In a night filled with surprises, Taylor Swift emerged as the shining star of the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards, clinching the top prize for her mesmerizing “Anti-Hero” music video.
The singer-songwriter was overwhelmed with joy as she accepted the coveted award, declaring, “This is unbelievable. The fact that this is a fan-voted award means so much to me.” Swift went on to reflect on her journey, saying, “I can’t believe it was a year ago that I announced the ‘Midnights’ album.”
Held at the illustrious Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, the event seemed tailor-made for Swift’s triumph. The evening commenced with a bang, featuring none other than the iconic NSYNC members as the first presenters. NSYNC, making a special reunion appearance, presented Swift with the award for Best Pop Video.
Onstage, dressed in coordinating suits, Justin Timberlake, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass, Chris Kirkpatrick, and JC Chasez shared a heartwarming moment with Swift. Bass even presented her with a friendship bracelet, mirroring the gestures of fans at Swift’s concerts. Overwhelmed with gratitude, Swift told the group, “You’re pop personified.”
Swift’s dominance continued throughout the night as she returned to the stage to claim the Song of the Year award for “Anti-Hero” and the Best Direction award, cementing her status as the night’s undeniable star.
With an impressive haul of nine out of the eleven awards she was nominated for, including the prestigious Artist of the Year, Swift celebrated a remarkable achievement. Notably, the Artist of the Year category featured an all-female nominee lineup, marking a historic moment in VMA history.
The night also saw success for Swift’s collaborator on “Karma (Remix),” Ice Spice, who secured the Best New Artist award, exclaiming, “Oh my God, this is so cool. I just want to thank my munchkins.”
While Swift’s presence was undeniably dominant, the VMAs provided a global showcase for music’s power. K-pop sensation Tomorrow X Together and Brazilian superstar Anitta unveiled their exciting collaboration, “Back for More,” a fusion of glossy retro-pop.
Stray Kids, another K-pop sensation, brought “S-Class” to the stage, while regional Mexicana star Peso Pluma delivered a captivating performance of “Lady Gaga.” Reggaetonera Karol G wowed the audience with “Oki Doki” and the “Tá OK (remix).”
The night featured some memorable firsts, with comedian Tiffany Haddish presenting the inaugural “Best Afrobeats” award to Rema and Selena Gomez for their chart-topping hit “Calm Down.” Rema paid homage to the genre’s roots, saying, “Shout out to Fela (Kuti), who started Afrobeats in the first place…and I want to give a big shout out to the next generation of Afrobeats.”
Colombian icon Shakira was honored with the Video Vanguard Award and delivered a bilingual medley of her timeless hits. She expressed gratitude to MTV and her Latin American fans, injecting the night with a powerful sense of unity.
Shakira also celebrated a win for Best Collaboration with her song “TQG” alongside Karol G, who joined her for an acceptance speech entirely in Spanish. The moment was a testament to the international influence of Latin music.
The legendary rapper Diddy received the Global Icon Award from Mary J. Blige and his daughter Chance Combs. In an electrifying performance, he revisited his greatest hits, joined by Yung Miami, Keyshia Cole, and his son, King Combs. Diddy emphasized the significance of longevity and passion in his heartfelt speech.
The show opened with Lil Wayne performing his new single “Kat Food,” followed by Olivia Rodrigo’s captivating rendition of her “Vampire” music video, transitioning into her pop-punk hit “Get Him Back.”
In a night filled with powerful live sets, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion dazzled with their choreography for “Bongos.” Demi Lovato rocked the stage with a medley of her biggest hits, while French Montana used his platform to raise awareness for Morocco earthquake relief.
As the VMAs neared its conclusion, a star-studded finale performance celebrated 50 years of hip-hop. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five kicked things off with “The Message,” followed by Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick’s “The Show.” The grand finale featured Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, LL Cool J, and DMC of Run-DMC, creating an energetic tribute to the multigenerational culture of hip-hop.
The 2023 MTV Video Music Awards served as a testament to the power of music and its ability to unite audiences across the globe. With Taylor Swift’s remarkable success and a diverse lineup of artists, the night celebrated creativity, inclusivity, and the enduring influence of music in our lives