The 2019 VMAs Performances Ranked
Now the dust has settled on this year's VMAs, let's take a look at which performers stole the show. There were no complete duds tbh, but this is how it went down. Don't @ me.
14. LIL NAS X - PANINI
One of the most anticipated performances of the night, Lil Nas X poked fun at his amazing success story with a funny faux news bulletin set in the year 2079. He then lip synced his way through 'Panini' as he led a futuristic dance routine that didn't really match the groove of the track (where's Billy Ray when you need him?). The Song Of The Year winner looked like he had a fun night though!
13. JAY BALVIN & BAD BUNNY - QUÉ PRETENDES
In the most “what is happening right now?” performance of the night, Jay Balvin and Bad Bunny performed 'Qué Pretendes' while wearing oversized cartoon character costumes in a set that blended props and augmented reality to make the duo look like they were floating in an actual cartoon. It was pretty cool to look at, to be fair, but wasn't enough to place higher on this list.
12. ROSALIA FEATURING OZUNA - A NINGUN HOMBRE / AUTE CUTURE / YO X TI, TU X MI
This wasn't a groundbreaing performance, but Latin star Rosalia showcased her singing and dancing chops by belting out some impressive notes and leading her dancers through some slick choreography.
11. BIG SEAN & A$AP FERG - BEZERK
Big Sean launched into new single ‘Bezerk’ alongside A$AP Ferg as dancers in white jumpsuits had the phrase “Detroit 2 Harlem” spray painted on them, which you don't see every day. The pair’s rapping was on point as they moved through their excited fans, but this wasn’t the most memorable performance of the night.
10. SHAWN MENDES - IF I CAN'T HAVE YOU
Backed by a spectacular light show that filled the entire stage, Shawn Mendes nailed his performance of ‘If I Can’t Have You’. ‘Nuff said.
9. H.E.R. - ANTI
One of the most exciting artists on the world stage, H.E.R. gave an effortessly soulful performance of her new track ‘Anti’, which she began against the backdrop of a magazine titled Real Me. As she sang about rising above hate to be her authentic self, H.E.R. literally rose up, before shredding through a guitar solo for an impressive finish to the powerful song. The talent!
8. CAMILA CABELLO & SHAWN MENDES - SENORITA
Everyone’s fave pseudo-couple got all steamy with their first ever TV performance of Senorita. Like two lovers coming together in a dimly lit club, the pair got all sultry and played up to the romance rumours they've fuelled, but left us feeling slightly cheated by not closing with an actual kiss.
7. NAUGHTY BY NATURE, REDMAN, FETTY WAP, WYCLEF JEAN & QUEEN LATIFAH - O.P.P. / HAND ON THE PUMP / TRAP QUEEN / GONE TILL NOVEMBER / NO WOMAN NO CRY / U.N.I.T.Y. / HIP HIP HOORAY
Closing out the night was a hip hop performance for the ages, if only for the legendary artists gathered on one stage. Naughty By Nature got the crowd going with ‘O.P.P.’ but the middle section of this performance became too disjointed and chaotic, with an all-too brief appearance by Redman and shaky vocals from Wyclef Jean. Queen Latifah brought it back together, fittingly with her anthem ‘U.N.I.T.Y.’, then all the performers took the stage for a strong finish with party-starting classic ‘Hip Hop Hooray’.
6. NORMANI - MOTIVATION
Turning the stage into a glittering basketball court, Normani performed her heart out amidst her team of velour-clad back-up dancers. After showing off her acrobatic skills in a solo dance break, she went right back to singing up a storm. Slam dunk.
5. MILEY CYRUS - SLIDE AWAY
Miley decided to forego OTT spectacle for a simple, emotional performance of her fresh break-up song ‘Slide Away’, broadcast to viewers at home in black-and-white. Tapping into the feelings surrounding her impending divorce, Miley served vocals for days.
4. THE JONAS BROTHERS - SUCKER / ONLY HUMAN
In a nod to the many iconic New Jersey acts who’ve come before them, the Jo Bros started their performance inside infamous club The Stone Pony, rockin’ the joint with their hit ‘Sucker’. They then strutted to an outdoor stage in Asbury Park, where they took things to a whole new level in front of a very amped up crowd and fireworks to boot.
3. TAYLOR SWIFT - YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN / LOVER
Opening the show, Taylor got the party started with a big, fun, inclusive, rainbow-covered party that was all kinds of fab-u-lous. Bringing to life the video for ‘You Need To Calm Down’ Tay looked like she was having the time of her life while surrounded by augmented reality animated lyrics and a colourful crew of dancers including her BFF Todrick Hall. Then suddenly she stripped things waaay back for the first TV performance of the title track to her new album, ‘Lover’. Seeing the superstar on stage with nothing but a guitar was a reminder of her raw talent, and the swaying crowd lapped it up.
2. MISSY ELLIOTT - THROW IT BACK / THE RAIN (SUPA DUPA FLY) / HOT BOYZ / GET UR FREAK ON / WORK IT / PASS THAT DUTCH / LOSE CONTROL
Video Vanguard honoree Missy Elliott was always going to deliver a spectacle and sure enough, from start to finish, this performance was a feast for the eyes and ears. Taking her blockbuster medley through set designs including a hall of mirrors, a dark forest and a corn field, Missy Misdemeanor took us on a frenetic trip through her incredible career (and a string of outfit changes). In her acceptance speech, Missy said dancers are the beating heart of her performances and this one was no exception, with a huge crew dominating the stage throughout and even a cameo by Alyson Stoner, who famously appeared in Missy’s iconic videos as a child. Bless.
1. LIZZO - TRUTH HURTS / GOOD AS HELL
Lizzo absolutely brought the house down from the moment she took the stage, appearing in front of a giant inflatable ass and flanked by a bevy of twerking, bare-cheeked beauties. But that spectacle was nothing compared to the powerhouse vocals and message of self-love she went on to deliver. In the most empowering moment of the night, Lizzo made us ALL feel good as hell.
PICS: The 2019 VMAs Red Carpet Was Truly Wild...
PICS: The 2019 VMAs Red Carpet Was Truly Wild