VMAs 2020 // Best Dressed & Show Recap

With the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards being one of the first big in-person events to be held since COVID-19 hit earlier this year, the show definitely had a noticeable change of pace in comparison to previous years. In an effort to maintain social distancing guidelines, most of the performances were prerecorded and there was no live audience (just cringey fake cheering in the background). The parts of the show that weren't prerecorded were filmed in outdoor locations across all five boroughs of New York City with no audience. 

I look forward to the VMAs every year to see the always memorable - and often outrageous - performances, red carpet fashion, and iconic pop culture moments. This year was very different in that regard because of the prerecorded aspect, which took away from a lot of the spontaneity the show usually has. In addition, there was really only a few big performances that were actually worth watching.

The opening performance of the night was The Weeknd with "Blinding Lights", which he performed over the stunning backdrop of Manhattan on the Edge observation deck at Hudson Yard. The Weeknd never disappoints when it comes to serving iconic visuals for his music and this performance was no different. The view from the observation deck looked so beautiful at night, especially with the Empire State Building behind him! There was a helicopter circling him the entire performance and it was even topped off with hundreds of fireworks set off over the Hudson River behind him! 

"Blinding Lights" also won for Best R&B Video and for Video of the Year - both of which were so well deserved. "Blinding Lights", along with the rest of After Hours have been some of my favorite releases of 2020 so far!  He kept both of his acceptance speeches short, but they held a very important message - "It’s really hard for me to celebrate right now and enjoy this moment, so I’m just going to say, justice for Jacob Blake, and justice for Breonna Taylor," he said. Click here to sign a petition to demand justice for Breonna Taylor & here for Jacob Blake.

Another part of the show that I loved was Miley Cyrus' debut performance of her new single "Midnight Sky". I've had that song on repeat for the last couple of weeks and I just can't get enough of it! The performance itself was simple, but at the end she officially traded in her wrecking ball for a glittering disco ball, which was such a fun homage to her past!

Although I loved both of those performances, the star of the 2020 VMAs was Lady Gaga! Some of the biggest moments of her career took place on the VMAs stage, like her groundbreaking performance of "Paparazzi" in 2009, her iconic meat dress, and her performance of "Applause" in 2013 - all of which are some of my favorite moments in modern music history. It's been 7 years since she has attended, so I knew this was going to be big! To kick off her first performance of her new music, she took us all to Chromatica with a ten minute medley of "911", "Rain On Me" featuring Ariana Grande, and "Stupid Love". 

Every single person apart of the performance had a mask on, which is something none of the other performers of the night did while they were on stage. I love that they spread the message of the importance of wearing a mask with their massive platforms on a show that is as talked-about as the VMAs are - if Gaga, Ariana, and a dozen dancers with them can wear a mask while doing full choreography without missing a note, then you can too. I love the way she made the best out of the pandemic in the most Gaga way possible, with different custom masks to match every costume change.

Gaga and Ariana were the biggest winners of the night, taking home 5 awards for "Rain On Me", which is one of my favorite songs of 2020. Ariana wasn't there for any of the acceptance speeches, but Gaga was so well spoken and shared so much inspiration to the viewers.

In her final acceptance speech of the night, she said "Just because we're separated right now, and culture feels less alive in some ways, I know a Renaissance is coming. Stay safe, speak your mind, and I might sound like a broken record, but wear a mask - it's a sign of respect."

Lady Gaga was also the first recipient of the Tricon Award, which seems to be the replacement of the Video Vangaurd Award. For the past 13 years, Lady Gaga has made a massive impact on the music industry in a way no other artist ever has. She is constantly reinventing herself as an entertainer and has shown how diverse her talents are time and time again. She is an incredible performer, visionary, songwriter, activist, fashion icon, actress, the list goes on. Lady Gaga is someone I greatly admire, and I know millions of others around the world do as well. She has redefined pop music's impact on our culture in so many ways, so there is really no one more deserving of the inagural MTV Tricon Award!

Even though there were so many great artists nominated for VMAs this year, I did want to also share a few that deserved to be and surprisingly weren't.

When it comes to an artist that is doing something completely innovative with their music and excels in translating that into a visual medium, no one is doing it like Harry Styles. He released 4 amazing music videos in the past year that are so cinematic with incredible art direction. Namely, I was surprised "Adore You" wasn't nominated, which I thought would have definitely been a contender for Video of the Year. He created an entire fictional island, equipped with a great storyline, special effects, creative hair, makeup & wardrobe, etc. - I could go on and on, but it's really incredible and one of my favorite music videos of all time. Harry has had a massive breakout year as a solo artist with the release of his second solo album, Fine Line, and for the VMAs not to recognize that is so surprising.

Another that I thought would have been a contender for Video of the Year is "Physical" by Dua Lipa - or actually, any of the videos she released this year. Her latest album, Future Nostalgia, is one of the greatest pop albums released in a very long time and has been making so many incredible music videos to go along with her singles all year. She is another artist that is so innovative when it comes to her visuals, which is strange for her not to be nominated at all.

Harry Styles and Dua Lipa are two of the biggest artists of the year and their presence was definitely missing from this year's show! 

The VMAs had a few new quarantine-themed categories, one of them being Best Quarantine Performance. I never even heard of the band that won, so it's surprising that they were chosen over many of the more established acts. She wasn't nominated, but I personally loved all of Katy Perry's at-home performances to promote her new album, all of which were genuinely really well done and didn't even look like they were filmed at home. She did dozens of performances all while she was 8 and 9 months pregnant, which I think definitely deserves some recognition. I also loved Post Malone's Nirvana tribute livestream, where he covered all of the band's biggest hits. He even dressed like Kurt Cobain  - it was one of my favorite performances Post Malone has ever done and makes me hopeful that he will finally make a true rock album one day! 

There was technically no official red carpet this year, but the few presenters and performers that were there had some really great fashion moments that I have to share!

Lady Gaga

Ariana Grande

Miley Cyrus

Bella Hadid

The Weeknd

Machine Gun Kelly

Keke Palmer

Madison Beer

Jaden Smith

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Photo Credit:
Getty Images
Ariana Grande
Miley Cyrus
I Heart Radio
Pop Sugar


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