By: S. McManus
I bet you, like myself, haven’t really heard of or tuned in for the VMAs in a while, but more recently it has risen to relevance once again for supplying us with the performances we crave directly to our living rooms when we can’t go out to watch shows ourselves. Without much ado here’s what you missed from the show that aired early September. The 7 best performances of the night, in order of appearance:
Chloe x Halle – Ungodly Hour
First of all, ADLIBS. This performance was a feast to the ears and the production, while simple, fit the song perfectly while also complementing the allure and sensitivity of their voices. It was truly a shame they were not one of the main performers of the night, a prospect the girls declined themselves. Personally, I saved this song right after their show slot, and look forward to seeing them dominate more award shows in the future.
Weeknd – Blinding Lights
This was an entire acting performance. The use of lighting and facial expression, as well as the helicopter angles and fireworks certainly made up for the excitement, we missed from an on-site live audience. Seeing the choreographed lights from the building rooftop should be considered a routine on its own, and of course, the emotion and vocals delivered.
DaBaby – Peep hole/ Blind/ Rockstar
Concept & story. Must admit that while I am not the most educated or dedicated listener, they certainly took the opportunity of an online performance to truly invest in a solid storyline with great use of props and song to create a politically charged and interesting sequence that went beyond a pretty aesthetic. The ending scene was particularly memorable, with DaBaby standing atop a police car and the screen behind him depicting various buildings on fire.
Miley Cyrus – Midnight Sky
COLOUR. Performing her recent single in this performance, Cyrus was also able to recreate and reference previous songs and performances at the VMAs, most notably, “Wrecking Ball”. While its more minimalistic approach contrasted with some of the other performance of the night, it fit the song concept perfectly and really made good use of the few props that were used. The live singing was also undeniable and the emotion and her natural raspiness bled through for a solid performance.
Maluma – Hawái
Watching this I just kept thinking, wow how cool is it that, however small, they still managed to pull together a live audience for a chill and uplifting performance. This is the kind of performance you sway with your family to as you watch TV. The set and dancers gave a nod to more traditional past award show performances (without forgetting their masks though!). I think we can say for sure artist-crowd interaction is something we all missed.
BTS – Dynamite
Highly anticipated debut performance for the song that smashed (and is still smashing) numerous records and boundaries for Asian representation in the West (more specifically American) music scene, the group reminded us of their consistency in delivering great choreography and vocals. (Those mics were on ON.) And, they did so while dancing in front of a creative use of green screen that literally brought two parts of the world- Seoul and New York- together. Like the Dynamite’s message, this not only made us want to smile and dance along, but also reminded us how it is still possible to connect through means that aren’t physical.
Lady Gaga ft. Ariana Grande - Chromatica II/ 911/ Rain on me/ Stupid Love
Definitely one of the most talked-about performances of the night. Lady Gaga herself was an unforgettable presence throughout the ceremony, scoring various awards and always keeping us guessing on what her next outfit would be. As for when they went up to perform, the vocal chemistry between the two singers was impressive and really amped up the energy, to be later be soothed by Gaga’s brain-piano playing skills. I myself kept re-watching Grande’s whistle note and wondering how on Earth someone could pull that off so clearly while dancing in platforms and wearing a mask.