Doja Cat Went From Viral Superstar To PUSH Best New Artist

By Lauren Rearick

2020 is officially the year of Doja Cat. The performer, who also made her VMAs debut tonight with a performance of TikTok’s favorite singles, was crowned the PUSH Best New Artist winner.

Accepting her award with a lengthy list of personal appreciation shout outs, Doja Cat also paid tribute to her fans, remarking that their “support meant everything to me.” Joking about her refusal to cry, the singer also asked for fans to stay safe, acknowledging that “it’s been a really hard year.” Before leaving the virtual stage, she gave one last important thank you to her mom.

Prior to winning Best New Artist, Doja Cat performed a medley of “Say So” and “Like That,” two singles which have catapulted to popularity on TikTok. Although the performer has gained a much larger following this year, and released more new tunes, including a collaborative single with City Girls, she first gained viral attention back in 2018, releasing “Mooo!”

Along with her win for Best New Artist, Doja Cat was nominated for Song of the Year and Best Direction. Although she didn’t secure a win in either category, her VMAs debut was certainly one to remember, as she transformed the stage into an otherworldly dimension.

Seventeen artists were nominated in total for Best New Artist, including AJ Mitchell, Arizona Zervas, Ava Max, BENEE, BROCKHAMPTON, Conan Gray, Doja Cat, FINNEAS, Jack Harlow, Kiana Ledé, Lewis Capaldi, Lil Tecca, Pop Smoke, Roddy Ricch, Summer Walker, Tate McRae, and YUNGBLUD. The list was then narrowed down, and prior to Sunday’s ceremony, only Doja Cat, Lewis Capaldi, and YUNGBLUD were left as potential winners.

The 2020 VMAs have kicked off across MTV’s linear and digital platforms, as well as with several outdoor performances around New York City. Find everything you need to know at vma.mtv.com.

The Weeknd Calls For Justice With His Video Of The Year Speech

In late 2019, The Weeknd pulled a star move by playing himself (though the 2012 version of himself) in Josh and Benny Safdie’s film Uncut Gems. A key scene involves Adam Sandler’s hard-luck character taking a swing at the pop star, though things get broken up before they escalate too wildly. Around that same time, The Weeknd released his vision for indefatigable new single “Blinding Lights,” which chronicled him on a death-wish bender through Los Angeles; he ends up bloody, beaten, and flashing the biggest smile you’ve ever seen. It felt like a sign.

Now, that omen has been made clear: “Blinding Lights” just won Video of the Year at the 2020 VMAs. And The Weeknd, who also opened the show with a stratospherically dizzying rendition of the song from 1,100 feet about Manhattan, accepted the award with makeup that made it look like he’d actually been hit in the face.

But his brief acceptance speech was not about that kind of spectacle or even his music. Instead, Abel Tesfaye offered brief thank yous to the people involved in making the video (including director Anton Tammi), then dedicated the bulk of his platform to two simple calls to action: “Justice for Jacob Blake. Justice for Breonna Taylor.”

The pop superstar’s win acted as a fitting bookend to the evening, which began with his performance. But even as he picked up his first award of the night earlier, for Best R&B, The Weeknd made sure to amplify his same message: “Justice for Jacob Blake. Justice for Breonna Taylor.”

The Weeknd’s entire After Hours era has found him rocking a red suit, which has become his latest trademark, and dancing with abandon, often in the middle of the street as the world spirals around him. For his part, the artist is actually quite meticulous, crafting the After Hours album with high-energy pop bravado, R&B flourishes, and the kind of joie de vivre only the gorgeously icy synth-pop of a track like “Blinding Lights” can provide.

But as his two calls to action tonight demonstrated, in his words, “It’s hard to celebrate.”

Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old, was shot multiple times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 23 in what protestors and activists are calling a clear case of excessive violent force. Blake is paralyzed from the waist down as a result of his wounds. Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old, was shot to death in her bed by police who had entered her apartment on a so-called “no-knock” warrant in March. Taylor’s death — along with the similar police killings of George Floyd, Tony McDade, and so many others — helped spark large-scale global demonstrations against racism, police brutality, violence, and systemic injustice earlier this year. Activists have protested in Blake’s honor, calling for justice, since his shooting.

In June, The Weeknd donated $500,000 to three racial-justice nonprofits and voiced support for Black Lives Matter.

The 2020 VMAs have kicked off across MTV’s linear and digital platforms, as well as with several performances around New York City. Find all of MTV News’s coverage right here.

Lady Gaga, VMA Artist Of The Year, ‘Was On a Mission To Spread Joy Through Music’

Claws up, Little Monsters: Lady Gaga is going to need help holding all of these Moon People.

The 2020 VMAs have blasted off with a one-way ticket to Chromatica, leaving viewers soaking wet with not only the first live performance of Gaga and Ariana Grande’s joyful jam, “Rain on Me,” but Gaga performing a Chromatica medley featuring tracks from the album: “Chromatica II,” “911” and the album’s lead single, “Stupid Love.”

In addition to their instantly iconic live performance, Gaga and Grande’s collaboration also won the VMAs for Song of the Year and Best Collaboration, and Gaga snatched the Moon Person for Artist of the Year.

“This is so exciting, thank you so much,” she told the crowd, sporting one of her many masks throughout the evening. “Being an artist is the only thing I ever wanted to be in my whole life. I never wanted to be anything else.”

“Everyone always knew if they were hanging out with me that I was on a mission to spread joy through culture, through dance, through music. I’ve written music my whole life, and I feel so honored I get to do this every day,” she added.

This is Gaga’s 16th VMA in total, making her the annual awards show’s third most-decorated artist after Beyoncé and Madonna.

Gaga and Grande lead the nominations at this year’s VMAs with nine nominations each, including Video of the Year and Song of the Year for “Rain on Me.” From her legendary “Paparazzi” performance to her iconic meat dress, Gaga has always brought it to the VMAs, and this year’s socially distant version was no different.

The 2020 VMAs have kicked off across MTV’s linear and digital platforms, as well as with several outdoor performances around New York City. Find everything you need to know at vma.mtv.com.

Doja Cat Blasts Off To Planet Hot Pink In Debut VMA Performance

By Harron Walker

Doja Cat beamed down from some hot pink alien lady planet for her live performance of “Say So” and “Like That” at the 2020 Video Music Awards on Sunday night, and I, for one, welcome our new TikTokina overlordess. Give in to Doja Cat! All! Hail! Her!

Dressed (well, in a sense) in a barely-there pink champagne bodysuit featuring strategically placed light-up gem-encrusted accouterments — looking not unlike what I imagine Britney Spears’s sparkly, regular champagne-colored bodysuit from the 2000 VMAs’ final form would look like — the 21-year-old Los Angeles-born artist kicked off her 2020 VMAs set with “Say So,” a song about waiting for someone you’re hot for to finally make the first move.

“It’s about when you go somewhere and you see someone and they don’t approach you,” Doja said about “Say So” during an interview with MTV News earlier this year. “But you’re looking at each other and you both feel like there’s something there.”

Remember flirting with people IRL? I hate this pandemic so much!

Anyway, Doja — who was nominated for four awards at tonight’s VMA ceremony including Push Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Best Direction, and Song of the Summer — then switched into “Like That,” which, much like “Say So,” became the hit we know thanks to its viral status on TikTok. As a nod to her two Hot Pink tracks’ social media fame, Doja made sure to do the TikTok dance during one of the choruses in “Say So.”

“It’s really changed my life,” the musician said of her music’s incredible reach on TikTok during a recent interview with YouTube makeup artist James Charles. “I feel like my whole career has become based around it.”

Tonight’s performance of “Say So” and “Like That” mark Doja Cat’s debut performance on the VMA stage. Here’s to many more!

