On MTV's 40th anniversary, the young and veteran performers set the stage on fire at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn on Sunday at the 2021 VMAs.
Hot pink was the unofficial colour scheme of the evening's performances, from Lil Nas X bedazzled boxers as the rapper brought 'Industry Baby' to the stage to Chloe's booty-popping outfit during her first solo single 'Have Mercy' to Lil Nas to Camila Cabello's feather-ruffling display of her latest single 'Don't Go Yet'.
After an illustrious introduction from Billy Porter, Lil Nas X, 22, and his marching band got into formation for the champion's theme 'Industry Baby', assisted by Jack Harlow. After someone quickly ripped off his shirt, the rapper lined up the hot pink inmates of 'Montero Prison' and eventually stripped them down in bedazzled briefs to perform the outro of 'Montero (Call Me By Your Name)'.
Fresh off the hot pink heels of releasing her first solo single 'Have Mercy', Chloe, 23, brought its bootylicious visual to life. The young singer took the stage by storm while her male backup dancers quickly fell under her spell and crumbled to the ground.
Normani showcased her 'Wild Side' as the silver star swept the stage (literally!) and bodied her futuristic rock-infused performance. She traced Teyana Taylor's strapped body with her own in a show-stopping tribute to Janet Jackson's performances.
Foo-Fighters, the first-ever recipients of the Global Icon Award returned to the VMAs stage for the first time in 15 years and gave the night some much-needed rock n' roll edge with their '90s hits 'Learn to Fly' and 'Everlon' as well as 'Shame Shame' from their 2021 album, 'Medicine at Midnight'. The band displayed a posthumous spotlight on late Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts with 'Charlie R.I.P' written on Taylor Hawkins' drum kit.
Hip-hop legend, Busta Rhymes, 49, recreated the eye-popping 'Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See' music video, with Spliff Starr hyping him up by his side, along with 'Ante Up', 'A Tribe Called Quest's', 'Scenario' as well as his signature rapid-fire section of Chris Brown's 'Look At Me Now'.
Olivia Rodrigo, 18, creative virtual butterfly- and balloon-assisted descent into her punk-powered 'Good 4 U' performance.
Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker were introduced by their girlfriends Megan Fox and Kourtney Kardashian, who called them their "future baby daddies," MGK and Barker's debut performance of their single 'Papercuts' painted a clear picture of what being 'Born With Horns', the title of MGK's upcoming sixth studio album looks like. From bursts of fire erupting from the stage, and backup dancers with blood-red flower petals budding out of their face, their performance brought the VMAs to a screeching, guitar-smashing halt.
Ed Sheeran's performance
Ed Sheeran performed 'Shivers' at Brooklyn Bridge Park by storm, where masked fans surrounded the outdoor stage experienced Sheeran up close and personal. Its alternate location outside of the Barclays Center made the English pop star's performance disjointed from the rest of the awards show.
The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber, 'Stay' and 'Ghost' electrifying performance, met with a chorus of screaming girls.
Kacey Musgraves set the dreamiest scene for her first-ever VMA performance of the title track of her fifth album 'Star-crossed', Doja Cat performed on 'Been Like This' and 'You Right', and Camila Cabello, 'Don't Go Yet' paid tribute to her Latin roots.
The shimmering Latin hitmaker Ozuna on 'La Funka' embodied joy as a massive teddy bear ascended from the toy-filled claw machine behind him and floated across the ceiling of the Barclays Center, according to Billboard.com.