The biggest night for music of the year was celebrated on Sept. 12 at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMA) at the Prudential Center, and some of the biggest names in the industry were honored.
The nearly four-hour-long televised event was jam-packed with performances, and it ended the night with a music medley celebration dedicated to the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.
The VMAs have been celebrated annually since its conception by MTV in 1984 to honor the best of the best in the music video side of the music industry. Simply being nominated for an award is coveted by artists and leaving with the notorious Moon Man award is a feat within itself.
Taylor Swift left the Garden State with nine Moon Man awards of the 11 categories that she had been nominated for, including Video of the Year and Song of the Year for her hit song “Anti-Hero.” NSYNC reunited on stage for the first time in years to present the first award of the night to Swift as she won Best Pop. Swift has now achieved the most wins in a single night and holds the title of second most overall wins, following Beyonce.
Shakira became the first South American artist to be honored with the Video Vanguard Award, which is an award presented to artists by MTV for their outstanding contributions and the impact that their music has on the industry and pop culture. Shakira performed a medley of her hit songs, “She Wolf,” “TQG”, “Whenever, Wherever” and more, highlighting her contributions to the rising popularity of Latin pop music. Shakira also won the award for Best Collaboration with Colombian Singer Karol G, for their hit “TQG.”
Other performances of the night included Olivia Rodrigo’s performance of “vampire” and “get him back!,” two songs from her sophomore album “GUTS.” Rodrigo left the night winning the award for Best Editing for her music video “vampire.” Ice Spice, a rising star in the music industry, won the award for Best New Artist and SZA won the award for Best R&B for her single “Shirt.”
K-pop group TOMORROW X TOGETHER won the award for Push Performance of The Year for their hit single “Sugar Rush Ride” from their sixth EP “The Name Chapter: Temptation,” and sizzled on the stage with Brazilian singer Anitta in their performance of “Back for More.” Other artists in K-pop such as the South Korean girl group BLACKPINK and Jungkook from BTS left the night with awards of their own too. BLACKPINK won Group of the Year and Best Choreography for their hit music video “Pink Venom,” and Jungkook was awarded Song of Summer for his hit single “Seven.” The South Korean boy group Stray Kids also left the night with a Moon Man of their own winning Best K-Pop for their song “S-Class,” the lead single from their fourth studio album “5-Star.”
Doja Cat performed her hit singles “Attention,” “Paint the Town Red” and “Demons,” and won the award for Best Art Direction for her music video “Attention.”
Brazilian artist Anitta not only performed with TOMORROW X TOGETHER during the night, but also performed her own set of songs, including “Used to Be” and “Funk Rave,” which she won the Best Latin award for. Other highlights of the night include the awards for Best Alternative going to Lana Del Rey and Jon Batiste for their song “Candy Necklace,” and Best Afrobeats going to Rema and Selena Gomez for their song “Calm Down.” Italian rock band Måneskin won the award for Best Rock for their song “The Loneliest,” and they performed their song “HONEY (ARE U COMING?)” to the delight of audiences worldwide.
Dove Cameron also left with an award of her own winning the Video for Good category for her music video “Breakfast.” This award goes to the music video with the best message to share with audiences.
It was also a big night for hip-hop, as Nicki Minaj won the award for Best Hip-Hop for her song “Super Freaky Girl.” Several artists in hip-hop including LL Cool J, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne and DMC took to the stage at the end of the night to celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop with a medley of several songs that have impacted the industry such as “Itty Bitty Piggy,” “The Message” and “Walk This Way.” Sean “Diddy” Combs was honored as the recipient of the Global Icon Award after performing a medley of his songs including “I’ll Be Missing You” and “Last Night.”
Everyone in attendance seemed to be in high spirits by the time the event ended, with many going home with their awards and smiles on their faces for another successful year at the VMAs.