Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo, and Justin Beiber Win Big at the 2021 VMAs

Lil Nas X after being awarded the VMA for Video of the Year. Photo courtesy of Angela Weiss and Getty Images.

Lil Nas X after being awarded the VMA for Video of the Year. Photo courtesy of Angela Weiss and Getty Images.

The 2021 MTV VMAs were presented and televised on the night of September 12th. Lil Nas X took home the biggest award of the night, the Video of the Year award, for the music video for his song “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the start of MTV, Madonna performed her song “Like A Virgin” to open the awards ceremony. She had previously performed “Like A Virgin” at the first VMAs in 1984. During the opening, Madonna said “Forty years ago, another underdog arrived in New York City, hoping to create something revolutionary. An all-music channel premiered in the middle of the night and called itself MTV.” Fellow 1980s pop star Cyndi Lauper also presented an award at the VMAs. This followed her making brief remarks in favor of reproductive rights in light of the Texas abortion ban that went into effect earlier this month.

Later in the night, Olivia Rodrigo performed her song “Good 4 U” in her debut at the VMAs. Chloe Bailey of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle performed her solo single “Have Mercy”, which was released two days before the awards show on September 10. Doja Cat, who hosted the 2021 VMAs, also performed, and was introduced by Olympic gymnast Simone Biles prior to her performance. Lil Nas X gave the first live performance of his single “Industry Baby” with Jack Harlow.

Alongside winning Video of the Year, the music video for Montero (Call Me By Your Name) won the awards for Best Direction and Best Visual Effects. Justin Beiber took home the awards for Artist of the Year and Best Pop Song for his song “Peaches” featuring Daniel Caesar and Giveon. Olivia Rodrigo, who released her debut album Sour last May, won the awards for Song of the Year for her song “Driver’s License”, Best New Artist, and Push Performance of the Year. Doja Cat and SZA won Best Collaboration for their song “Kiss Me More”, while BTS won the award for Best Group.

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