MTV VMAs: Finding the music in times of chaos 


Lady Gaga, the biggest winner of the night, poses with her 5 VMAs she won throughout the show for Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, Collab of the Year, Best Cinematography, and the first ever Tricon Award.

Bradley Gambosi

The year 2020 has truly proven itself to be entirely like no other. Major music festivals, movie premieres, award shows, and everything that deals with a large group of people has been cancelled. However, the VMAs that show must go on — safely of course.

This year’s event was hosted by actress and singer, Keke Palmer, the first Black woman to ever host the annual award show. She definitely did an amazing job with keeping the energy alive, telling jokes, and engaging viewers despite having no live audience.

“With the Black Lives Matter movement, we’ve seen my generation step up and say, enough is enough,” Palmer stated in her uplifting opening remarks to the show.

The award show did not have a live audience, but it featured some people at home via Zoom. Despite losing the energy of live performances, the production value of the performances definitely increased, at times looking more like professional music videos. Many artists used green screens, CGI effects, and outdoor venues.

The show started with an opening performance from The Weeknd of his smash hit, “Blinding Lights,” on top of the Edge Building in New York City. He took home the biggest award of the night, Video of the Year for the same song, where he used his acceptance speech to express his outrage towards the killing of Jacob Blake. 

The biggest star of the night was unarguably the pop superstar, Lady Gaga, who going into the night was tied for the most nominations, nine, with fellow singer Ariana Grande for their chart topping smash hit “Rain On Me,” which the two performed together later on in a show stopping duet. 

Lady Gaga unshockingly wore 8 different “crazy” outfits throughout the night each with their own custom high-fashion face masks.

Throughout the night Lady Gaga won five awards, the most of the night, for Song of the Year, Artist of the Year, Collab of the Year, Best Cinematography, and the first ever Tricon Award for her activism, unforgettable pop culture moments, and all around cementing her status as a legend in the music industry. 

“We’re separated right now and culture may feel less alive in some ways, I know a renaissance is coming, and the wrath of pop culture will inspire you… be brave and wear a mask, it’s a sign of respect”,” Gaga urged fans in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic during one of her many acceptance speeches. 

Other artists that performed in front of green screens & in outdoor settings were Miley Cyrus, BTS, Doja Cat, CNCO, etc. 

Closing out the show, the Black Eyed Peas, which many including myself, were shocked still existed in 2020, performed a medley of their hits from almost over a decade ago. Without Fergie, I don’t see the point to perform and stick together at all. 

Their performance was awkward and left people cringing as they had lights in their pants to make their “crotches glow,” a gigantic UFO, and some awkward stage presence was considered one of the worst of the night. It was especially tone deaf towards the current situation in the world we are currently living in.

Being the first ever virtual award show during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was actually well received by viewers, garnering over 6.4 million viewers, the most watched VMAs since 2014, and being the most discussed event on social media only behind the Super Bowl. 

I was shocked at how much I ended up enjoying this award show. I expected it to be filled with obviously done at home performances; however, a majority of performances were big budget and looked like professionally filmed music videos at times, it made up for the lost feeling a live audience gives.

With her incredible talent, creativity, and unapologetic eccentricness on full display, the VMAs should simply say, thank you Lady Gaga (and Ariana Grande).