As soon as it was announced that Taylor Swift was going to appear on Sunday night’s MTV VMAs, fans probably suspected that she’d end up winning, and she did — making history in the process. Not only that, but she also announced that she’ll be putting out a brand-new album on October 21. She later revealed that it’s called Midnights.
Early in the night, Taylor’s 10-minute short film “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)” won the Best Longform category. Taking the stage with her cinematographer and producer, she thanked fans for “this beautiful indication that we did something right,” and also thanked stars Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien.
But “All Too Well” also took home two other notable awards: Video of the Year and Best Direction. That makes Taylor the only artist ever to win Video of the Year three times; she’d previously won for “Bad Blood” and “You Need to Calm Down.”
Plus, she’s now the first artist ever to win Video of the Year for a video that she directed by herself. Taylor co-directed her previous Video of the Year winner, “You Need to Calm Down.” And finally, Taylor’s now the only woman ever to win Best Direction twice: She previously won for her 2020 video “The Man.”
Other winners included Billie Eilish, Dove Cameron, Lil Nas X, Jack Harlow, The Weeknd, BTS, BLACKPINK, Harry Styles, Doja Cat, Maneskin, Dove Cameron, Bad Bunny and Lizzo. The night’s sexiest performance came from Anitta, who also won Best Latin. She sang “Envolver” in a skin-tight jumpsuit while twerking and getting hot and heavy with a male dancer, and then, as she put it “shook her a**” to “Bola Rebola.”
And speaking of booties, the lead singer of Maneskin, Damiano David, performed in a thong and chaps that left his entire backside bare, and he turned around and showed it off for the crowd. Lil Nas X was more modest: He wore an outfit with strategically placed holes, but covered up his private parts onstage by holding his clutch in front of his crotch.
Performance highlights included Lizzo’s “About Damn Time/2 Be Loved (Am I Ready),” Video Vanguard winner Nicki Minaj‘s medley of her hits, including “Monster,” “Beez in the Trap,” “Super Bass,” “Anaconda” and “Super Freaky Girl,” BLACKPINK’s VMA debut with “Pink Venom,” Eminem and Snoop Dogg’s Metaverse performance of “From the D2 to the LBC,” and Marshmello and Khalid‘s “Numb,” with psychedelic visual effects.
In a nice touch, Avril Lavigne, who was named Best New Artist at the VMAs in 2002, presented the Moon Person trophy to this year’s winner, Dove Cameron. And speaking of the Moon Person, there was a lifesize one floating above the stage, and Johnny Depp’s face appeared digitally in the helmet throughout the night to say things like, “You know what? I needed the work.”
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