Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande
Lady Gaga stole the show as she took us on a trip to her over the top planet of “Chromatica” and delivered a medley of songs from her most recent album.Gaga led the night with five wins including the Tricon award, artist of the year, song of the year, best collaboration and best cinematography. Her dazzling performance ran for nine minutes and featured fellow collaborator, Ariana Grande. Each of the four songs she performed had intense choreography to match and she made three separate outfit changes—all in typical Gaga style. She kept a techno mask on the entire performance that moved along with her lips. After a decade since the meat dress fiasco, Gaga still manages to turn heads.
Miley Cyrus proved that she is coming into her own both musically and personally as she debuted her new single “Midnight Sky.” The performance is like an enhanced music video from the eighties. A hue of colors surround Cyrus as she sports a little black dress, bright red lipstick, blonde hair and a chained cross necklace—she serves like Madonna or an eighties Stevie Nicks. The direction of the performance is simple but effective. At the end of the performance, Cyrus walks up to a set of stairs leading to a disco ball, takes off her skirt and climbs upon the disco ball, paying homage to her iconic “Wrecking Ball” music video. At the end of the night, Cyrus won two Moonmen for best art direction and best editing for “Mother’s Daughter” music video.
DaBaby delivered a performance with a medley of his songs “PEEPHOLE,” “Blind,” and “Rockstar.” He was accompanied by his famous, masked backup dancers that we see in his music video “Bop.” DaBaby sported a full yellow and purple outfit, topped with a Laker’s hat and a chain with his name “KIRK.” His performance was so important because he created an archive for the sign of the times. To conclude the performance, he highlights the Black Lives Matter movement as he stands on top of a cop car with a city scene behind him in flames and a sign that said “Stop killing us.” DaBaby successfully used his platform to send a message.
The Weeknd begins the award show night on a NYC rooftop with his song that won him the best video of the year and best R&B song, “Blinding Lights.” The performance begins much like his original music video as he looks beat up and confused in his famous “After Hours,” red suit. We are led by the Weeknd to Hudson Yards’ sky deck where you can see the New York skyline. In the center of the sky deck, the Weeknd awkwardly dances as countless spotlights countless spotlights are flashing on and off around him and a helicopter circles the roof. Despite this jaw dropping scene, it would not have been complete without the tacky CGI fireworks finale.
Much like Gaga’s performance, Doja Cat took us to another planet. She begins the performance as a reporter, "Hi. This is Something Quirkier from MTV News. Performing live from Planet Her is Doja Cat. Enjoy," she said in a flat tone. This transitions to an incredible, extra-terrestrial scene where Doja Cat is dressed in a shimmery, scaled bodysuit with long, mint hair to match. The graphics and light work for the performance were so elaborate as she sang “Say So” and “Like That.” Doja oozed confidence during the performance. Although it was her first time to attend and perform at the award show, she continued to smirk at the camera like she’s done it a million times before.