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MTV VMAs: WINNERS
& HIGHLIGHTS

Miley Announces Album, Kanye Announces Presidential Run, Beef Is Proffered

Van Toffler had to be doing backflips when the 32nd annual MTV Video Music Awards—his last as executive producer—was over. The show, which took place at L.A.’s Microsoft Theater Sunday night, turned out to be timely, socially charged and provocative. It was fittingly, and capably, hosted by America’s favorite walking controversy, Miley Cyrus. Taylor Swift, who led the pack with nine nominations, took home four Moonmen, including Video of the Year for “Bad Blood.” After the premiere of Tay Tay’s cinematic video for "Wildest Dreams," the big show was off and running.

Nicki Minaj in Brazilian caranaval attire, launched the proceedings, and Swift joined her on "The Night Is Still Young," kicking into "Bad Blood." The two hugged at the end of the number, shaking off (see what we did there?) the gossip of their social-media beef.

Nicki and Taylor may have patched things up, but the former made sure to slash open a fresh wound with host Miley, keeping the beef-filled pot stirred. In an obviously unstaged moment, Nicki threw some serious shade and turned the cameras “back to this bitch who has a lot to say about me the other day in the press.” The hip-hop megastar was referring to a New York Times article in which a reporter asked Miley what she thought about Taylor and Nicki’s Twitter feud. "What I read sounded very Nicki Minaj, which, if you know Nicki Minaj is not too kind," Cyrus replied. "It’s not very polite. I think there’s a way you speak to people with openness and love. You don’t have to start this pop star against pop star war... I know you can make it seem like, Oh I just don’t understand because I’m a white pop star. I know the statistics. I know what’s going on in the world. But to be honest, I don’t think MTV did that on purpose."


Looks like Toffler got what he wished for when he told us before the show, “there’s some great beefs in music right now, particularly among the ladies. So I feel like if we can either resolve or expose some beef the night of the show, then we’ll be doing OK.”

As for the rest of the performances, the network tossed to a downtown, West Side Story-inspired perf by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Guest vocalist Eric Nally immediately saw a huge impact online (the track is now Top 5 at iTunes).

Also on the outdoor stage, Demi Lovato offered a splashy beach-themed performance of “Cool for the Summer,” and welcomed surprise guest Iggy Azalea. Later, Pharrell wowed with “Freedom.”

The Weeknd
, who also starred in a series of Apple Music and Beats 1 ads during the commercial breaks, set the room on fire (metaphorically and literally) with a revved-up rendition of “I Can’t Feel My Face” before Tori Kelly showcased her stunning pipes on “Should’ve Been Us.” While the former song has been at or near the top of the iTunes singles chart from some time, Kelly's single vaulted into the Top 10 after the show.

Justin Bieber
performed on stage for the first time in over two and a half years. He followed Skrillex & Diplo’s smash hit, “Where Are U Now” (on which he’s featured), with his just-released single, “What Do You Mean,” reminding us of his killer dance moves before being overcome with emotion and bursting into tears. "Mean" is #1 at iTunes and about to explode at radio.

Finally, Twenty One Pilots and A$AP Rocky came together for an energetic medley of "HeavyDirtySoul" and "Lane Boy." The performance also included bits of A$AP's "L$D" and "M'$."

Kanye West
gave one of the more fascinating and baffling speeches ever made on the VMAs (and maybe on any awards show) after being handed the Video Vanguard Award by Swift. West apologized for having been "disrespectful" to Swift, while also declaring he would "die" for artists, denouncing awards shows for putting artists on a "chopping block" of judgment, admitted he was stoned, and announced he'd be running for President in 2020. Then he dropped the mic. We imagine you'll be hearing a great deal about this moment. Let the interpretations begin. Read the full transcript and watch the speech, which went way over his allotted two minutes, here. Donald Trump couldn't be reached for comment.

To tie a bedazzled bow on the dramatic evening, Miley took to the stage for a wildly colorful, EDM-infused jam, joined by drag queens and Flaming Lips, and concluded by announcing that her new album, Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz, was available for free online. We recommend smoking copious amounts of weed before listening.    


