Critiques of Every MTV VMAs 2022 performances

Entertainment News

The MTV Video Music Awards have always been full of high drama, from Madonna voguing in Versailles to Beyoncé revealing her pregnancy. Taylor Swift announced her new album Midnights at her event on Sunday in Newark, New Jersey, continuing the pyrotechnics from her win for video of the year for “All Too Well.”

Nicki Mjina, who was being honoured with the Video Vanguard Award, brought a stripper pole to the Prudential Center stage and performed a career-spanning medley of her best songs. At the same time, Eminem and Snoop Dogg collaborated on a performance themed after non-fungible tokens.

In order from best to worst, here are our picks for the evening’s performances:

1. “First Class” and “Glamorous” by Jack Harlow and Fergie

Harlow, who had his big break last summer with Lil Nas X’s “Industry Baby,” had a performance at the Video Music Awards that will go down as a classic. The smooth rapper was dressed as a flight attendant and sang his hit single “First Class” while casually mingling with “passengers,” which included Avril Lavigne.

He then walked out on stage at the Prudential Center and introduced Fergie, whose hit “Glamorous” from 2007 is prominently sampled in the song. Fergie and Harlow were the effortlessly charismatic leaders of the screaming audience, which included several cutaways to Taylor Swift, who was also enjoying the nostalgic high.

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2. Nicki Minaj’s medley for the Video Vanguard Award (included “Super Freaky Girl” and “Anaconda”).

Because of this, she is revered as rap’s undisputed monarch. Minaj sang over a dozen of her most well-known songs in a bedazzled pink getup complete with a gigantic bow after receiving the Video Vanguard Award, which recognizes an artist’s influence on music videos and popular culture.

After a hasty introduction that did not do justice to her iconic “Monster” verse, the rapper found her stride with fan faves “Moment 4 Life” and “Super Bass,” all while twerking and strutting over a platform designed to look like the Barbie Dreamhouse. She finished off the medley with a lively rendition of her Rick James-sampled “Super Freaky Girl,” a deserving candidate for song of the summer.

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3. “Black Summer” and “Can not Stop” by the Red Hot Chili Pepper

Having a stage and some musical instruments can be enough at times. The Red Hot Chili Peppers stripped down their VMAs performance to just them playing their new single “Black Summer” and the perennial crowd pleaser “Can not Stop” without any special effects.

They were the epitome of cool in their red fishnet shirts and high yellow socks, and the crowd went wild for their pink-haired bassist Flea as he cheekily gyrated during the electrifying intro to “Can not Stop.” The veteran rockers won the Global Icon Award for their iconic status in the music industry.

4. Anitta, ‘Envolver.’

With the success of her song “Envolver,” for which she got the best Latin award, Anitta is swiftly becoming one of the most famous artists in the United States. The Brazilian singer wore a scarlet bodysuit and led her dancers in some truly heated and joyful choreography as she descended a white set of stairs.

5. “Supermodel” by Mneskin

You undoubtedly know who Mneskin is now if you did not already. Up-and-coming glam rock band performed “Supermodel” with ferocity, with lead vocalist Damiano David flashing his bare rear through leather chaps.

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Unfortunately, the camera turned away from the thrilling song and showed a theatre full of empty seats. Victoria De Angelis, the bassist, experienced a wardrobe malfunction when her top slid down, revealing her breasts.

Finally, the camera moved back to Mneskin for a steamy (and safely covered) finish, capping off a memorable performance that will remain with us long after “Supermodel” has been forgotten.

6. Panic! Do not Let the Light Go Out (On the Dance Floor)

In “Do not Let the Light Go Out,” Brendon Urie crooned directly into the camera before performing on the bonnet of a car with his band, showcasing his distinctive singing voice. The ceremony culminated in a truly exciting pyrotechnic display when the performance transitioned from black and white to color.

7. “About Damn Time” by Lizzo and “2 Be Loved (Am I Ready)” by Lizzo

After performing a few bars from her infectious No. 1 hit “About Damn Time,” Lizzo mimicked Tom Hanks in the 1988 film “Big,” playing a light-up floor piano with her feet to introduce her upbeat new tune “2 Be Loved (Am I Ready).” Upstage, away from the audience. The dazzling visual effects sometimes obscured her.

But it was impossible to ignore the genre-bending performer’s infectious energy as she danced in a bubblegum pink outfit in front of a backdrop of dozens of miniature Lizzos.

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8. Titi Me Preguntó by Bad Bunny

This weekend, Bad Bunny headlined two gigs at New York’s Yankee Stadium, and during one of them, he wowed the crowd with a powerful remote performance of “Tit Me Preguntó,” a track off his chart-topping fifth studio album, “Un Verano Sin Ti.” The reggaeton superstar, wearing sunglasses, quickly captivated the massive stadium audience, turning the VMAs into his own personal performance and setting Twitter ablaze with photos of him kissing male and female dancers.

9. “Nivel de Perreo,” by J Balvin and Ryan Castro

A line of faceless, latex-clad dancers straight out of “American Horror Story” joined the Colombian superstars as they took over the show early in the evening to perform an offensive performance of their duet “Nivel de Perreo.” But the actual show-stealer was a gigantic, silvery woman in a bikini that twerked and towered over the audience for the whole three minutes of the song, thanks to a hologram that brought some “Jack and the Beanstalk” reality to the VMAs.

10. Pink Venom. Blackpink

After emerging from a haze of pink smoke, the K-pop foursome made their much anticipated VMAs debut with a performance of their latest hit, “Pink Venom.” The girl group, dressed in all black and backed by dancers, expertly performed tight choreography that was as punchy and sexy as the song’s lyrics.

11: “Numb” by Marshmello and Khalid

Khalid’s usual perfect vocals were on full display during his performance with electronic artist Marshmello in their uplifting collaboration “Numb.” The pair had previously worked together on 2017’s “Silence.” It would have been helpful if we could have witnessed what was happening. Many viewers claimed the performance made them dizzy because of the psychedelic camera filter used to film it.

12: “Grand” by Kane Brown

Brown made history at Sunday night’s Video Music Awards by being the first male country musician ever to perform there. The 28-year-old crossover performer made the most of his performance under the outdoor stage’s green and blue neon lights, belting out an upbeat version of his pop-leaning hit “Grand,” which is about learning to appreciate the little things in life as well as the big ones.

13. From the D 2 the LBC, by Eminem and Snoop Dogg

For the first time in 20 years, two rap icons will perform together on the VMAs stage. The collaboration between Eminem and Snoop Dogg, “From the D 2 the LBC,” should have been an instant hit, but instead, it got lost in the ether. Hip-A-listers hop employed Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs for the music video.

They sat on the sidelines for most of Sunday’s “performance” as their animated avatars rapped within a giant pinball machine and a spider web, among other computer-generated settings. As the song neared its conclusion, Eminem and Snoop “woke up” on a couch onstage to finish the piece in person. For trying something new, you get credit, but next time try not to bring your NFT into our MTV.

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