Photo: Kevin Winter/MTV VMAs 2020/Getty Images.
Miley Cyrus, The Black Eyed Peas, BTS, and Machine Gun Kelly also took to the stage.
MTV‘s annual Video Music Awards (VMAs) took place this past Sunday night, August 31, although not quite like ever-before-seen. In the midst of a pandemic, the powerhouse cast of pop music’s most famous performers crowded the streets and skyscrapers of New York City and, in some cases, even streaming in from halfway across the world.
With The Weeknd starting the night off from thousands of feet over the city, Lady Gaga dosing a socially-distanced industry audience with her 9-minute Chromatica medley, featuring Ariana Grande on their joint track, “Rain On Me,” the VMAs went off without a hitch despite no usual red carpet appeal. Miley Cyrus gave the comeback performance of her career on her debut live performance of “Midnight Sky,” which oded back to Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” days as she glided across a giant disco ball. BTS performed against a CGI green screen all the way from South Korea and CNCO made their MTV VMA debut during a “drive-in” style performance at an outdoor lumberyard in the city.
Of course, Lady Gaga stole the evening with her five wins, bringing her career total VMA wins to 18. The evening made a humble “Fame Monster” the third most-winning VMA artist of all time, topped only by Madonna at 20 wins and Beyoncé at 24. Gaga won artist of the year and the first-ever MTV Tricon Award, a new accolade that honors a “highly accomplished artist across three disciplines.”
No detail was spared and no spectacle was too large for the 2020 VMAs—from fireworks along the Hudson River to helicopters filming stars at the zeniths of buildings, and a corky Keke Palmer hosting her first-ever VMAs. As the first-event-of-its-kind during quarantine, MTV proved that the live award show format isn’t dying out anytime soon… even if the stars of the world have to tune in from home to participate like everyone else.
Relive some of the evening in the videos below.