FULL NOMINATIONS LIST:


VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Beyoncé, “7/11″
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift f/Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”
Mark Ronson f/Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”

BEST MALE VIDEO
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”
Mark Ronson f/Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
The Weeknd, “Earned It”
Nick Jonas, “Chains”

BEST FEMALE VIDEO
Beyoncé, “7/11″
Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”
Nicki Minaj, “Anaconda”
Sia, “Elastic Heart”
Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do”

BEST HIP HOP VIDEO
Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”
Nicki Minaj, “Anaconda”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Wiz Khalifa f/Charlie Puth, “See You Again”
Big Sean f/E-40, “I Don’t F–k With You”

BEST POP VIDEO
Beyoncé, “7/11″
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”
Mark Ronson f/Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Maroon 5, “Sugar”

BEST ROCK VIDEO
Hozier, “Take Me To Church”
Fall Out Boy, “Uma Thurman”
Florence + the Machine, “Ship To Wreck”
Walk the Moon, “Shut Up and Dance”
Arctic Monkeys, “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”

ARTIST TO WATCH
Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”
Vance Joy, “Riptide”
George Ezra, “Budapest”
James Bay, “Hold Back The River”
FKA Twigs, “Pendulum”

BEST COLLABORATION
Taylor Swift f/Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”
Mark Ronson f/Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Wiz Khalifa f/Charlie Puth, “See You Again”
Ariana Grande & The Weeknd, “Love Me Harder”
Jessie J + Ariana Grande + Nicki Minaj, “Bang Bang”

VIDEO WITH A SOCIAL MESSAGE
Jennifer Hudson, “I Still Love You”
Colbie Caillat, “Try”
Big Sean f/Kanye West & John Legend, “One Man Can Change the World”
Rihanna, “American Oxygen”
Wale, “The White Shoes”

Professional Categories:

BEST ART DIRECTION
Taylor Swift f/Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood” (Charles Infante)
Snoop Dogg, “So Many Pros” (François Rousselet, Jason Fijal)
Jack White, “Would You Fight For My Love” (Jack WhiteJeff Peterson)
The Chemical Brothers, “Go” (Michel Gondry)
Skrillex & Diplo w/Justin Bieber, “Where Are U Now” (Brewer)

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Beyoncé, “7/11″ (BeyoncéChris GrantAdditional choreographyGabriel Valenciano)
OK Go, “I Won’t Let You Down” (OK Goair:man and Mori Harano)
Chet Faker, “Gold” (Ryan Heffington)
Ed Sheeran, “Don’t” (Nappy Tabs)
Flying Lotus f/Kendrick Lamar, “Never Catch Me” (Keone and Mari Madrid)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Flying Lotus f/Kendrick Lamar, “Never Catch Me” (Larkin Sieple)
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud” (Daniel Pearl)
Taylor Swift f/Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood” (Christopher Probst)
FKA Twigs, “Two Weeks” (Justin Brown)
Alt-J, “Left Hand Free” (Mike Simpson)

BEST DIRECTION
Taylor Swift f/Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood” (Joseph Kahn)
Mark Ronson f/Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk” (Bruno MarsCameron Duddy)
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright” (Colin Tilley & The Little Homies)
Hozier, “Take Me To Church” (Brendan Canty and Conal Thomson of Feel Good Lost)
Childish Gambino, “Sober” (Hiro Murai)

BEST EDITING
Beyoncé, “7/11″ (BeyoncéEd BurkeJonathan Wing)
Ed Sheeran, “Don’t” (Jacquelyn London)
Taylor Swift f/Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood” (Chancler Haynes at Cosmo Street)
A$AP Rocky, “L$D” (Dexter Navy)
Skrillex & Diplo w/Justin Bieber, “Where Are U Now” (Brewer)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Taylor Swift f/Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood” (Ingenuity Studios)
FKA Twigs, “Two Weeks” (Gloria FXTomash KuzmytskyiMax Chyzhevskyy)
Childish Gambino, “Telegraph Ave.” (Gloria FX)
Skrillex & Diplo w/Justin Bieber, “Where Are U Now” (BrewerGloria FXMax Chyzhevskyy)
Tyler, The Creator, “F****** Young/Death Camp” (Gloria FX)

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See ya later, alligator. (6/23a)
NEAR TRUTHS: FROM THE MOUNTAINTOPS
I.B. Bad surveys the landscape. (6/22a)
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