Since 1984, MTV’s Video Music Awards have been awarding performers for not just their music quality, but also for the aesthetic value of their art.
On Sunday, Aug. 27, the 2017 VMAs saw past, current and upcoming stars perform and receive awards for their work.
The host of the evening was Katy Perry, who played up the moon man aspect of the award by making her show star-studded: literally. Perry’s opening jokes centered around her trip to Mars, including cameos from Buzz Aldrin and Kevin Bacon. (You may be wondering why Kevin Bacon. The “Footloose” heartthrob starred in the 1995 drama “Apollo 13.”)
Upon her return, Perry joked about the state of the world, hoping that since she left we’d solved all the world’s problems — not quite. Perry’s space-themed gaffs were reserved only for her opening monologue, and for the rest of the evening the singer awkwardly used popular slang in an attempt to get a laugh from the crowd.
However, while the host may have missed the mark, the performances of the evening were spot on.
Kendrick Lamar opened the evening with plenty of fire — literally. The singer’s set included a dancer covered in flames, and later more dancers ascended a lattice on fire.
Other notable performances included Lorde’s “Homemade Dynamite.” Arguably the strangest part of the evening, Lorde did not actually sing her song. Rather, the New Zealand native played the recorded version of the song while performing an interpretive dance. Rumors speculate that the singer was down with the flu, but Lorde could quite possibly have had this in planning long before the night of the VMAs.
Miley Cyrus also made a triumphant return to the VMAs, performing her new song “Younger Now.” Previously, Cyrus’s arrival at the VMAs included odd outfits and questionable on-stage performances (let’s not forget her duet with Robin Thicke). However, the singer is recreating herself and her music with hits like “Malibu.” Cyrus’s performance at the VMAs was beautiful, including elderly dancers and a song that’s probably going to hit the airwaves soon.
Finally, P!nk performed a medley of her hit songs before receiving the 2017 Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. P!nk’s set opened with the uplifting party anthem “Get the Party Started,” and she ended with her latest hit, “What About Us.” In between were other highlights of her music career, including “So What” and “F**kin’ Perfect.” Her entire performance was just fantastic, confirming the decision to bestow upon her the Video Vanguard Award.
Outside of the performances, Taylor Swift released the music video for her latest song, “Look What You Made Me Do.” (I could get in to it, but that would take a whole other article entirely.)
The evening also featured tributes to musicians Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell, who both took their lives earlier this year. Both Jared Leto and Kesha Rose offered touching tributes to the singers, while also pleading to those listening who were considering suicide to seek help.
There were also plenty of mentions of the events in Charlottesville, with many singers speaking out against hatred, racism, bigotry and other forms of violence and hate. The VMAs awarded their Best Fight Against the System award, meant to honor musicians who elicit social change in their music, to all six nominees. Heather Heyer’s mother announced the award and the start of the Heather Heyer Foundation.
To see more of the VMAs, including full performances, winners and highlights of the evening, visit mtv.com/vma.
Video of the Year: “Humble.” by Kendrick Lamar
Artist of the Year: Ed Sheeran
Best New Artist: Khalid
Best Dance Video: “Stay” by Zedd feat. Alessia Cara
Song of Summer: “XO Tour Llif3” by Lil Uzi Vert
Best Pop Video: “Down” by Fifth Harmony
Best Collaboration: “I Don’t Wanna Life Forever (Fifty Shades Darker)” by Zayn and Taylor Swift