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The 5 Key Moments From the 2020 MTV VMAs


The 5 Key Moments From the 2020 MTV VMAs

All in all, this year’s MTV Video Music Awards were relatively tame; after all, this is the awards show where Britney Spears writhed with a snake and engaged in a lip-lock with Madonna, so any night that doesn’t involve reptilians or celebrity-on-celebrity kisses automatically pales in comparison.

That said, there was plenty to note about Sunday night’s VMAs, from numerous excellent performances to a bold and inventive red carpet. (Machine Gun Kelly in all pink and Jaden Smith in color-block? We’re on board.) Below, find a roundup of the five most significant moments from the 2020 VMAs.

1. Keke Palmer’s impressive hosting skills.

Every part of Palmer’s repertoire hit the right note, from the humor of the various bits she engaged in to her moving tributes to Chadwick Boseman and the Black Lives Matter movement. In a truly awful year, seeing Palmer find the right mix of light-heartedness and sincerity onstage felt like a welcome return to normalcy. Let’s get this woman an Emmys or Oscars hosting gig, stat!

2. Lady Gaga’s mask-tivism.

It wouldn’t be an awards show without Lady Gaga on hand to wear a bizarre outfit—or several. This year, though, Gaga chose to nod to the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic by wearing a series of larger-than-life face coverings, telling the audience, “I might sound like a broken record, but wear a mask. It’s a sign of respect.” It was a great way to frame what has become a dividing line of our current moment, and lent a little glamour to the ongoing mask-as-accessory conversation.

3. Chloe x Halle’s brilliant performance of “Ungodly Hour.”

Just one question: Why were these up-and-coming superstars relegated to the VMA pre-show? We would much rather have seen them close out the night than the Black Eyed Peas (and their ridiculous glowing crotches).

4. Miley Cyrus coming in like a wrecking ball (again).

Has the world evolved past the need for Miley Cyrus swinging around on a giant disco ball? Probably, but in such a turbulent year, it was nice to go a little retro.

5. BTS’s ultra-joyful dance number.

When K-Pop supergroup BTS showed up to perform their hit “Dynamite” in dapper coordinated suits, it was just the touch of fun that the awards show needed.