The 2021 MTV Video Music Awards continued as planned Sunday night in Brooklyn with COVID-19 approaching a little less big, thank goodness, than the year before.
Yes, masks were all the rage with the audience, but at least this time there was an audience at the Barclays Center. And, you know, it was at the Barclays Center. That’s a change from 2020, when the show continued as a strange mix of live and recorded performances from venues across New York City.
For those who missed this year’s show, which marked MTV’s 40th anniversary, here are five moments not to be missed. Appearances ranged from new fans like Olivia Rodrigo and Lil Nas X to older stalwarts Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters.
Even Madonna showed up.
Olivia Rodrigo delivers the goods
Oh-em-gee, Rodrigo sang his furious anthem “Good 4 U,” backed up by the punk fury of his all-female band, and one man, the audience got into the accompanying fists. Before the performance, in a pre-show ceremony, the 18-year-old was named Best New Artist of 2021. Shortly after, she received song of the year for “Driver License.”
Justin Bieber returns to the VMA stage
Bieber returned to the VMAs six years after his emotional breakdown during the 2105 show, where he ended up overwhelmed with tears after a live performance of “What Do You Mean?” This time he teamed up with Kid Laroi for a duet on “Stay” before moving on to a solo performance of “Ghost,” which closed with him singing from the top of a mountain.
As the leader of this year’s VMA nominations with seven nods, Bieber went home with the artist of the year and pop video trophies for “Peaches” with Daniel Caesar and Giveon.
Foo Fighters took their place in VMA history
Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters have been everywhere in recent months, be it battling anti-vax protesters at a little show in Agoura Hills or performing live with 11-year-old drummer phenomenon Nandi Bushell at the Forum. On Sunday night, they ruled the 2021 MTV VMAs as they performed a medley that included “Learn to Fly” and “Everlong” and added a new song, “Shame, Shame.”
“A whole generation of music fans grew up with this band. They have carried the torch of rock ‘n’ roll for 26 years, “stated Billie Eilish, who presented the band with the VMA’s inaugural Global Icon Award. Grohl joked as he accepted the honor that the band” would see you at 26 years “. . “
Lil Nas XX put on a show all night
The rapper took home the top honor of the night, for video of the year, after putting on a show that started on the red carpet and continued throughout the night. In a Rick James-style wig on the carpet in a glamorous purple outfit that was semi-masculine on top and semi-feminine on the bottom, Lil Nas X then moved on to an energetic performance of “Industry Baby.” (with Jack Harlow) and “Montero (Call me by your name)”.
Finally, he welcomed “the gay agenda” by happily accepting his Moon Person statue from former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth.
Surprise! It’s Madonna!
Although Doja Cat was the host for the night, the 63-year-old music video queen appeared as a surprise opening and wished MTV a happy 40th birthday.
Dressed in leather from top to bottom, literally just to the bottom, with only fishing nets showing past that point, Madonna left the audience with a good look at what decades of exercise will do to a person’s butt. .
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2021 MTV VMA: See Top 5 Highlights, From Lil Nas X Style To Sassy Madonna Cameo