The MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday were all about celebrity beef and Miley Cyrus wearing next to nothing.
While Cyrus was a subpar host, the focus of the show was not so much the awards (many of which went to Taylor Swift) but feuds between celebrities — patching over old grudges and creating new spats involving Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Swift and Kanye West.
Two years ago, Cyrus shocked viewers when she twerked with a much older Robin Thicke. But the only shocking part of her hosting gig at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles was her creative (and revealing) outfits, which only covered the parts that she had to conceal for cable TV.
“I literally have done everything on the VMA stage. And none of it showed I was qualified … but here we are,” Cyrus said in her opening monologue.
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She also gave a shout out to fashion designer Jeremy Scott (born and raised in Kansas City) for redesigning this year’s colorful Moonman statue and creating the staging of the preshow and red carpet.
The show also included Justin Bieber’s return and West declaring he was running for president in 2020. And rapper Fetty Wap, a favorite among Kansas City Royals players, won the artist to watch award, but, alas, wasn’t on hand to claim it.
Here are some of the most memorable moments from the 2015 VMA’s:
▪ The opening: Rapper Nicki Minaj launched the show with “Trini Dem Girls” like the queen she is, in a red feather getup, a la Vegas showgirl. But the crowd was wowed when Minaj brought former frenemy Taylor Swift onto the stage to perform her hit “The Night Is Still Young.” Minaj and Swift previously had a Twitter misunderstanding when Minaj was frustrated about her video of the year snub for “Anaconda.” Swift thought the negativity was directed at her and fired back. But the singers quashed their rancor when they sang Swift’s “Bad Blood” onstage, showing that all is right in the world.
Too bad Miley wasn’t in on the peace pact. Minaj would call the VMA host out later that night.
▪ Cop Rebel Wilson: The actress/comedian, who announced the winner of best hip-hop video (Minaj) had something to say about the police … well police strippers, that is. She donned a “(expletive) tha police onsie,” riffing on the N.W.A. classic, and complained that the stripper she hired for her grandmother gave an “uninspired” performance. MTV clearly had no idea how to handle this and the cameras quickly pulled away.
▪ Nicki Minaj, again: She had a lot of people to thank during her acceptance speech for best hip-hop video, including her pastor. But she had something to say on Cyrus. After collecting best hip-hop video for “Anaconda,” Minaj told the audience: “And now back to this b–– that had a lot to say about me the other day in the press. Miley, what’s good?”
Minaj’s microphone was cut off. The VMA host had told the New York Times that Minaj wasn’t “very polite” regarding the VMA nominations. Cyrus tried to downplay the beef, saying, “we all know how they manipulate” words during interviews. But hell hath no fury like a Nicki Minaj scorned.
▪ Justin Bieber returns: Our Bieber Fever is back! The pop singer performed live for the first time in over two years and didn’t miss a beat. He started off with the hit “Where Are U Now?” and sang his new single “What Do You Mean?” By the end he was flying, suspended by wires, and when he came back down to earth, he broke down crying. We couldn’t help but wonder if any of this was directed toward ex Selena Gomez, who was in the audience.
▪ T Swift and Kanye West: The reconciliation of celebrity feuds continued when Swift introduced West on stage to accept the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award, the show’s lifetime achievement award. At the 2009 VMAs, West had interrupted Swift during her best music video award acceptance speech and said nominee Beyonce deserved it instead.
The rapper, Swift said, is a creative force in fashion, music and life. And having her own “Imma let you finish” moment, Swift declared that West had the best career of all time.
Following Swift’s speech, West received a standing ovation for several minutes. The notoriously outspoken rapper was at a loss for words, at first. He admitted that he thinks about his 2009 encounter with Swift a lot and wonders if he had a daughter at that time would he have “grabbed the mic from someone else.” Soon West picked up steam and delivered quite the monologue.
▪ The end: Cyrus closed the show with her own performance. It consisted of a lot of color, a lot of dancers and a lot of weird. Seconds before the show closed, she announced that her new album was online for free.