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The best, the weird, and the fun things at this year’s VMAs

The 40th annual Video Music Awards gave us numerous highlights and surprises. Hosted by rapper Nicki Minaj, the event took place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey last September 13, 2023.

Within the first half-hour, boy band NSYNC reunited on stage to present the first award for best pop video that went to Taylor Swift.

Band members Justin Timberlake, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass, Chris Kirkpatrick, and JC Chasez shared the stage with Swift. Bass handed the ‘Anti-Hero’ singer a friendship bracelet just like what fans do at the superstar’s shows. “You’re pop personified,” she told the group.

She then returned to the stage later on to pick up her award for song of the year for “Anti-Hero.”

Lil Wayne opened the show by performing his new single “Kat Food.” This then followed Olivia Rodrigo bringing her “Vampire” music video set to the stage before launching into her cheeky pop-punk single “Get Him Back!”

Between the two songs, snippets of her singles played loudly while being rushed from the staged pre-planned “malfunction” that mirrored the “Vampire” video and symbolized her move from her first record to her second.

There were other performers that night including Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion who brought “Bongos” to life with big choreography. Demi Lovato graced the stage performing a rock ‘n’ roll medley of her biggest hits Heart Attack, Sorry Not Sorry, and Cool for the Summer before giving the best K-pop award to Stray Kids.

Shakira was given the Video Vanguard Award and performed a phenomenal bilingual medley spanning through her decades of hits such as She Wolf, Te Felicito featuring Rauw Alejandro, the record-breaking “Shakira:Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53” with Bizarrap. Her set was introduced by her “Hips Don’t Lie” collaborator Wyclef Jean.

Backstage, a viral video was taken during the award show that appears to show rapper Megan Thee Stallion and singer Justin Timberlake allegedly having a heated exchange. However, it turned out that it’s all good between the two, as Megan waved enthusiastically at Justin and smiled as he walked away. It was reported that the rapper was just expressing her desire to hang out with Timberlake in a less chaotic setting.

Meanwhile, French Montana used his time as best R&B presenter along with Ashanti to draw attention to the Morocco earthquake relief, highlighting a relief fund that he said he would personally donate to. Montana grew up in Morocco before moving to the US.

For the first time, only women were nominated in the show’s Artist of the Year category. Swift, Beyoncé, Doja Cat, Nicki Minaj, Karol G and Shakira are in the running for the night’s prize. Swift is the top nominated artist of the evening.

The show also celebrated 50 years of hip-hop with a star-studded, multi-generational finale performance: DMC, Doug E. Fresh, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, LL Cool J, and Minaj joined forces.

Here are the list of the winners for this year’s VMAs:

VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Taylor Swift – “Anti-Hero”


SONG OF THE YEAR: Taylor Swift – “Anti-Hero”


SHOW OF THE SUMMER (Social Category): Taylor Swift


SONG OF THE SUMMER (Social Category): Jung Kook ft. Latto – “Seven”

ALBUM OF THE YEAR (Social Category): Taylor Swift – Midnights



BEST POP: Taylor Swift – “Anti-Hero”

BEST HIP-HOP: Nicki Minaj – “Super Freaky Girl”

BEST R&B: SZA – “Shirt”

BEST ALTERNATIVE: Lana Del Rey ft. Jon Batiste – “Candy Necklace”


BEST LATIN: Anitta – “Funk Rave”

BEST K-POP: Stray Kids – “S-Class”

BEST AFROBEATS: Rema & Selena Gomez – “Calm Down”

VIDEO FOR GOOD: Dove Cameron – “Breakfast”

BEST DIRECTION: Taylor Swift — “Anti-Hero” — Directed by Taylor Swift

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Taylor Swift — “Anti-Hero” — Cinematography by Rina Yang

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Taylor Swift — “Anti-Hero” — Visual Effects by Parliament

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY: BLACKPINK — “Pink Venom” — Choreography by Kiel Tutin, Sienna Lalau, Lee Jung (YGX), Taryn Cheng (YGX)

BEST ART DIRECTION: Doja Cat — “Attention” — Art Direction by Spencer Graves

BEST EDITING: Olivia Rodrigo — “vampire” — Edited by Sofia Kerpan and David Checel


Other POP! stories that you might like:

NCT’s Taeil and Haechan serenade as they walk in ‘N.Y.C.T’

Iconic duo Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion close out the summer with ‘Bongos’

TikTok user calls out fashion influencer Bryanboy for his behavior after ‘wrongly’ crossing a bike lane

Jennifer Love Hewitt responds to comments that say she looks different

Is it weird to stan NewJeans or any 4th/5th gen K-pop idols when you’re a grown adult?

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