VMAS Recap: Lady Gaga, The Weeknd, BTS and more

VMAS Recap: Lady Gaga, The Weeknd, BTS and more

VMAS Recap: Lady Gaga, The Weeknd, BTS and more

See our top highlights from this year's televised ceremony.

See our top highlights from this year's televised ceremony.

Text: Valerie Stepanova

Despite all the natural disasters, economic hardships and sociopolitical unrest that manifested in the past few but mighty months, the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards still came to our screens as the first live award show to premiere since the coronavirus lockdown. The show took place in an outdoor venue, and not everyone wanted in — while some artists accepted their awards on a literal stage, others (including Taylor Swift and BTS) chose to do so online. With everything happening in this crazy coronavirus-ridden world, it is fair to regard the ceremony in itself as quite a miracle of our time.

Undeterred by all the difficulties, challenges and complications, the likes of Lady Gaga and The Weeknd still brought the much-needed iconic moments to the aforementioned extravaganza. And, above all, this year's host pick and favorite Keke Palmer was quite the treat.

See our key highlights and takeaways from the 2020 VMAs below:

The Weeknd Opener Was Truly Cutting-Edge

Quite literally — coming to us from the edge, the pointed, cantilevered balcony in one of the Hudson Yards high-rises, the singer-songwriter performed "Blinding Lights," a track from his most recent album that won video of the year in the Best R&B category. The staging was televised via a helicopter, featuring camerawork akin to the one that can be seen in his video directed by Anton Tammi, and the artist himself sported the kind of red jacket and bruised, bloody makeup that can be seen in the very same music video.

In his acceptance speech, the artist also called to the viewers' attention to something more important than MTV's music awards ceremony. “It’s really hard for me to celebrate right now and enjoy this moment,” he said. “So I’m just gonna say Justice for Jacob Blake and Justice for Breonna Taylor. ”

Lady Gaga: "I didn’t come here for the California roll.”

As with most things, if Gaga decides to do something — she is going to do it well. For this year's televised Video Music Awards ceremony, the artist has not only showed up and performed on stage but also graced us with four acceptance speeches (for Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Collaboration, and Best Cinematography), all remarkable and incredibly earnest, while also throwing a quotable punch line in the end: "I didn’t come here for the California roll.”

And the four face-masked looks she wore deserve an award of their own.

Black Lives Matter

This year, the spotlight was on social and political issues that exist in today's America: this year's host Keke Palmer opened the ceremony with a potent monologue that touched on Black Lives Matter and the unrest in Kenosha, Wisc. R&B artist H.E.R. received the Video for Good award for "I Can't Breathe", a protest anthem that came along with a video that includes the names of victims of police violence. DaBaby performed a medley of his recent hits while dancing atop a police car. And The Black Eyed Peas concluded their act by saying Wakanda forever — Black Lives Matter.

Miley Cyrus Threw It Back, Isolation-Style

In the past, the pop star has been providing the MTV awards' stage with some of its most iconic moments — think twerking on the same stage with Robin Thicke or feuding with Nicki Minaj. A true VMAs staple.

BTS Gave Their First-Ever VMAs Performance

The K-Pop superstar boy band performed “Dynamite,” an upbeat neo-disco track and the first single to have all of its lyrics in English. While they performed their dance routine in front of a big screen, the whole thing looked somewhat like a video game simulation. It is safe to say that this is one of the performances that warrant a real-life do-over once the COVID-19 pandemic releases us from its deadly grip.

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