The 2020 VMAsh have kicked off across MTV’s linear and digital platforms, as well as with several outdoor performances around New York City. Find everything you need to know at vma.mtv.com.

BTS Wins Best Pop VMA, Proving There’s Literally Nothing They Can’t Do

By Lauren Rearick

The record-breaking accolades for February’s Map of the Soul: 7, the newest studio album from BTS, continue. Tonight, the boys of BTS won the VMA for Best Pop, earning a moon person for Map single, “On.”

The septuplet beat out other nominees in the Best Pop category including Halsey, the Jonas Brothers, Justin Bieber and Quavo, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande, and Taylor Swift.

Of course, the win wasn’t lost on members of ARMY, the always supportive BTS fanbase. Many took to social media, sharing messages of support, and a lot of emotions. “BTS WON BEST POP IM CRYING,” one fan tweeted. While another Twitter user noted that yep, the boys are in fact sweeping tonight’s awards.

It has been a pretty busy night for the Bangtan Boys, as they started off the show with a win for Best Group, and a win for “On” in the Best K-pop category. Along with securing multiple wins tonight, BTS made their official VMA performance debut, donning suits as they danced through their newest single, “Dynamite.” BTS had discussed the meaningful message behind the song, their first sung entirely in English, in a pre-VMAs interview with MTV. “It’s a really fun disco-pop track about doing what we can do, even when things don’t work out as planned,” RM said.

As for BTS, everything is definitely working out as planned, at least when it comes to the VMAs. The award show has become somewhat of a major event for the K-pop stars, as last year, they made MTV VMA history, winning the first ever Best K-pop award for “Boy With Luv,” featuring Halsey.

It might be a little early to start thinking about next year’s ceremony, but with BTS seemingly always working on new material, here’s hoping the record-breakers return to the VMAs again next year.

The 2020 VMAs have kicked off across MTV’s linear and digital platforms, as well as with several performances around New York City. Find all of MTV News’s coverage right here.

Maluma’s “Hawái” Brings Tropical Vibes To A Socially Distant Drive-In

Hope you’re buckled up because Maluma is taking the 2020 Video Music Awards to the drive-in.

In an interview with MTV leading up to the VMAs, the Colombian heartthrob teased his upcoming performance as being “electric” and “vintage”—and he stayed true to his word with the live debut of his song, “Hawái,” at a drive-in overlooking the New York City skyline.

Surrounded by glittery purple palm trees and swimsuit-clad dancers, Maluma, sporting a sunny yellow suit, brought the tropical vibes of “Hawái” to the big city. Performing on a drive-in stage bathed in purple lights, as fans watched from their cars, the “Chantaje” singer made his way down and danced his way through the cars to a stage in the middle of the parking lot, ending his performance with a fireworks display that lit up the sky over New York’s East River.

But that wasn’t the only airtime Maluma got during the awards show. Immediately following his purple performance, the VMAs took it back to the drive-in to present Maluma with the moon person for Best Latin Video for 2019’s “Qué Pena.”

“I can’t believe this. It’s beautiful,” he told the crowd while clutching his award. “Thank you to all my fans for their love and affection you show me every day. Especially to my mom and dad and little sister who are watching from home. Everything I do, I do for them.”

Maluma was previously nominated three times before at the VMAs. This was his first win.

The 2020 VMAs have kicked off across MTV’s linear and digital platforms, as well as with several outdoor performances around New York City. Find everything you need to know at vma.mtv.com.

Lady Gaga Shares Inspiring Words Following Song Of The Year VMA Win

By Harron Walker

Facing stiff competition from the likes of Billie Eilish, Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion, Post Malone, and Roddy Rich, Lady Gaga has been declared the winner of Song of the Year at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards for “Rain on Me” with Ariana Grande.

“Oh my gosh, everybody, thank you so much!” said Gaga when she accepted the Moonperson for Song of the Year — her second win of the night following Best Collaboration, also for the Chromatica track. “Me and Ariana appreciate this so, so much.”

