The 2022 MTV Video Music Awards were a three-ring circus with hosts Nicki Minaj, LL Cool J, and Jack Harlow, and viewers had to take the good with the bad.
Prudential Center on Sunday, August 28 kept fans of pop culture and chaos zealots on the edge of their seats with its fascinating performance by Nicki Minaj and its — censored, boo—ass—fewer breaches by Mneskin lead singer Damiano David.
Johnny Depp’s stunning performance as MTV’s Moon Person astronaut caused quite a stir at the Video Music Awards, whether you see it as a comeback or a disaster. Depp, 59, made his first public appearance since he won a defamation suit against ex-wife Amber Heard in June, donning a silvery spacesuit to evoke the look of the network’s signature trophy statuette.
The audience applauded enthusiastically after seeing the performance. However, there were many who voiced their disagreement on social media.
It’s been said that “three’s a crowd,” but tonight’s three hosts have shown that not to be the case. Three hours flew by as Nicki Minaj, 39, LL Cool J, 54, and Jack Harlow, 24, kept things moving as the MCs. Nicki and Harlow not only directed the show and performed in front of a rapt audience, but they also won honors for their significant contributions to the music industry.
Nicki Minaj killed it with a medley of her best songs at the VMAs, but instead of sitting on her rightful throne, she bounced, twerked, and worked it on a pole. Queen’s emcee astonished viewers with renditions of hit songs like “Moment for Life,” “Superbase,” “Anaconda,” and her most recent single, “Super Freaky Girl.
” Her performance was the prelude to her receiving the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. She honored her colleagues musicians Kanye, Beyoncé, Madonna, Mariah Carey, and Drake in her acceptance speech.
And she paid tribute to both Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston at the same time. “I wish that Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson were here. I wish more people could see what they are going through right now. Before saying, “Rest in Peace, papa,” she wished that more people would take mental health seriously.
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A 23-year-old Damiano David, the lead vocalist of Italian glam band Mneskin, wore black chaps over a jock strap during the group’s performance of “Supermodel” at the Video Music Awards. Twitter users were upset that MTV had edited out footage showing the musician’s privates. Protesters online called the censorship efforts “pathetic.”
Lizzo, 34, addressed her critics after winning “Video for Good” “To the b—tches that has something to say to me in the press,” she began before deciding not to “clap back” at her many critics and body-shamers, most recently “Mad TV” vet Aries Spears. The comedian compared Lizzo’s shape to the feces emoji last week. Instead of getting even with Spears, 37, the “About Damn Time” pioneer remarked, “B- -tch, I’m winning!”
Best: Snoop and Eminem
Snoop Dogg, 50, and Eminem, 49, performed “From the D 2 the LBC” for the first time at the VMAs.
The seasoned rappers, who performed at Super Bowl LVI halftime with Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, and Kendrick Lamar, left MTV fans gawking with a hybrid showcase of real-life and web3 insanity on the song. Snoop, a 13-time VMAs candidate from Long Branch, Calif., and Eminem, a 13-time winner from Detroit, morphed into Bored Ape-looking avatars Sunday.
Worst: Album of the Year
Bad Bunny should have won Album of the Year over Harry Styles’ “Music for a Sushi Restaurant”
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Styles, 23, beat Billie Eilish, 20, Drake, 35, and Bad Bunny, who would have been the first non-English winner. The “As It Was” star accepted his moon-man via video before his Madison Square Garden gig.
Best: Bad Bunny
The Bronx was jumping. Bad Bunny, 28, teleported VMAs fans to Yankee Stadium Sunday for his “World’s Hottest Tour” performance.
Bunny’s remote performance was the first VMAs live broadcast from the arena. Bunny, who won Artist of the Year, concluded his high-flying moment with a kiss.
Best: Taylor Takes the Top Trophy
Swift, 32, won Video of the Year for “All Too Well” and thanked Doja Cat, 26, and Olivia Rodrigo, 19, for their work.
For the first time, four Video of the Year nominees is women. The “Lover” singer will release her new album on October 21.