Katy Perry, the unapologetic host of the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), did not hold back, taking political pot-shots at POTUS, the disastrous Fyre Music Festival, last night’s Game of Thrones season finale and denounced the hate-driven events in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Needless to say, Kendrick Lamar got things “lit” right from the start. He broke out the lasers for an over-the-top performance of his hit single, “DNA,” before calling in a favor from the dojo for his performance of “Humble,” featuring uniformed martial artists climbing a rope engulfed in flames.
Taylor Swift debuted the music video for her new single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” a rather introspective narrative into the various aspects of the 27-year-old pop singer’s personality. In the song, Swift talks about the media, her breakup with Calvin Harris, her feud with Kanye West, and some are even speculating she may have taken a few shots at Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry as well.
The pettiness became palpable when Fifth Harmony took the stage for a performance of their hit single, “Down” featuring Gucci Mane. As the group took the stage, they flung off a mysterious “fifth member,” a low blow at former member Camila Cabello, who announced her departure from the girl group last year.
— Salute Magazine (@salute_mag) August 28, 2017
Among the special performances, New Zealand pop singer, Lorde, broke out in interpretative dance to her latest single from Melodrama, “Homemade Dynamite”; Miley Cyrus broke out a Grease-themed performance of her song, “Younger Now,” which featured toddlers on motorcycles and geriatric dancers; and Demi Lovato tore the roof off from the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas with a performance of her new single, “Sorry Not Sorry.”
Jared Leto took center stage to share a few words about the late Chris Cornell and Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, who took his life on July 20, before gracing fans with a video of their performance from the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.
“At once ferocious and delicate,” Leto said of Bennington’s stoic vocal ability. “That voice will live forever.”
Of all the performances, last night… Pink really stole the show. Before being presented with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, the Philadelphia native performed a medley of hits including, “Get the Party Started,” “So What,” “Fuckin’ Perfect,” “Just Give Me A Reason,” “Raise Your Glass,” “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” and “What About Us,” while riding a flying Cadillac, before getting onto a John Deere tractor, driving past scantily clad women wielding chainsaws, before mashing up her own music videos.
Logic moved the audience to tears with his song, “1-800-273-8255,” featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid. The song, which also happens to be the number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, touched viewers everywhere with its relatable, sad and hopeful message.
The evening continued with Thirty Seconds To Mars performing their new song, “Walk on Water” featuring Travis Scott performing his hit single “Butterfly Effect” in infrared; the legendary Rod Stewart performing his classic “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” with dance-rock group DNCE; and host Katy Perry, who closed the show with her new song “Swish, Swish” featuring Nicki Minaj.
Among the night’s biggest highlight’s were speeches from the Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV denouncing racism and bigotry, and Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer, the victim of the white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, who died when a car crashed into anti-fascist protesters during the rally. Bro was asked to present the award Best Fight Against the System, which was presented to five distinct artists who have addressed topics such as immigration, body image, race, LGBTQ equality, environment, and anti-Muslim hate.
The biggest winner of the evening was Kendrick Lamar, who took home six awards, including “Video of the Year” and “Best Hip-Hop Video” for “Humble.” However, while the performances were on point, not all of the awards-given made it to the main stage during last night’s program, including “Best Rock Video.”
The program also happened to run simultaneously to the season finale of HBO’s Game of Thrones and Showtime’s Twin Peaks, so needless to say, MTV clearly needed to draw more viewers and ran the award show live on Comedy Central as well. But, just in case you missed any of it, here is a rundown of last night’s 2017 Video Music Award Winners:
Video of the Year
Kendrick Lamar – “Humble.”
Artist of the Year
Best New Artist
Taylor Swift and Zayn – “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever”
Fifth Harmony feat. Gucci Mane – “Down”
Kendrick Lamar – “Humble.”
Zedd and Alessia Cara – “Stay”
Twenty-One Pilots – “Heavydirtysoul”
Best “Fight Against the System”
- Logic ft. Damian Lemar Hudson for “Black SpiderMan” (Race & LGBTQ)
- The Hamilton Mixtape for “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)” (Immigration)
- Big Sean for “Light” (Race); Alessia Cara for “Scars To Your Beautiful” (Body image)
- Taboo ft. Shailene Woodley for “Stand Up / Stand N Rock #NoDAPL” (Environment)
- John Legend for “Surefire” (Immigration & Anti-Muslim hate).
Kendrick Lamar – “Humble.”
Kendrick Lamar – “Humble.” (Director Dave Meyers and the Little Homies)
Best Art Direction
Kendrick Lamar – “Humble.” (Spencer Graves)
Best Visual Effects
Kendrick Lamar – “Humble.” (Jonah Hall of Timber)
Kanye West – “Fade” (Teyana Taylor, Guapo, Matthew Pasterisa, Jae Blaze and Derek Watkins)
Young Thug – “Wyclef Jean” (Ryan Staake and Eric Degliomini)
Song of the Summer
Lil Uzi Vert — “XO Tour Llif3”