The best and worst moments of VMA 2021


With pop star Doja Cat as the lead, the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards received high marks for bringing back jaw-dropping performances and jaw-dropping surprises to Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Sunday, September 12, after the show was displaced by the pandemic last year.

From Madonna’s bootylicious opening to wild outfits to unexpected rebuffs, shade, and real brawls, here’s a recap of the best and worst times of the night.

Best: Madonna’s Rear View

The Material Girl left some of their gear at home as Madonna threw the party in honor of MTV’s 40th anniversary. In a skinny leather ensemble, the ‘Like a Virgin’ legend opened the VMAs with a sultry birthday salute.

“And they said we wouldn’t last,” she teased of her controversial relationship with the network. “But we’re still here, mothers.” Madge then stepped away from her microphone, giving viewers a glimpse of her unbelievably stretched bare butt, 63.

Madonna cheekily leaves the 2021 VMA stage at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

Worse: outfit shade Lil Nas X

The hue of the style eclipsed Lil Nas X’s red carpet moment in the most squeaky way. Despite her fierce fashion efforts in a lilac Atelier Versace trouser dress, the “Industry Baby” artist was brutally shot by VMA pre-show host Jamila Mustafa when he went to fishing for a compliment. “Do I look good? Nas asked. “Look, I’m not going to say I hate ‘fit,” Mustafa sniffed. “But, let’s move on.” The reprimand immediately went viral on social media. “OH MY GOD WHY IS SHE SAYING THAT?” ” tweeted @blairsmani, expressing the sentiment of many viewers.

Jamila Mustafa interviews Lil Nas X on the red carpet of the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center on September 12, 2021 in Brooklyn.
Getty Images for MTV / ViacomCBS

Best: Cyndi Lauper’s Feminist Discourse

Before Cyndi Lauper presented the trophy for Best Pop to Justin Bieber, Giveon and Daniel Caesar for “Peaches”, the firecracker “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” launched a powerful feminist plea. “Girls always want to have fun,” said the 68-year-old. “But we also want funds. Equal pay. “She then spoke about the searing controversy over abortion, saying:”[We want] control over our body. You know, basic rights. The audience roared with applause.

Cyndi Lauper takes the stage during the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on September 12, 2021.
Cyndi Lauper wins the State at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on September 12, 2021.
AFP via Getty Images

Worse: Conor McGregor’s Brawl and Machine Gun Kelly

Disputes are not new at the big MTV show. But the VMAs were almost “Very Messy Assault” when UFC legend Conor McGregor and Machine Gun Kelly almost came to blows on the red carpet. McGregor reportedly threw his drink at the “Daywalker!” rhymes moments before MGK and his girlfriend Megan Fox hit the red carpet.

Photos show McGregor throwing a punch in Kelly’s direction (but missing) and being held back by security. The cause was unclear, but Kelly’s rep denied to Page Six that the fight even took place. Kelly and Fox made it clear that they escaped McGregor’s wrath unharmed when the couple shared a passionate kiss for the paparazzi.

McGregor had been in trouble at Barclays before in 2018, when he was filmed throwing a hand truck at a bus full of UFC fighters. Although he faced felony charges, the brawler pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was ordered to take anger management classes. I guess it didn’t work.

Best: Doja Cat as “worm”

VMAS are known for nude fashion. This year, while other women – J. Lo, Madonna, Megan Fox, Chloe – chose to show a lot (a parcel) of skin, the Doja Cat host donned a puffy padded number that wrapped around her head and shoulders, leaving only a hole for her face. (It would have been designed by Thom Browne, usually posed.) “I look like a worm. That’s drugs! ”The singer exclaimed, accepting the honors for Best Collaboration for“ Kiss Me More ”with SZA. Later, Doja came out with a bistro chair as a hat, then closed. the show with a pair of cartoonish chicken “feet” – remind everyone that fashion can be fun as well as sexy.

Track VMAs with our wall-to-wall coverage:

Worse: Billie Eilish snubs Jennifer Lopez

While Jennifer Lopez made an appearance to introduce Olivia Rodrigo to Moon Person Song of the Year for “Driver’s License,” she received cheers from the audience – but not Billie Eilish. Cameras captured the awkward moment with Eilish looking anything but impressed as J. Lo took the stage. Instead of clapping, the “Happier Than Ever” singer just sort of… twirled her fingers.

Best: Normani gets closer to Teyana Taylor

Normani and Teyana Taylor get frisky on the 2021 MTV VMA stage.
Normani and Teyana Taylor get frisky on the 2021 MTV VMA stage.
AFP via Getty Images

Pushing lust to its limits, Normani punctuated her “Wild Side” VMA performance with a scorching girl-on-girl grind. In the last 30 seconds, Teyana Taylor appeared on stage strapped to a bondage board. Normani then climbed onto the board and got very, very close to her special guest. It was all a tribute to Janet Jackson, who killed off an equally sassy presentation in her 2002 Live in Hawaii performance of “Would You Mind.”

Best: The Reunion of Ashanti and Ja Rule

Ashanti and American rapper Ja Rule VMA
Ashanti and Ja Rule brought a modern nostalgic touch to the 2021 MTV VMAs.
AFP via Getty Images

Ashanti and Ja Rule provided fans with warm and fuzzy nostalgic vibes as the 2000s duo – responsible for chart tops like “Always On Time”, “Mesmerized” and “Down 4 You” – took to the stage to present Doja Cat and SZA with the lunar person for the best collaboration. Millennials immediately flocked to Twitter, praising the duo for making the soundtrack in a less chaotic time. “I’m convinced that if Ashanti and Ja Rule stay on the #VMA scene long enough, the world will just… heal?” This is the last time I remember that things were really good ”, tweeted @AndySwift.

With additional reports from Zachary Kussin

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