MTV VMA 2022: Project progress in pop
At the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards, Nicki Minaj showed the night was still young – but in her finale, Taylor Swift shone in the spotlight with her new surprise.
Presenting the night in an animated plane floating above New Jersey’s Prudential Center Stadium, co-host Jack Harlow cruised the runway in a stewardess costume for the camera. Its passengers were notable figures, including TikTok’s latest shining star, Saucy Santana.
Nominated for the Push Performance award, Santana starred in the 90-minute pre-show event, alongside famed correspondent Tate McRae. Competitor Dove Cameron caught the public’s attention, winning Best New Artist after live fan voting throughout the show.
Harlow then opened to a song with Fergie before lending the stage to Lizzo, who showcased her strong vocals in a medley of her recent works. She defended the support for “About Damn Time”.
“I don’t know what Video for Good means, but I know what your vote means, and that’s a lot,” Lizzo said.
Harlow and Minaj, the MTV Michael Jackson Video Vanguard winner, triple-hosted with LL Cool J, which fueled the hype in the crowd for viewers at home.
“I remember when I first walked onto the VMAs stage, and in a lot of ways we were introducing hip-hop to the world,” LL Cool J said. “It was amazing, but tonight is your opportunity to prove this is the liveliest, loudest MTV crowd in MTV history.”
Minaj unleashed her popular alter egos in a special 10-minute set featuring her biggest hits like “Super Freaky Girl” and “Anaconda.” The rap queen had a blast, as did Swift, who was seen dancing from the front row (as always).
Everyone seemed very excited this year, like Khalid, who graced the awards screen with a jolly jam session next to Marshmello. BLACKPINK also served, stealing the stage with impressive choreography and jaw-dropping vocals.
Conan Gray, JID and Flo Milli embraced their musical aesthetic in a pre-commercial side room – but Lauren Spencer Smith stood out with her loud, angsty sound. Entertainer of the Year Bad Bunny also thrived from afar, celebrating his achievement in front of his stadium tour audience in New York.
Brendon Urie from Panic! At The Disco contributed a lovely soprano ballad, and up-and-coming country singer Kane Brown was uplifting in his VMA debut. Brown shared that accomplishment with Best Latin Music Video winner Anitta, both of whom are striving for triumphs like that of 2022 Global Icon recipient, the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Late-night comedian Jimmy Fallon made for best presenter at the VMAs, and plenty of other familiar faces starred in commercials for his sponsors.
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A few of the awards that were not given live were: Best Pop Music Video, “As It Was” by Harry Styles; Best Choreography, “Woman” by Doja Cat; Song of the Year, “Happier Than Ever” by Billie Eilish; and Best Direction, “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor Version) (The Short)” by Taylor Swift.
Swift also scored best long-form video for the short and took the time to thank everyone who believed in her idea.
“We put our hearts into it, trying to do something that might be worthy of the love that you, the fans, have shown this song,” she said. “Thank you for this beautiful indication that we have done something right.”
Harlow also expressed his gratitude for “First Class’s” winning song of the summer, and his sense of nostalgia for the memorable record he sampled there.
“’Glamourous’ was one of the biggest and most important songs of my childhood. It influenced my whole style, so ‘First Class’ – that’s me,” he said.
“Do we have a problem?” by Minaj featuring Lil Baby won Best Hip-Hop Music Video.
Otherwise, she proved an iconic host, clearly comfortable with her role and content at this time in her adult life.
In her speech for the Vanguard Award, Minaj was thoughtful in her commemoration of all the supporters and inspirations behind her long career.
She acknowledged her crazy fan base, The Barbz, and Taylor Swift, who “played a huge part in the success of ‘Super Bass’.”
Finally, Minaj invited Swift onstage to accept the VMAs’ most coveted award, Video of the Year, for “All Too Well: The Short Film.” After a nearly year-long hiatus from “Red (Taylor’s Version)” and a private retreat from the public, she chose Sunday night for the announcement of her next album, “Midnights.”
“I’m so proud of what we’ve done, and I know every second of that moment that we couldn’t have made this short without you, the fans, because I wouldn’t have been able to re-record my albums if it wasn’t for you,” Swift said. “I had kind of decided that if you guys were that generous and gave us this…maybe it would be a fun time to tell you that my brand new album releases October 21.
The legacies of Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift aren’t going to sleep anytime soon — and neither is the tradition of the MTV VMAs.