Beyonce steals the show at Video Music Awards
With last year’s oddball host Miley Cyrus thankfully nowhere in sight, the highs and lows of this year’s MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) came courtesy of Beyonce, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Kanye West and the US Olympic team.
All hail Beyonce
We can sum up the best of this year’s VMAs in one word: Beyonce.
The undisputed US Queen of Pop electrified the audience with her surprise performance of a medley from her latest album Lemonade.
Beyonce brought the house down singing her heart out about rapper-husband Jay Z’s infidelity, smashing a camera with a baseball bat a la her Hold Up MV, dancing ferociously in a black leotard and lying surrounded by actual flames in Don’t Hurt Yourself .
She closed her set with Formation, where her dancers formed the feminist symbol on stage.
Off-stage, Beyonce also made a powerful political statement by showing up on the VMAs red carpet with the mothers of police violence victims, drawing attention to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Many of the women had also appeared in her MV for Freedom holding portraits of their deceased loved ones.
With 11 VMA nominations and eight wins, including the biggie Video Of The Year for Formation and Best Pop Video - Female for Hold Up, it was truly Queen Bey’s night.
To Rihanna, with love
The Barbadian pop star was honoured with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, and marked the ocassion with not one, but four performances at the awards ceremony. Comedians Key & Peele, the show’s lively commentators, rightly joked that we were watching “an extended Rihanna concert featuring the VMAs”.
But perhaps the most jaw-dropping moment came when Canadian rapper Drake presented the honour to Rihanna and professed his love for her, to the crowd’s delight.
“I’ve been in love with (her) since I was 22 years old,” he said. He also praised Rihanna’s music, artistic vision, and how she “hasn’t changed since day one”.
Britney Spears hadn’t performed at the VMAs stage since 2007, when she delivered a lackluster rendition of Gimme More.
Her highly-anticipated comeback this year was supposed to atone for old sins, but alas, the US singer ended up committing a new one.
Netizens were quick to notice how Spears merely mimed the words to her new single Make Me, accompanied by rapper G-Eazy.
“Why does she even bother wearing a microphone?” one Twitter user asked.
It didn’t matter that Spears was dressed to kill in a sparkly yellow bodysuit and matching boots or that she danced her butt off and threw in some sexy hair flips too.
Coming on straight after bona fide artist Beyonce only reinforced the sad fact that the frequent lip syncer can’t sing live to save her life.
Kanye talks... and talks
This year, controversial US rapper Kanye West was given four minutes to do whatever he wanted on stage, after his 11-minute rant at last year’s show went viral.
He walked on to his song Famous, more specifically its controversial lyrics: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/ Why? I made that b**** famous.”
It was a reminder of his and reality TV star wife Kim Kardashian’s recent expose of US pop star Taylor Swift’s hypocrisy in lying about being caught off guard by the song’s line.
Swift was unable to defend herself as she did not attend this year’s ceremony.
Before West introduced the new MV for his song Fade, he predicted Beyonce’s Video Of The Year win and commented on his Famous MV showing what appeared to be a giant orgy.
“It was an expression of our now — our fame right now,” he said. “Us on the inside of the TV… We came over in the same boat, now we’re all in the same bed.”
As always, West made sure to toot his own horn, adding: “My role models are artist-merchants. There’s less than 10 that I can name in history. Truman. Ford. Hughes. Disney. Jobs. West.”
US Olympic gymnasts Madison Kocian, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles and Laurie Hernandez present during the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards. PHOTO: AFP
Members of the US Olympic team added an unusually sporty touch to the proceedings.
Champion swimmer Michael Phelps introduced US rapper Future’s debut VMAs performance, revealing he was listening to the latter’s Stick Talk while sporting his death stare, dubbed “Phelps face”, that went viral online.
Then there was US talk show host Jimmy Fallon, who dressed up as scandal-hit swimer Ryan Lochte, complete with bleached hair and a fake Olympic silver medal.
“Is it too late now to say sorry?” he quipped, quoting Canadian singer Justin Bieber’s hit .
The US women’s gymnastics team known as the Final Five - Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian - also showed up to present Best Female Video to Beyonce.
Gabby Douglas, however, was absent as she was hospitalised for an infection from an earlier mouth surgery.
Still, her teammates were excited to chat and giggle on stage, and gold medallist Biles even took a selfie with her celebrity crush Kim Kardashian.