Minaj, Swift and Harlow stand out at the MTV Video Music Awards
RAPPER Jack Harlow took to the skies to open the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) on Sunday (Monday in Manila) while actor Johnny Depp did a surprise float above the audience as Moon Man.
Harlow began her performance inside a fake airplane walking down the aisle while performing her hit song “First Class,” which was sampled by Fergie’s “Glamorous.” The rapper joined Fergie on stage and she performed her 2006 jam in a sparkly silver dress with the words “First Class” in red.
“Thank you Fergie for coming with me tonight and deleting that song,” Harlow said after “First Class” won Song of the Summer later on the show. “The beauty of this song is that people don’t realize it’s so hip-hop because of the sampling. Bringing Fergie into the mix in this way means the world to me. It really comes full circle. ‘Glamorous’ was one of the most important songs of my childhood.”
During the show, Depp made a surprise appearance nearly three months after the verdict of his defamation lawsuit with his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard. The 59-year-old entertainer floated from the ceiling while wearing the iconic astronaut outfit with his face digitally inserted into the helmet.
“And you know what? I needed the job,” Depp told the audience at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Lizzo had Taylor Swift dancing from her seat as she performed her new single “2 Be Loved (Am I Ready)”.
Harlow’s name was called back on stage to receive the show’s top award for his appearance on Lil Nas X’s song “Industry Baby,” which won Best Collaboration. Harlow and Lil Nas X tied for the main nominees with seven each.
“This one’s for the champions,” Lil Nas X said before Harlow thanked him for his collaboration on the chart-topping single. The song propelled their nominations, putting them in competition for Entertainer of the Year along with Drake, Bad Bunny, Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles and Lizzo.
Kendrick Lamar entered the show with seven nominations, with Harry Styles and Doja Cat close behind with six nods apiece. Sheeran, Billie Eilish, Drake, Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd have five each.
Swift accepted the award for Best Long Form Video for her “All Too Well: The Short Film.” The singer opened up about creating her first short film, thanking many, including actors Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien, who starred in the project.
“We put our hearts into it,” the “Shake It Off” singer said.
Styles won album of the year for “Harry’s House.” He was unable to attend the awards due to his show at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Harlow is playing a dual role, joining LL Cool J and Nicki Minaj as the show’s hosts.
Minaj performed a medley of her career’s greatest hits from “Roman’s Revenge,” “Chun-Li,” “Moment 4 Life,” “Beez in the Trap,” “Anaconda,” and “Super Bass.” After her set, the rapper accepted the show’s Video Vanguard award, which MTV said she received for her artistry, groundbreaking hip-hop and global superstar status. The honor is named after the late Michael Jackson.
During her acceptance speech, Minaj paid tribute to other music icons such as Jackson, Whitney Houston, Lil Wayne and Kanye West. She talked about the importance of mental health.
“I wish people would take mental health seriously, even if you think they have a perfect life,” said Minaj, who went on to win Best Hip-Hop for her song “Do We Have a Trouble?” featuring Lil Baby.
Eminem and Snoop Dogg brought the metaverse to the VMAs as the duo performed “From the D 2 The LBC,” which was featured on Eminem’s greatest hits album “Curtain Call 2.”
The Red Hot Chili Peppers took to the stage as recipients of the Global Icon award after being touted by Cheech & Chong as their “favorite band of all time”. The band – which consists of Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith and John Frusciante – performed several songs, including their hit “Can’t Stop” from the band’s 2002 album “By the Way” and “Black Summer of this year’s “Unlimited Love”.
Flea gave a speech about her love for human beings with cockroaches, trees and dirt. Smith, the band’s drummer, dedicated the award to Taylor Hawkins, the late Foo Fighters drummer, who died earlier this year.
“I dedicate this to Taylor and her family,” he said. “I love them and miss him everyday.”
Madonna, who is the most awarded artist in MTV history with 20 wins, becomes the only artist to receive a nomination in each of the VMA’s five decades. She got her 69th nomination for her 14th studio album “Madame X”.
Lamar returns to the VMAs as a nominee for the first time since 2018, with nods for best hip-hop, direction, visual effects, editing and a category known as video for good, while that his songs “Family Ties” and “N95” are competing for Best Cinematography.