A VMAs Like Never Before: 2020 VMAs Highlights

Isabel Smith, Copy Editor

In recent years, the viewership of award shows has been dropping and the thought of gathering more than 100 people in the same room is now inconceivable, but this summer, the Video Music Awards (VMAs) were determined for the show to go on. Hosted by actress and singer Keke Palmer from the Empire State Building, the 2020 VMAs ditched its traditional format and instead stitched together a program of both in-person and virtual acceptance speeches as well as live and pre-recorded outdoor performances from across the country (and in some cases, the globe).

If there is one artist that stole the night on Aug. 30, it was Lady Gaga. The pop powerhouse performed a nearly ten minute-long choreographed medley of her songs “Chromatica II,” “911,” “Stupid Love,” and “Rain on Me,” with Ariana Grande making an appearance on stage. Not to mention, the star did it all while donning a mask and making some unimaginably fast, striking costume changes. But if the dazzling performance was not enough, Lady Gaga also managed to take home four Moon Person awards and the VMAs’ new Tricon award, nearly sweeping all the categories she and her song “Rain on Me,” featuring Ariana Grande, were nominated in.

Another show-stopper this year was BTS. The Korean pop group, for their first performance at the VMAs, treated the remote audience to an unplugged, pre-recorded stage of their recently released English song “Dynamite” with a New York City-themed greenscreen and remarkably stylish suits to match. This year, the group was nominated in quite a few categories and, from Best K-pop to Best Choreography, won them all.

Now, the 2020 VMAs certainly would not have been the same without the visually unparalleled performance of “Blinding Lights” by the Weekend. Although there was not an audience member in sight, the Weekend gave his all for a lone stage on the Edge, the highest city deck in  North America. Then, he accepted his awards of Video of the Year and Best R&B in-person with a short speech that brought attention to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Although it was nice to see artists like Taylor Swift, Megan Thee Stallion, H.E.R., and BTS tune in with video messages, the 2020 VMAs were certainly not anywhere within the norm. Everyone is without a doubt excited for when the digital screens can finally be dropped and artists and fans alike can come together once again.