On September 12, 2021 the MTV Video Music Awards returned with live performances and a live audience in New York City.
Celebrating 40 years of MTV and music videos, Madonna opens the show with “and they said it wouldn’t last”.
Justin Bieber gets the night of music started off; followed by Olivia Rodrigo.
Doja Cat hosted the musical gala from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
MTV Legend Jennifer Lopez presents the first award of the night for Song of the Year to Olivia Rodrigo for “Good 4 U”. She dedicated the song to all the girls who write songs on their bedroom floor.
Hailie Bieber takes the stage to introduce Kacey Musgrave who makes her VMA performance debut with “Star Crossed”.
21 Pilots take the stage for a performance of “Saturday”.
Cyndi Lauper noted that she won the first MVA Moon Person (Moon Man Award) back in 1984. She presented the award for the Best Pop Award to Justin Bieber for “Peaches”.
Saint. Jhn performs.
In an outdoor performance from Brooklyn Bridge Park, Ed Sheeran performs his new single “Shivers”.
Broadway star Billy Porter introduced Lil Nas X who performed “Industry Baby” with Jack Harlow and “Montero” in a performance that proved the guys can have suggestive dances too.
Avril Lavigne presents the award for Video for Good to Billie Eilish for “Your Power”.
Sean Mendez debuts “Summer of Love”, but first Camila Cabello takes the stage for a performance of “Don’t Go Yet”.
Latto takes the stage for a performance of “Big Energy”.
Olympic gymnast Simone Biles intorduces host Doja Cat for a high flying performance of “Been Like This” and “You Right”.
MMA star Conor McGregor presents the award for Artist of the Year to Justin Bieber in a category dominated by women. In his acceptance speech, Bieber noted that music was a wonderful outlet for bringing people together.
Chloe of Chloe X Halle gives her first solo performance on the VMA stage with “Give Mercy”.
Wyclef Jean presented the award for Best Hip-Hop went to Travis Scott with Young Thug and MIA for “Franchise”. He told the crowd to spread love and we would be ok.
Normani takes the stage for a performance of “Wild Side”.
Latto returns for a performance of “Muwop”.
Latin music star Ozuma takes the stage for a performance of “La Funka”. The fun Spanish language performance featured “bear” dancers. The giant Moon Person on the stage was temporarily changed to a bear holding a Puerto Rican flag.
The award for Best Collaboration went to Doja Cat and SZA for “Kiss Me More”.
Saint. Jhn returns to perform “Sucks to be You”.
Members of the Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, and 98 Degrees take the stage to present the award for Best K-Pop to BTS for “Butter”. The Korean band sent a video message of thanks…and a shoutout to Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohai Otani.
Billie Eilish presented the MTV Global Icon Award to new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Foo Fighters. The rockers took the stage to perform a medley of songs.
SZA introduces Alicia Keys who is joined by Swae Lee for a performance of her new single “LaLa”. Keys also takes to the piano to perform her signature song “Empire State of Mind”.
The award for Best Alternative went to Machine Gun Kelly with Blackbear for “My Exes Best Friend”.
Latto returns on the Extended Play stage to perform.
Doja Cat presented the fan voted award for Best New Artists to Olivia Rodrigo.
Swizz Beatz introduced Busta Rhymes who gave a medley performance of his music that lasted several minutes.
BTS won the award for Best Group
Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, and Sun Sonic won the Best R&B award for “Leave the Door Open”
Lil Nas X won the Best Direction Award for “Montero”
Beyonce, Blue Ivy, Saint Jhn, and Wizkid won the Best Cinematorgraphy Award for “Brown Skin Girl”
Harry Styles won the Best Choreography Award for “Treat People with Kindness”
Rocker David Lee Roth presents the award for Video of the Year to Lil Nas X for “Montero”.
Closing out the night of music was Machine Gun Kelly with Travis Barker in a performance of “Papercuts”.