The MTV Video Music Awards made a triumphant return to the Prudential Center in Newark on Tuesday night, with Nicki Minaj taking on the role of host for the nearly four-hour-long event. The night was filled with surprises, memorable performances, and heartfelt acceptance speeches.
One of the standout moments of the night came when the members of 'N Sync reunited on stage to present a Moon Person trophy to Taylor Swift. As Swift accepted the award, she couldn't contain her excitement, gushing directly to the boy band, "I had your dolls." It was a nostalgic and heartwarming moment for both Swift and 'N Sync fans.
Another highlight of the evening was when Sean Combs, also known as Diddy, received the global icon honor. In his acceptance speech, he humbly recounted his humble beginnings as a paperboy, reminding the crowd that success can come from the most unexpected places.
Brazilian pop star Anitta stole the show with her solid one-liner during her acceptance speech, saying, "I want to thank myself because I worked so hard." She proved her hard work on stage as well, delivering a powerful solo medley and a collaboration with the K-pop group Tomorrow X Together.
Throughout the night, there were several other memorable moments. Doja Cat, known for her unpredictable style, delivered a polished and high-concept performance, capturing the anxiety of returning to the office with her unique look and surrounded by dancers covered in ghoulish red paint.
Olivia Rodrigo also surprised the audience with a memorable fake-out. Her performance of “Vampire” recreated an awards show gone wrong, leaving the crowd momentarily confused when lights burst onstage and a curtain fell. However, Rodrigo quickly returned, grinning and performing another song from her new album.
Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, known for their provocative performances, played it relatively safe with their rendition of "Bongos." While the censors caught most of the profanities, the audience camera captured Taylor Swift dancing along, adding to the night's excitement.
Shakira, who received the video vanguard award, delivered a 10-minute performance that involved hair flipping, guitar playing, and even crowd surfing. The truly eye-grabbing moment came when she wielded two knives, running one across her torso before tossing them aside.
The night also featured a flashback to MTV's past with a hip-hop anniversary medley. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Slick Rick, and Doug E. Fresh took the crowd on a journey through the genre's beginnings. Nicki Minaj then emerged with her beloved early mixtape track "Itty Bitty Piggy," and later reunited with her mentor Lil Wayne for "A Milli." LL Cool J and Run-DMC's Darryl McDaniels also commanded the stage, showcasing the rich history of hip-hop.
Despite the many noteworthy moments, it was Taylor Swift who took home the top prize of the night, winning the award for her “Anti-Hero” music video. Swift expressed her gratitude, saying, "This is unbelievable. The fact that this is a fan-voted award means so much to me." She dominated the night, winning a total of nine out of the 11 awards she was nominated for.
Overall, the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards proved to be an eventful and memorable night, celebrating the diversity and talent of the music industry. From mesmerizing performances to heartfelt acceptance speeches, the night was a true testament to the power of music.
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