Lady Gaga cleaned house at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards, while The Weeknd took home the top prize.
The VMAs kicked off with another touching moment, as host Keke Palmer told viewers the show was dedicated to Chadwick Boseman, who died Friday at age 43 after privately battling colon cancer for four years. Gaga won five honours Sunday, most of them for her No. 1 hit with Ariana Grande, “Rain on Me,” which the pop stars performed live for the first time. With an electronic mask, Gaga performed a medley of her songs, including “Stupid Love,” “Chromatica II” and “911.” She and Grande were joined by a number of background dancers all wearing masks.
The show also took moments to honour Juice WRLD and Pop Smoke, rappers who died in recent months though their current albums continue to dominate the pop charts and streaming services. The Black Eyed Peas, who closed the two-hour-plus show with Nicky Jam and Tyga, ended their set by saying, “Black Lives Matter.” And R&B star H.E.R. won the video for good award for her protest anthem about police brutality and systemic racism, “I Can’t Breathe.”
But most of the show was dedicated to fun performances — some pre-taped, some filmed in various locations in New York City, though the performance locations weren’t always clear. The VMAs were originally supposed to be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but plans changed because of the pandemic. Colombian singer and best Latin winner Maluma sang from Brooklyn, while The Weeknd performed from Manhattan. Pop all-stars BTS, who won four awards including best pop and best group, performed from South Korea. They were top-notch during the pre-taped performance, which featured their signature, skilled choreography. The seven band members danced and sang in sharp suits, at some points with the backdrop of Times Square behind them.
DaBaby, backed by the dance crew Jabbawockeez, ran through several of his hits, including “Rock Star.”
During the latter track, he rapped while jumping on top of a police car, with a burning city as his backdrop. And Doja Cat, who was named Push best new artist, gave a futuristic performance of her hits “Say So” and “Like That.”
Megan Thee Stallion won best hip-hop for “Savage” and Taylor Swift won best direction for “The Man.”