Beyoncé owns the night at MTV VMAs
Last night Madison Square Garden in New York hosted the annual MTV Music Video Awards. The set up was a bit different from previous years, with less artists performing, while Beyoncé and Rihanna, the most important pop stars of the night, both spent over 15 minutes performing on stage. An interesting decision that only worked partly.
With eleven nominations, it must have surprised absolutely nobody that the VMAs 2016 was Beyoncé’s night. From the moment she stepped on the red carpet with daughter Blue Ivy all eyes were on her. She did win seven awards (one for ‘Hold Up’, one for the long form video Lemonade and five for ‘Formation’, including video of the year), being the absolute winner of the night. The awards were not the only reason she was the queen of the night. She gave a stunning 15 minute long performance with tracks from the Lemonade album. She opened with ‘Pray You Catch Me’, where her dancers all seemed to die in a red light as part of an emotionally gripping choreography. Her powerful rendition of ‘Hold Up’ she ends with hitting the camera with a bat, only to continue with ‘Sorry’. An angry performance of ‘Don’t Hurt Yourself’ followed to end with an exciting choreography for ‘Formation’. It was like watching a mini concert and a music video at the same time. It is safe to say that nobody in the game can come close to her level of performance!
The other main star of the night, Rihanna, performed four career spanning medleys as she was the one receiving the Michael Jackson Vanguard award. She opened the show with a medley of four dance songs, which was nothing spectacular to be fair, but her performances throughout the show got better. She received her award out of Drake’s hands who basically declared his love for her, while Rihanna, seemingly unimpressed, was more worried about the height of her microphone stand. Ouch! In her speech, she stressed how much this award means to her and Barbados, where she is from. Performance wise she definitely saved the best for last. With an orchestra she showed the incredible growth in her vocals with a medley of ‘Stay’, ‘Diamonds’ and her latest single ‘Love On The Brain’, for sure a highlight in her career so far.
Seeing Rihanna and especially Beyoncé perform the hell out of their songs, while Britney Spears lip syncs doing a not so impressive choreography to her latest single ‘Make Me’, makes you realize she cannot compete with her peers at this point. Spears just launched Glory, one of the best albums of her career, but on stage she doesn’t seem to be able to deliver the goods anymore. To be fair, her dancing has improved over the past few years again, but at times she does not even get the lip syncing right, especially during the chorus of G-Eazy’s ‘Me Myself & I’. It felt like she was a guest star during the performance of the rapper who features on ‘Make Me’ and that should never be the case.
In contrast to Britney, Ariana Grande took on a little too much for her VMA performance. She did the same fitness choreography to her latest single ‘Side to Side’ as the music video, causing her to be out of breath. Later on she caught up, but Nicki Minaj who delivers a rap during the middle eight, looked like she didn’t really want to be there. The Chainsmokers performed their latest hit single ‘Close’ with Halsey. While Andrew Taggart was vocally disappointing, Halsey saved the performance with her voice and presence. Nick Jonas put on an enjoyable choreography in a café setting for his track ‘Bacon’ while Kanye West not so surprisingly used his performance time for another lengthy speech.
To be honest, this year’s VMAs would have been quite underwhelming if it wasn’t for Beyoncé and Rihanna delivering some memorable performances. They cannot save the show every year though, so it will be interesting if MTV will stick with the idea of having less artists perform longer. Let’s wait and see!
You can watch the performances at MTV’s Facebook page.