2021 MTV Video Music Awards Review – Top Performances, Biggest Winners and More

By Anthony Haage in Entertainment
| September 15, 2021 4:19 am PST

Last year’s MTV Video Music Awards were terrible. It was in the middle of a global pandemic and some people even compared it to a dystopia.

Luckily, this year’s VMAs were much better.

We had a live person audience and most people were vaccinated, leaving very few masks in sight. There were countless celebrities and artists who had entertaining performances.

On a night where the music industry ran wild, let’s go over the highlights in my 2021 MTV VMAs recap.

2021 MTV VMAs Details

The VMAs this year were on September 12th, 2021, and hopefully you find your way to the highlights so you don’t miss out on too much of the action.

The event was in Barclary’s Center in New York, home of the Brooklyn Nets (NBA) and the New York Liberty WNBA).

Let’s look at some of the 2021 MTV VMAs details in case you missed out.

Who Was the Host?

Doja Cat was the main host of the show who also performed “Been Like This” and “You Right,” while accepting two awards.

Her awards were for Best Collaboration with her song with SZA, “Kiss Me More” and Best Art Direction for her song with Saweetie, “Best Friend.”

She accepted one of her awards with a memorable outfit, which she said made her “look like a worm.” She was right, but that wasn’t her only interesting dress, as she had a fit with a chair on her head.

Doja Cat did great as host on the show for this year’s MTV VMAs, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see her asked back in the future.

Who Performed at the VMAs?

There were 16 total performances at the VM As, but the following artists were arguably the biggest names.

  • Shawn Mendes featuring Tainy
  • Twenty One Pilots
  • Machine Gun Kelly featuring Travis Barker
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Alicia Keys featuring Swae Lee
  • The Kid LAROI featuring Justin Bieber
  • Camila Cabello
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Doja Cat
  • Olivia Rodrigo
  • Busta Rhymes
  • Foo Fighters
  • Chlöe
  • Lil Nas X featuring Jack Harlow

It doesn’t get much bigger than this, as legendary rockers the Foo Fighters took the stage, and pop stars like Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, and Ed Sheeran all did their thing.

Host Doja Cat also performed, while Alicia Keyes sang, as well.

The most intense performance may have been rapper Busta Rhymes, who came out with some serious attitude and delivered more than anyone could have asked for.

Who Had the Most Nominations?

Justin Bieber came into the VMAs with the most nominations of nine. Megan Thee Stallion and BTS followed Bieber with seven nominations each.

Several other well-known artists were nominated, with big names like Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Cardi B, and Ariana Grande having a shot at some big wins.

Biggest Wins at the 2021 VMAs

While some massive names in the music industry got a tip of the cap in terms of being nominated, not everyone could win.

Here’s a quick recap of the biggest wins for arguably the most important MTV VMAs categories in 2021.

Video of the Year

The winner of this award was Lil Nas X’s “Montero – Call Me By Your Name.” His music video was extremely daring, featuring himself as every character.

You can see the process that went into bringing his video to life here.

He goes from being ascended into heaven to riding a pole like a stripper all the way down to hell to dance on Satan’s lap.

Needless to say, this is not a video for kids. His risk paid off, of course, as he took home one of the biggest awards of the night, as well as a few others.

Song of the Year

Jennifer Lopez was honored with presenting this award. This award went to Olivia Rodrigo’s song, “Driver’s License.”

The young and super popular artist won this award along with two others, but Song of the Year is one of the biggest awards you can receive at the VMAs.

You can make the argument that her other song, “Good 4 U” could have gotten this award if it wasn’t released as late as it was.

Artist of the Year

This award went to Justin Bieber.

He came into the VMAs with the most nominations for an Artist of the Year as well as the “Best Pop” award.

He had two big hit songs in “STAY” featuring The Kid LAROI, which they performed at the awards show, as well as “Peaches.”

The other nominations for this award were Ariana Grande, Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion, Olivia Rodrigo, and Taylor Swift.

Best New Artist

The Best New Artist award goes to none other than Olivia Rodrigo. It isn’t a huge surprise as the young artist is taking over the country by storm.

She has had a blazing start to her young career and the sky’s the limit for her.

The crazy thing is it isn’t just about star power or a music video for her. Watch her impress live on The Tonight Show.

Her song “Driver’s License” also won song of the year, which was a big reason why she also won this major award.

She hasn’t stopped making hits and probably won’t for a while.

Biggest Surprises at the 2021 VMAs

Madonna steals the show again, as the biggest surprise was probably Madonna making an appearance to wish MTV a happy 40th birthday.

Here’s what she had to say.

“And they said we wouldn’t last, but we’re here motherf—ers. Happy 40th, MTV.”

This might not be a huge surprise to some people since he had more nominations than anyone, but Justin Bieber winning Artist of the Year when there were so many great artists this year is sort of a surprise.

He has had two mega-hits while also adding some more songs, but there were a lot of artists that this award could have gone to. Nonetheless, the world still has Bieber Fever.

Another surprise was Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s song, “WAP” was nominated in four awards, but went home with zero wins.

Best Performance of the Night

The best performance of the night has to go to Lil Nas X. He performed “Montero – Call Me By Your Name” and “Industry Baby” with Jack Harlow.

Lil Nas X keeps breaking the norm and growing more popular and his performance tonight was another example of that.

He went from coming out on the stage in a marching band to finishing the performance in his underwear. He is a daring artist and he showed it tonight.

Recap of MTV’s VMAs

This was one of the biggest award nights since the global pandemic started, and they went all out. We saw artists that we know and love, but also a bunch of new artists who are growing very quickly.

Doja Cat did a great job of hosting this amazing event and the performing artist brought it all together.

Although we could have gone without Justin Bieber trying to be heartfelt about the pandemic, it was still a great night for the MTV VMAs. We have several new artists that will be taking over the world and making new music in the near future.

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