Wearing a billowing seafoam green gown made by the emerging designer Christopher John Rogers, which she paired with a quarantine-friendly face mask with tusks, the native New Yorker accepted the award live in her hometown. During her acceptance speech, Gaga gave VMA viewers a background look at how the song came together.

“I remember when I rewrote the lyrics to the chorus and I sang them for my producer and collaborator, Bloodpop,” she said. “I remember thinking I had cried so many tears that it felt like an unfathomable downpour from my eyes.”

“But even with that much rain, you don’t have to drown,” she continued, now addressing VMA viewers with some words of inspiration. “Even though it feels like you are [drowning], you can still swim. And if there’s a strong current with a bunch of waves and they keep crashing over you, if you keep swimming you’ll reach the center of the ocean, where it’s calm, still, and peaceful.”

This is Gaga’s 15th VMA total, making her the ceremony’s third most-awarded artist after Beyoncé and Madonna. It’s also her first time winning Song of the Year after receiving a nomination for A Star Is Born hit “Shallow” at the 2019 VMAs. The win holds special resonance for the entertainer, she said during her acceptance speech.

“I’m very honored for the awards I’ve been nominated for this evening, but I have to say—winning [Song of the Year] has to be my favorite,” Gaga told viewers. “At the end of the day, my heart is as a songwriter.”

The 2020 VMAsh have kicked off across MTV’s linear and digital platforms, as well as with several outdoor performances around New York City. Find everything you need to know at vma.mtv.com.

Lady Gaga’s Mechanized Mask And Ariana Grande Sparkle In ‘Rain On Me’ Debut

Back in March, when Lady Gaga was gearing up to unveil her sixth album Chromatica to the world, she gave a clue about how the music would reach people. “I might sound silly,” she said at the time, “but I’m on it right now — I’m not on another planet. If you see and listen to Chromatica, and you want to live there too, you’re invited.”

This year’s shutdown of the touring industry has largely made it so that the only way to experience Chromatica was via the album itself. But at the 2020 VMAs, Gaga set about changing that, bringing Chromatica to electricity-filled life on the largest stage possible for a nine-minute medley of some of its most affecting numbers.

She began, as is the custom in 2020, at home — under a blanket and wearing a mask. But this is Lady Gaga, so the mask was actually mechanized with an LED pulse, which matched her angular, choreographed movements once she migrated to the stage alongside her fleet of dancers. She first ran through “911” in a strap-heavy outfit, quickly changing into her “Rain on Me” attire. Then it was time for the proper debut performance of the clubby song with Ariana Grande, the tune that earlier picked up the VMA for Best Collaboration.

Gaga sported a spiky shoulder, Grande rocked a pair of insanely high white platforms, a black mask, and long, long pigtails, and together, they reached that same synchronized jumping moment that makes their visual so affecting. Right as “Rain on Me” hit its apex, the masked pair showed how they’re fearless in spite of hardship, anchoring each side of the stage (socially distanced), jumping to the house beat, liquefying themselves in unison before us.

By the end of the tune, they were both whipping their hair around, singing to the skies, and Grande even hit her patented whistle note at the song’s climax — but Gaga still wasn’t done.

After another quick costume change, she followed up “Rain on Me” with an intriguingly slowed-down, piano-led version of “Stupid Love” that found her playing at a piano that’s also in the shape of a brain — in front of a knotty tangle of roots, in keeping with the Chromatica world’s blending of the organic and the robotic. “I want you to love yourself tonight and every night, celebrate yourself, love who you are, be kind, mask up, be brave, and braver all the time,” she said, walking toward the center of the stage for one final dance sequence. And then she was done, so she left via a ladder. She ascended, then disappeared once more under the blanket.

Gaga and Grande were this year’s most-nominated artists, each nabbing nine nods, and it won Song of the Year as well. Their joint VMA “Rain on Me” performance, as a key entry in the Chromatica universe, marks a high water mark in a busy year for both of them. Accepting the Moon Person for Best Collaboration earlier in the night, Gaga celebrated the enduring uplifting power of the song with a simple message.

