In the middle of Lover's first week out, Taylor Swift opened Monday night's VMAs with two songs. The dynamic "You Need to Calm Down" performance—aptly colorful and joyous—included big, bright visuals shouting out the Equality Act. She then transitioned elegantly into her first-ever TV performance of the more intimate-yet-captivating "Lover," accompanied by just an acoustic guitar. This marks her first time attending and performing on the show in four years; her "Bad Blood" won video of the year in 2015.

Going into the event, Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande were tied with the most noms (10 each). Billie Eilish followed with nine, and Lil Nas X had eight.

During Swift's Video of the Year acceptance speech, she again highlighted the Equality Act.

"In this video, several points were made, so you voting for the video means that you want a world where we're all treated equally under the law, regardless of who we love, regardless of how we identify," Swift shared.

"At the end of this video there was a petition, and there still is a petition, for the Equality Act, which basically just says we all deserve equal rights under the law. And I want to thank everyone who signed that petition because it now has half a million signatures — which is five times the amount that it would need to warrant a response from the White House."

Another big moment came when Cardi B presented Missy Elliott with the Video Vanguard Award. "She changed the music video art form completely with her style, humor and unforgettable creativity." "...There's a reason that Missy Elliott was the first female rapper, hip hop artist, inducted in the Songwriter Hall of Fame... She was always 100% Missy, and a champion for the women who want to be doing their own thing. Missy has inspired countless young women to find their own vibe and stand up for themself."

H.E.R. and Rosalia had standout performances, pushing a female-forward night onwards and upwards. H.E.R. notably appeared as a cover girl on the front of a super-sized magazine with headlines that included statements like, "Who decides real beauty?"

Other crowd-pleasers included Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello, Miley Cyrus, Normani, Jonas Brothers, Big Sean and more.

Video of the Year:
-21 Savage f/J. Cole, “a lot”
-Billie Eilish, “bad guy”
-Ariana Grande, thank u, next”
-Jonas Brothers, “Sucker”
-Lil Nas X f/Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road (Remix)”
-Taylor Swift, “You Need to Calm Down” [WINNER]

Artist of the Year:
-Cardi B
-Billie Eilish
-Ariana Grande [WINNER]
-Jonas Brothers
-Shawn Mendes

Song of the Year:
-Drake, “In My Feelings”
-Ariana Grande, “thank u, next”
-Jonas Brothers, “Sucker”
-Lady Gaga / Bradley Cooper, “Shallow”
-Lil Nas X f/Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road (Remix)” [WINNER]
-Taylor Swift, “You Need to Calm Down”

Best New Artist (presented by Taco Bell):
-Ava Max
-Billie Eilish [WINNER]
-Lil Nas X

Best Collaboration:
-Lil Nas X f/Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road (Remix)”
-Lady Gaga / Bradley Cooper, “Shallow”
-Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello, “Señorita” [WINNER]
-Taylor Swift f/Brendon Urie, “ME!”
-Ed Sheeran / Justin Bieber, “I Don’t Care”
-BTS f/Halsey, “Boy With Luv”

Push Artist of the Year:
-Billie Eilish [WINNER]

Best Pop:
-5 Seconds of Summer, “Easier”
-Cardi B / Bruno Mars, “Please Me”
-Billie Eilish, “bad guy”
-Khalid, “Talk”
-Ariana Grande, “thank u, next”
-Jonas Brothers, “Sucker” [WINNER]
-Taylor Swift, “You Need to Calm Down”

Best Hip-Hop:
-2 Chainz f/Ariana Grande, “Rule the World”
-21 Savage f/J. Cole, “a lot”
-Cardi B, “Money” [WINNER]
-DJ Khaled f/Nipsey Hussle & John Legend, “Higher”
-Lil Nas X f/Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road (Remix)”
-Travis Scott f/Drake, “SICKO MODE”

Best R&B:
-Anderson .Paak f/Smokey Robinson, “Make It Better”
-Childish Gambino, “Feels Like Summer”
-H.E.R. f/Bryson Tiller, “Could’ve Been”
-Alicia Keys, “Raise a Man”
-Ella Mai, “Trip”
-Normani f/6LACK, “Waves” [WINNER]

Best K-Pop:
-BTS f/Halsey, “Boy With Luv” [WINNER]
-BLACKPINK, “Kill This Love”
-Monsta X f/French Montana “Who Do You Love”
-NCT 127, “Regular”
-EXO, “Tempo”

Best Latin:
-Anuel AA / Karol G, “Secreto”
-Bad Bunny f/Drake, “MIA”
-benny blanco / Tainy / Selena Gomez / J Balvin, “I Can’t Get Enough”
-Daddy Yankee f/Snow, “Con Calma”
-Maluma, “Mala Mía”
-ROSALÍA / J Balvin f/El Guincho, “Con Altura” [WINNER]

Best Dance:
-The Chainsmokers f/Bebe Rexha, “Call You Mine” [WINNER]
-Clean Bandit f/Demi Lovato, “Solo”
-DJ Snake f/Selena Gomez, Ozuna & Cardi B, “Taki Taki”
-David Guetta / Bebe Rexha / J Balvin, “Say My Name”
-Marshmello / Bastille, “Happier”
-Silk City / Dua Lipa, “Electricity”

Best Rock:
-The 1975, “Love It If We Made It”
-Fall Out Boy, “Bishops Knife Trick”
-Imagine Dragons, “Natural”
-Lenny Kravitz, “Low”
-Panic! At the Disco, “High Hopes” [WINNER]
-twenty one pilots, “My Blood”

