By Natalie Forster
On August 27, over five million viewers tuned in to watch this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, hosted at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Despite 12.1 million viewers tuning in to the Game of Thrones finale at the same time, the VMAs were just as crazy as ever.
The night opened when Kendrick Lamar rocked out to his hits “DNA” and “Humble.” The host, Katy Perry, arrived on a spaceship, and was quickly followed by Taylor Swift’s new video for “Look What You Made Me Do.”
Ed Sheeran and Lil Uzi Vert made their presence known by teaming up for a rendition of Vert’s “XO Tour Llif3” which, to no surprise, left the audience in shock. Fifth Harmony took the stage to perform songs “Angel” and Down,” which was met with speculation after the group threw a fifth doll-like member off the stage before the songs began.
Although she had the flu during her performance, Lorde still went on; instead of singing her lyrics to “Homemade Dynamite”, she put on an interpretive dance while her song played in the background.
Thirty Seconds to Mars performed their brand-new song “Walk on Water” using infrared radiation software to show their silhouettes instead of appearing like normal, mimicking the lyrics of their song “times are changing”.
Miley Cyrus appeared to be one of the more tame performances of the night, bringing elderly people on stage to perform her latest song “Younger Now”. Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj’s “Swish Swish” closed the show, ending with Katy flying through the air and landing on a huge basketball hoop. Other big performances of the night included DNCE’s “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” with Rod Stewart and Shawn Mendes’s “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back”.
This year was the year of renovation and awareness to the VMAs. Instead of the normal “Moonman” statue, 2017 introduced the world to a new gender-neutral “Moon Person”. Not only was there a change in name, but MTV also introduced neutral categories and a new category to the show, Best Fight Against the System, which was introduced by Susan Bro, mom of a Charlottesville victim.
Along with Bro’s speech, Kesha spoke about suicide awareness before Logic, Khalid, and Alessia Cara took the stage to perform “1-800-273-8255”, titled after the suicide hotline. Pink’s acceptance speech of the Video Vanguard Award, presented by Ellen Degeneres, told how she taught her daughter to look in the mirror with pride and self-love even when faced with life’s hardest moments; in that moment, Pink was the mother that everyone needed.
Other highlights of the night included Jared Leto’s speech about the late Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington and Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV’s speech denouncing racism.
The biggest winner of the night was Kendrick Lamar with nearly half a dozen awards, including Video of the Year. Alessia Cara was the only other artist with multiple awards, two, and Khalid took home Best New Artist.