“This is for us,” she said. “We turned our tears that felt like endless rainfall into diamonds.”

The 2020 VMAs have kicked off across MTV’s linear and digital platforms, as well as with several performances around New York City. Find all of MTV News’s coverage right here.

BTS Light Up New York In VMA Debut — All The Way From South Korea

The path to the 2020 Video Music Awards for the South Korean band BTS has been paved with gold. By the time the septet released their first English single, “Dynamite,” they had already topped the Billboard 200 album chart four times, while their 2018 album Love Yourself: Tear was the first Korean-language album to hit No. 1 stateside. Last year, they even took home two VMAs (The plain fact is, BTS is a global force, capturing the fantasies of fans worldwide with their catchy charisma and cinematic concepts, which have even verged on mythological.

Their debut VMA performance solidified that. The seven Bangtan Boys — Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook — appeared dancing in suits of various before a number of iconic New York locations. Film via green screen from South Korea, they blended in seamlessly before the Brooklyn Bridge, amidst the bright lights of Times Square, and, finally, before the city’s full skyline. In an appropriately explosive finale, a show of fireworks illuminates the night sky, with BTS grooving in the foreground.

The vocals delivered on “Dynamite” captured a wide range of expression, fluctuating between members’ soaring falsettos and others’ low-voiced baritones. “I am kind of in charge of English here, so in many parts of this song, you can hear me singing in the background with a low voice,” RM told MTV News ahead of the performance, to which J-Hope added, “The singing in ‘Dynamite,’ it wasn’t easy, because the song is high-pitched.”

Nonetheless, the group made the performance seem effortless, delivering flawless, fast-paced choreography. That same aptitude earned the group two awards at last year’s show (and even more nominations). This year, they’ve already won Best K-Pop and Best Group, and they are also are up for Best Pop, Best K-pop, and Best Choreography — all for “On.”

The 2020 VMAsh have kicked off across MTV’s linear and digital platforms, as well as with several outdoor performances around New York City. Find everything you need to know at vma.mtv.com.

Taylor Swift Just Won A VMA For The First Video She Ever Directed

The 2020 VMAs voters proved they are Lover lovers.

Before Taylor Swift was walking in the woods wearing a cardigan, the pop star was donning shockingly good drag in her music video, “The Man,” for her track off her 2019 album, Lover. The video, which doubled as Swift’s directorial debut, saw the singer dressed as a man, showing how much easier life would be without the inescapable weight of systemic misogyny.

At this year’s awards show, Swift won Best Direction for her directorial debut in a category ruled by women, with three of the six nominees being female. Swift was up against Billie Eilish for “Xanny,” and Hannah Lux Davis for Doja Cat’s “Say So.” The first woman to be nominated for best direction was Mary Lambert in 1985, and it wasn’t until 2016 when Melina Matsoukas was the first woman to win without a co-director, for helming Beyoncé’s “Formation.”

In her selfie-shot acceptance speech, Swift thanked everyone on the crew involved with the production of the video. She also gave a special shout-out to Jill Skinner and Rebecca Hardin, two producers who convinced her to direct “The Man.” And of course, she shouted out the fans.

“You are the only reason why the industry cares about anything that I do,” she said. “And everything that you guys have done with Folklore this summer, I’m just so blown away and taken aback by your generosity to me.”

According to the “Shake It Off” singer, the killer drag transformation was no easy feat: She spent “four to six hours every day in the makeup chair” with her drag-proficient makeup artist Bill Corso.

This year Swift walked away with the Best Direction moon person, and at the 2019 VMAs her video for “You Need to Calm Down” won Video of the Year. She stepped behind the camera again for her most recent music video, “Cardigan” off of her surprise eighth album, Folklore.

The 2020 VMAs have kicked off across MTV’s linear and digital platforms, as well as with several performances around New York City. Find all of MTV News’s coverage right here.