The 2018 MTV Video Music Awards got here again to the place all of it started — New York’s Radio Metropolis Music Corridor — Monday evening. However it was lacking some of the star energy that the present has pulled in over the years: Huge-name nominees Beyoncé, Jay Z, Drake and Bruno Mars, in addition to Infantile Gambino, had been nowhere in the constructing. Nonetheless, the evening ended with one of the artists who helped construct MTV, Madonna, bringing all of it full circle.
The VMAs pre-show acquired off to a lackluster begin with a efficiency by newcomer Bazzi. Though the 20-year-old is about to open for Justin Timberlake on the European leg of his “Man of the Woods” tour, Bazzi’s pale blue-eyed soul on his single “Mine” demonstrated that he’s nowhere close to the place JT was at the similar age. However no less than he acquired to carry out in a fairly spectacular setting atop the well-known Radio Metropolis Music Corridor marquee.
Best: Nicki Minaj’s award acceptance
Earlier than presenting the first award of the evening — Best Hip-Hop Video — with Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish butchered the pronunciation of Camila Cabello’s identify and then threw shade at the singer’s former group, Fifth Concord. However when Nicki Minaj accepted the Moon Particular person for her “Chun Li” video, she clapped again at Haddish, telling her, “Don’t be coming for Fifth Concord as a result of Normani is that bitch.” It was the sort of unscripted, unpredictable second that separates the VMAs from different awards reveals.
Best: Nicki Minaj’s efficiency
After her Haddish takedown, Minaj later delivered the first actually epic efficiency of the evening — at downtown New York’s Oculus transportation hub, no much less — with a medley of songs from her new album “Queen.” It positive felt like Minaj was working her personal monarchy together with her military of dancers decked out in gold. Fabulously over-the-top, the complete factor regarded like one thing out of “Coming to America.” The solely downside was that it was pre-recorded.
Worst: Shawn Mendes
In comparison with some unforgettable VMAs openers of years previous — even Britney Spears’ 2007 “Gimme Extra” efficiency was memorable in its personal train-wreck method — Shawn Mendes’ “In My Blood” kicked off the evening on a “meh” observe. Though the 20-year-old singer-songwriter poured on some faux rain for a moist T-shirt end, his child John Mayer act would have labored higher someplace in the center of the present.
Best: Backstreet Boys
Twenty-two years after their debut US album, they might be extra like Backstreet Center-Aged Males now — all of them however Nick Carter are of their 40s — however the boy band confirmed that they’re growing old effectively, performing new single “Don’t Go Breaking My Coronary heart.” Though there barely gave the impression to be sufficient room for all 5 of them atop the Radio Metropolis Music Corridor marquee, they stored it tight with their still-slick harmonies.
Worst: DJ Khaled
Is there anybody extra annoying in music proper now than DJ Khaled? As a hype man, he’s simply all look-at-me bluster. However one way or the other he retains displaying up all over the place, like the man that nobody needed to ask to the social gathering — however who comes anyway. Not solely did he crash Jennifer Lopez’s Video Vanguard second, however he popped up once more to introduce Travis Scott. Any individual get the hook for this dude, please.
Best: Jennifer Lopez
Showing as if she hadn’t aged a day since dropping her first video in 1999, J.Lo arrived onstage for her Video Vanguard award efficiency wanting like a bronzed Bronx goddess. She proceeded to run by her laundry listing of profession highlights — from “Ready for Tonight” and “On the Ground” to “Love Don’t Value a Factor,” “Jenny from the Block” and “I’m Actual” (with particular visitor Ja Rule). The former Fly Lady continues to be one of the fiercest dancers in the enterprise at virtually 50, and when she was achieved, she soaked in all the hometown love, together with some from beau Alex Rodriguez. An actual New York second.
Worst: Placing newcomers in the major present
The mini performances by Bazzi (again once more, after his pre-show lameness), Jessie Reyez, Hayley Kiyoko, PrettyMuch, Juice Wrld and others simply didn’t work. We get that MTV needed to reveal some younger artists, however they actually all ought to have been relegated to the pre-show. Higher to make use of the time and house in the major occasion for the people who viewers actually care about seeing, not those that are nonetheless paying their dues. Because it was, the Backstreet Boys would have gotten extra love.
Best: Madonna’s Aretha Franklin tribute
Though it felt like there ought to have been a reside musical tribute to Aretha Franklin somewhat than a video remembrance, having the Queen of Pop, Madonna, pay heartfelt homage to the late Queen of Soul was an emotional spotlight of the evening even when Twitter disagreed. Thirty-four years after she carried out “Like a Virgin” at the first VMAs at Radio Metropolis, Madonna was nonetheless serving to to place the “M” in MTV this yr.
Performing his tune “One Day” with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, rapper Logic introduced out lots of of immigrant mother and father and youngsters — sporting T-shirts with the message “We’re all human beings” — in a robust protest of President Trump’s separation and detention coverage. It was the sort of second that was larger than the music.