Vert joined him on stage. After opening up with a video urging to get to outer space, host Katy Perry flew to center stage in a shiny space suit. Perry’s opening speech provided the audience with a few recaps of this year’s trends that she missed during her space adventure.

Paris Jackson introduced the nominees for Best Pop Video, with Fifth Harmony taking the award. Following a cut-short performance from Julia Michaels, the world premiere of Taylor Swift’s new video, “Look What You Made Me Do” hit screens. 

Shawn Mendes took the stage with his top charting song “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”. The audience then got a look at the nominees for the category of ‘best new artist’, before being reminded to keep voting for their choice.

Lorde’s flu-like symptoms moved the focus to her choreography performance rather than her vocals. Keeping with the dance theme, Teyana Taylor and Pete Wentz presented the moon person for Best Dance Video to Alessia Cara and Zedd. Although not present to accept their award, both Taylor Swift and Zayn took the title for Best Collaboration.

With the passing of Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington and his close friend Chris Cornell earlier this year, Jared Leto took the stage in their honor. His speech paid tribute to Bennington’s talent and kind heart, while emphasizing the importance of staying hopeful and moving forward. Leto’s speech ended with an introduction to a performance by Linkin Park. Unfortunately, after a brief display of Bennington’s picture, the show abruptly cut to commercial without airing the actual performance.

Perry returned to the stage, sticking to her trendy game before introducing Miley Cyrus. Performing her song ‘Younger Now’, Miley danced across the stage with a large group of older back-up dancers and rocked out with children on faux motorcycles. 

Pink was awarded the Michael Jackson Vanguard award by Ellen Degeneres after a montage performance. Her acceptance speech told a heartfelt story about her daughter’s struggle with society’s current idea of beauty and finished with the importance of self-love and only changing, “to see more kinds of beauty”.

After the voting polls closed, Ed Sheeran took home the award for Artist of the Year.

Singer, Kesha introduced an empowering performance of “1-800-273-8255” by Logic, Khalid and Alessia Cara. Final words from Logic urged us to continue to fight for “peace, love, positive and equality for all”. 

For the last remaining categories, the Moon Person for Best New Artist was awarded to Khalid. 

Kendrick Lamar’s performance on a fiery stage closed the show. Lamar took home two awards for his hit single “Humble”, one for Best Hip-Hop Video and the other for Video of the Year.