NEW JERSEY—It has been quite some time since I last recall watching MTV. The network is nothing like it used to be let’s say 10 years ago. However, I tuned in Monday, August 26 to watch the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards. With Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift leading the pack of all nominees with 10 nominations apiece including Video of the Year, it should be fun right? Hmm, I’d give the ceremony a B-. Some of the performers I didn’t know, some of the songs were lackluster, and there were no major massive standouts in my opinion.
The show kicked off with Swift singing her hit “You Need to Calm Down,” while visually stunning on stage, lacked the energy to make it a memorable musical moment. Who the hell was the host Sebastian Maniscalco and why the hell was he even there? The guy did not tell any jokes and just seemed like a massive mistake. Look, the VMAs have had plenty of ceremonies in the past without a host, guess what, you don’t need a host, and this guy just didn’t deliver anything.
The first award of the night for Hip-Hop Video was delivered to Cardi B for “Money” and I love this woman. She is so truly herself and gives zero you know what when it comes to what people think about her. Shawn Mendes hit the stage twice during the night, first performing solo, then performing with his rumored gf Camilla Cabello for their hit “Senorita.” One of the performers of the night that I enjoyed was Lizzo who utilizes the theatrics to her benefit on stage. She delivered a rousing performance of her hit “Good As Hell,” I wish she performed “Juice,” but I was still entertained.
Another fun performance of the night was the return of The Jonas Brothers who performed for the first time at the VMAs in over 10 years. They performed a medley of their hits, including the inescapable “Sucker” live from The Stone Pony. It’s nice to see the brothers back together. Lil Nas X hit the stage, with a futuristic performance that was fun, but it would have been nice to hear “Old Town Road,” but perhaps the public is tired of hearing that song. Taylor Swift, as I noted got multiple times to thank fans as she accepted the Moon Men for Video of the Year and Video For Good for “You Need to Calm Down.” She took a few political digs, which I’m certain we will indeed hear about in the coming days.
However, the biggest and most anticipated moment of the night was Missy Elliott receiving the long-awaited Video Vanguard Award for her eclectic and one of a kind music videos. The hip-hop superstar performed a ton of her hits on the stage including “The Rain,” “Hot Boyz,” “Get Ur Freak On,” “Work It,” “Pass that Dutch” and “Lose Control.” I mean Missy has so many hits, I wish we would have had a 30-45 minute bit with the performer on the stage; it would have been so worth it. I know I wasn’t the only person wondering why Cardi B of all people presented Missy with the award. I think Timbaland would have been a more suitable choice.
I still cannot believe that it took this long for Elliott to receive this accolade. When it comes to iconic music videos she is definitely in the top five of all time if you ask me. Another performance that slowed down the energy of the night was Miley Cyrus who took to the stage to pour her heart out. It’s ballsy for Cyrus who recently made headlines announcing her separation from husband Liam Hemsworth. Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus won Song of the Year for “Old Town Road.”
We also saw performances from H.E.R. and Normani, just as the Jonas Brothers rightfully won the Moon Men for Pop Video for “Sucker.” Look the song might be cheesy, but it’s damn catchy America. I was eagerly hoping for Lizzo to win the Best New Artist prize, but that was given to Billie Eilish. Something tells me these two ladies might duke it out at the Grammy Awards in 2020. While Ariana was not in attendance at the ceremony, she did not go home empty handed, winning the prize for Artist of the Year. The ceremony closed out with a who’s who of New Jersey as Wyclef Jean, Redman, Fetty Wap, Naughty by Nature and Queen Latifah took to the stage to perform some of their hits. I will admit seeing Latifah take the mic to sing her hit “UNITY” was epic. That woman still has it.
Overall a fun show, but not the most memorable. To be honest I think one of the best MTV Video Music Awards of all time is 2003. Remember when Madonna and Britney Spears shared that kiss. They have never topped the ceremony since in my opinion. So there weren’t any draw-dropping moments from the show, so we’ll see what 2020 has in store for us.