Last night's VMAs were a glorious, technicolor array of moderately controlled chaos and, well, a lot of noise and shiny things. Some people won stuff, other people didn't win stuff, Kanye West talked for 10 minutes about… possibly the meaning of life? We're still not clear… But, as we all know, the VMAs aren't REALLY about awards. Here are our top 5 moments from a night of non-stop action.
5. Kanye's Response to the 'Best Female Video' Winner
We're pretty sure that “Elastic Heart” by Sia should've won this one, but Shia Labeouf in a cage in his dirty undies was never going to beat out the models and explosions of Taylor Swift's “Bad Blood.” One of the other artists in this category, however, was Beyonce (aka, the reason Kanye jumped on stage with Swift six years ago). So, after her 'Best Female Video' win was announced, as Swift approached the stage smiling graciously, a camera panned to Kanye in the audience. We expected a grumpy face, or a polite slow clap (like the one Jared Leto was doing). Instead, Kanye was squirming in his seat and laughing hysterically, but warmly. Then, mid-speech, when the camera panned back to Yeezus, he was still grinning and clapping enthusiastically. You can tell it took every fiber of his being not to jump on stage and do something hilarious, but the man refrained. (Which is more than could be said for what happened during his Vanguard speech.)
4. Miley Cyrus Talking About Tits (Again)
We are now utterly convinced that Miley Cyrus is obsessed with boobs in a way that surpasses even Katy Perry's whipped cream bra and Madonna's Gaultier cones. From wearing nothing but a couple of straps over her nips, to nonchalantly announcing — mid-wardrobe malfunction — into a microphone, to the entire auditorium: “Wait. What's happening? Oh, my tit is out?” and then finally talking about Kim Kardashian's prominently visible nipples in one of the creepiest ways imaginable (it involved impersonating a baby and breast-feeding), Ms. Cyrus is officially pop's biggest supporter of breasts. Free the nipple!
3. Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj's Co-Performance
A few weeks ago, when Minaj kicked up a stink about not being nominated for 'Video Of The Year,' she sparked both a conversation about race and a brief spat (followed by an apology) from Taylor Swift. So Minaj opening the show in decadent style last night seemed like a strong statement from the producers of the VMAs. The real shock though came halfway through “The Night is Still Young,” when Taylor Swift strolled onto the stage and joined in, before the two performed “Bad Blood” together. They even had a little cuddle at the end! We are almost positive that there was virtually no live singing involved in any of it, but kudos to the VMAs for taking a bad situation and turning it into something positive — and genuinely surprising.
2. Nicki Minaj vs. Miley Cyrus
One moment could have easily unraveled the VMAs last night, and it came when Minaj called Miley Cyrus a bitch at the end of her 'Best Hip Hop Video' acceptance speech for “Anaconda” (no doubt over some comments Miley made last week about Minaj's inability to accept her lack of 'Video of the Year' nomination).
Immediately after thanking her “Pastor Lydia”, Minaj spat: “And now back to this bitch that had a lot to say about me in the press, Miley. What’s good?”
Despite the visible shock of award presenter, Rebel Wilson, Miley didn't miss a beat. Miley ignored the camera she was supposed to be looking and speaking into, turned to address Minaj directly and said: “Hey, we’re all in this industry, we all do interviews and we all know how they manipulate shit. Nicki, congratu-fuckin-lations.”
When Cyrus turned back to read from her auto-cue, she was clearly so infuriated, she audibly sighed, visibly rolled her eyes and just ad-libbed a few sentences onto the end of what she was reading to make her point. “The past winners of this award have gone on to incredible success. And the past LOSERS” she emphasized, glancing over her shoulder at a still-yelling Minaj, “have still gone on to make their mark on the VMA stage. Me. I lost this award back in 2008… And I was fine with it! Because it’s no big deal! It’s just an award! And I persevered! …So, here are the nominees still vying for your vote… Congratulations, Nikki.”
Sure, the whole thing was terribly unprofessional on both sides, but as stupidly entertaining, unexpected events went last night, this was the winner.
1. All That LGBTQ Stuff
Not only was the Moonman designed in rainbow colors this year by designer, Jeremy Scott, but Miley Cyrus made sure the LGBTQ community was visible throughout this show. Her live performance was introduced by 11 young trans people and was backed by a troop of dancing drag queens, and in her role as VMAs host, at one point she emerged literally dressed as a rainbow flag. It was awesome. Another positive? In Taylor Swift's acceptance speech for 'Video of the Year', she said: “There’s been a lot of discussion about what this video means. I’m just happy that in 2015, we live in a world where boys can play princesses and girls can play soldiers.” Amen to that.