By Olivia Fleming

The iconic MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) aired on Tuesday, Sept. 12, featuring captivating performances from talented artists within the music industry. The 2023 VMAs lived up to their reputation as one of the biggest music events of the year. 

The nearly four-hour show featured 16 incredible performances from some of the top artists. In addition to celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, the VMAs also honored the best in Latin music. 

A long-anticipated reunion of NSYNC took place, leaving the audience feeling restored. Former members of the polarizing boy band were in attendance as they presented the award for best pop video. They handed off the award to one of the biggest female artists, Taylor Swift. The artist could barely hold back her excitement and disbelief as she took to the stage. 

Olivia Rodrigo followed Lil Wayne’s opener with her hit single, “Vampire.” Rodrigo began her underrated performance with impressive vocals– sitting in a hazy forest wearing a simple red sports bra and matching mini skirt with white leg warmers. 

The talented artist psyched out the crowd as the set started to fall apart around her–a nod to the vampire music video. 

The actress/singer’s face showed expressions of concern as her set started to malfunction. After a giant red curtain fell from the ceiling, Rodrigo was quickly escorted off the stage by a crew member which left the audience shocked.

It was later revealed that the glitching was all a part of Rodrigo’s clever reference to her music video which later won the award for best editing. True fans knew exactly what was happening since the music video also featured set malfunctions and concerned audience members. 

The catastrophe performance went viral and the public went crazy over it taking to social media to share their thoughts. Many were confused by her set and didn’t realize it was a planned malfunction and you can tell by their faces. 

Selena Gomez in particular was one of the audience members that cameras pointed to for her looks of confusion. Her expressions were misinterpreted and people speculated that the star was allegedly mocking Rodrigo. This is not the first time Gomez has had to publicly come out and explain herself on social media. Gomez took to Instagram to put an end to the speculation calling out people for overanalyzing her reactions and pulling things out of context. 

The VMAs are known for being iconic and featuring performances that leave the public talking. Rodrigo is not only a talented vocalist but is a genius for pulling this stunt. After being rushed off the stage, the artist comes back moments later fiery and more fierce than ever. Accompanied by a group of backup dancers, Rodrigo begins her second song “Get Him Back!” The switch-up had people talking and Rodrigo showed she truly could do it all. 

Doja Cat also showcased her undeniable talent in her captivating performance of “Paint the Town Red,” “Attention,” and “Demons.” She began her set from the audience which was different from the other performances of the night. 

After her recent controversies, the artist proved that she is still relevant. There’s something gravitational about Doja Cat’s performances and her unique stage presence shined through especially in, “Paint the Town Red.” She engaged with the cameras and audience members unlike any of the other artists. 

Doja Cat has faced backlash this year in the public after it came out that she had been a part of online feuds and was allegedly participating in racist chat groups. Despite these setbacks, she showed how she will continue to win over everyone with her pure talent. 

Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion proved that their dynamic duo is still very much relevant. Cardi B caught our attention by descending from the ceiling on a disco ball dressed in a crystal-covered electric blue outfit. 

Almost immediately after entering the stage, the crowd began to roar with excitement. Cardi B performed alongside Megan Thee Stallion to entertain the crowd with their latest duet, “Bongos.”

The performance featured high energy from start to finish with fierce choreography from the two artists and several backup dancers. This was the first time the artists had collaborated since releasing their chart-topping hit single, “WAP,” which came out in the summer of 2020. 

Taylor Swift was the big winner of the night, walking away with nine awards. Swift holds the record for the most wins in the category of Video of the Year with a total of four. 

Ice Spice won the award for Best New Artist and teared up as she accepted the award. The genuine reaction from the 23-year-old rapper was comforting to see as the artist had her, “I made it,” moment. 

The VMAs continues to be a platform that not only commends our favorite artists but pushes the boundaries and sets high standards for the entertainment industry.

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