After the 2020 VMAs moved from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to various outdoor locations in New York City and Los Angeles, it was clear that the awards show was going to be unlike any other as the performances and awards were shot differently due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Hundreds of audience members were replaced with shadowy masked fans and the star-studded outfits included dazzling masks this year.
Despite the alterations, the award show remained one for the books. Between the jaw-dropping outfits, speeches honoring the late Chadwick Boseman, and tributes to the Black Lives Matter Movement, the stars continued to use their platforms to take a stand and bring entertainment and joy into the otherwise tragic year.
Take a look at the six most memorable moments of the 2020 MTV VMAs.
Keke Palmer and her intro Speech Paying Tribute To Chadwick Boseman:
Rather than taking the comedic route, the actress noted the emotional year the world has faced, reminding viewers, “As rough as it’s been, there have been incredible moments of inspiration that have given my generation hope.” In her serious monologue, the 27-year-old referenced the Black Lives Matter movement, stating, “We can never tolerate police brutality, or any injustice,” and talking about the “devastating loss” of Chadwick Boseman, 43, who passed away Friday, August 28 from his 4-year-battle with colon cancer.
The show host started off stating, "Before we get into the music tonight, we need to talk about the devastating loss of Chadwick Boseman, an actor whose talent and passion is a true inspiration to all the fans he touched and everyone he encountered," she continued. "We dedicate tonight's show to a man whose spirit touched so many. He is a true hero. Not just on screen but in everything he did. His impact lives forever."
In addition to the Hustlers actress’s speech, a brief segment of Boseman’s speech for receiving the best superhero award from the 2018 MTV TV and Movie Awards played.
MTV tweeted last night, “The world needs more superheroes, and we all deserve to see ourselves in them. Chadwick Boseman helped make that happen. Rest in power,” with a brief video paying tribute to the actor who portrayed Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Thurgood Marshall as he paid respect to the ‘real heroes’ in the audience. In the video of The Black Panther star accepting his Best Hero award, he called up James Shaw Jr., a real-life superhero who fought off a gunman at a Waffle House and gave him the award.
The Weeknd And His Wild Opening Performance:
Kicking off the VMAs 2020, The Weeknd performed one of the biggest songs of the year, ‘Blinding Lights’ while rocking a red suit jacket as he appeared panicked surrounded by colorful lights before appearing on the roof overlooking Hudson Yards, where a helicopter filmed his performance on a small triangular glass platform with fireworks in the background. The Canada native later went on to win two awards, one for best R&B video of the year for ‘Blinding Lights.’ In his acceptance speech, the star called for justice for Breonna Taylor and the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Lady Gaga And Her Show-Stopping Mask Outfits:
Not only did Lady Gaga win four VMA awards, including the first-ever Tricon award, honoring the stars who are true triple threats, but she also continued to practice social distancing during the event as she rocked the most glamorous and glittery masks while winning her awards. Her arrangement of masks was seen during and after the icon’s thrilling medley performance of ‘Enigma,’ ‘Chromatica II,’ ‘911,’ ‘Rain on Me’ and ‘Stupid Love.’ The winner of Best Cinematography, Best Collaboration for ‘Rain On Me’ with Ariana Grande, Best Song, and Best Artist showed off nine dazzling outfits, keeping up with her reputation of ruling the fashion scene every time she makes an appearance.
Starting with the bubble space mask on the red carpet as she replicated an outer space aura with her astronaut helmet, silver Area coat, and knee-high black boots. Next up, the 11 time Grammy award winner flaunted a pink gas mask with a multi-colored feathery dress while winning best collaboration with Grande saying, "Me and Ariana are truly soul sisters." The star then showed off a green Christopher John Rogers ballgown with none other than a horned mask while winning best song explaining, "Winning for best song has to be my favorite.” While accepting artist of the year, Gaga, 34, sported a sequin ensemble with a matching face mask the superstar shared that she has been "on a mission to spread joy through culture and music."
For her three-time winning song, ‘Rain On Me,’ the American Horror Story actress set a futuristic tone with her purple sports bra and electronic face mask while Grande rocked a similar set in a black face mask.
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DaBaby And His Powerful Performance Honoring The Black Lives Matter Movement:
Rapper DaBaby gave an inspiring performance with a medley of ‘Peephole,’ ‘Blind’ and ‘Rockstar,’ featuring the dance troupe Jabbawockeez. During his performance, the Ohio native referenced the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement by using police cars and face masks as props throughout his performance. The singer was seen in the back of a cop car handcuffed singing ‘Blind’ while the police were wearing masks. The most powerful part of DaBaby’s, 28, performance was during ‘Rockstar’ when the rapper got on top of the cop car as the green-screen city and police car went up in the flames as the Jabbawockeez group danced with a sign in the background saying, “Stop Killing Us,” in reference to the nationwide protest. The 4-minute performance ended with the singer and dancers holding up peace signs as the city burned behind them.
Miley Cyrus And Her ‘Wrecking Ball’ Performance:
Miley Cyrus made her debut at the VMA awards performing her new song ‘Midnight Sky’ and bringing back a bit of nostalgia as the blue background faded to black and a giant disco ball appeared, a nod to her 2013 song, ‘Wrecking Ball’ where the icon was swinging around
in minimal clothing during the music video.
Cyrus, 27, continued singing as she climbed a staircase and hopped on the disco wrecking ball, reminding the world that while she continues to evolve, she will never forget her past and where she came from.
Chloe x Halle
Chloe x Halle’s Breakout Pre-Show Performance:
R&B duo, Halle, and Chloe Bailey, broke out this year after their hit album Ungodly Hour, and their pre-recorded VMA performance continued to prove their talent during the electric performance, which consisted of dancing in perfect unison and singing in matching armor-like bodysuits.
Their dazzling performance already received outstanding support, including fans wondering why the duo were not given the main performance title.