Video for Good:
-Halsey, “Nightmare”
-The Killers, “Land of the Free”
-Jamie N Commons / Skylar Grey f/Gallant, “Runaway Train”
-John Legend, “Preach”
-Lil Dicky, “Earth”
-Taylor Swift, “You Need to Calm Down” [WINNER]

Best Group:
-5 Seconds of Summer
-Backstreet Boys
-Jonas Brothers
-Why Don’t We

Best Power Anthem:
-Megan Thee Stallion f/Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign, “Hot Girl Summer” [WINNER]
-Ariana Grande, “7 rings”
-DJ Khaled f/Cardi B & 21 Savage, “Wish Wish”
-Halsey, “Nightmare”
-Lizzo f/Missy Elliott, “Tempo”
-Maren Morris, “Girl”
-Miley Cyrus, “Mother’s Daughter”
-Taylor Swift, “You Need To Calm Down”

Song of Summer:
-Ariana Grande & Social House, “Boyfriend” [WINNER]
-Billie Eilish, “Bad Guy”
-DaBaby, “Suge”
-Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber, “I Don’t Care”
-Jonas Brothers, “Sucker”
-Khalid, “Talk”
-Lil Nas X f/Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road (Remix)”
-Lil Tecca, “Ransom”
-Lizzo, “Truth Hurts”
-Miley Cyrus, “Mother’s Daughter”
-Post Malone f/Young Thug, “Goodbyes”
-Rosalía and J Balvin f/El Guincho, “Con Altura”
-Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello, “Señorita”
-Taylor Swift, “You Need To Calm Down”
-The Chainsmokers & Bebe Rexha, “Call You Mine”
-Young Thug f/J. Cole and Travis Scott, “The London”

Best Direction:
-Billie Eilish, “bad Guy” (dir. Dave Meyers)
-FKA twigs, “Cellophane” (dir. Andrew Thomas Huang)
-Ariana Grande, “thank u, next” (dir. Hannah Lux Davis)
-Lil Nas X f/Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road (Remix)” (dir. Calmatic) [WINNER]
-LSD, “No New Friends” (dir. Dano Cerny)
-Taylor Swift, “You Need to Calm Down” (dir. Drew Kirsch and Taylor Swift)

Best Visual Effects:
-Billie Eilish, “when the party’s over” (visual effects: Ryan Ross, Andres Jaramillo)
-FKA twigs, “Cellophane” (visual effects: Matt Chandler, Fabio Zaveti for Analog)
-Ariana Grande, “God is a woman” (visual effects: Fabrice Lagayette, Kristina Prilukova & Rebecca Rice for Mathematic)
-DJ Khaled f/SZA “Just Us” (visual effects: Sergii Mashevskyi)
-LSD, “No New Friends” (visual effects: Ethan Chancer)
-Taylor Swift f/Brendon Urie, “ME!” (visual effects: Loris Paillier & Lucas Salton for BUF VFX) [WINNER]

Best Editing:
-Anderson .Paak f/Kendrick Lamar, “Tints” (editing: Elias Talbot)
-Lil Nas X f/Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road (Remix)” (editing: Calmatic)
-Billie Eilish, “bad guy” (editing: Billie Eilish) [WINNER]
-Ariana Grande, “7 rings” (editing: Hannah Lux Davis & Taylor Walsh)
-Solange, “Almeda” (editing: Solange Knowles, Vinnie Hobbs, Jonathon Proctor)
-Taylor Swift, “You Need to Calm Down” (editing: Jarrett Fijal)

Best Art Direction:
-BTS f/Halsey, “Boy With Luv” (art direction: JinSil Park, BoNa Kim (MU:E))
-Ariana Grande, “7 rings” (art direction: John Richoux) [WINNER]
-Lil Nas X f/Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road (Remix)" (art direction: Itaru Dela Vegas)
-Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello, “Señorita” (art direction: Tatiana Van Sauter)
-Taylor Swift, “You Need to Calm Down” (art direction: Brittany Porter)
-Kanye West / Lil Pump f/Adele Givens, “I Love It” (art direction: Tino Schaedler)

Best Choreography:
-FKA twigs, “Cellophane” (choreography: Kelly Yvonne)
-ROSALÍA / J Balvin f/El Guincho, “Con Altura” (choreography: Charm La’Donna) [WINNER]
-LSD, “No New Friends” (choreography: Ryan Heffington)
-Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello, “Señorita” (choreography: Calvit Hodge, Sara Biv)
-Solange, “Almeda” (choreography: Maya Taylor, Solange Knowles)
-BTS f/Halsey, “Boy With Luv” (choreography: Rie Hata)

Best Cinematography:
-Anderson .Paak f/Kendrick Lamar, “Tints” (cinematography: Elias Talbot)
-Billie Eilish, “hostage” (cinematography: Pau Castejon)
-Ariana Grande, “thank u, next” (cinematography: Christopher Probst)
-Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello, “Señorita” (cinematography: Scott Cunningham) [WINNER]
-Solange, “Almeda” (cinematography: Chayse Irvin, Ryan Marie Helfant, Justin Hamilton)
-Taylor Swift f/Brendon Urie, “ME!” (cinematography: Starr Whitesides)

Is a seismic shift occurring? (2/23a)
Rapino's putting asses in seats on a massive scale. (2/23a)
His Latin chapter is a page-turner. (2/23a)
Give 'em hell, KG. (2/23a)
A startling crossover move (2/21a)
Just kidding. But we'll get there.
How guitar music got big again.
Start digging out your formal wear and let's do this.
it's not what you think.

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