Camila Cabello accepts the award for artist of the year at the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, in New York.
With most of the music industry’s top acts absent — from Beyonce to Childish Gambino — the MTV Video Music Awards lacked star power and felt flat, which it to Jennifer Lopez to liven up the show.
A surprising moment came when unlikely candidate Camila Cabello beat out Drake, Mars, Cardi B, Ariana Grande, and Post Malone’s artist of the year, the night’s highest honor.
“I can’t believe this is for me,” Cabello said on Monday on the stage.
Another surprise was when Lopez, Cardi B and DJ Khaled won best collaboration for “Dinero” — a song that peaked at Number 80 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart — besting the record-setting hit, “Meant to Be” by Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line, and Mars and Cardi B’s of coldplay “Finesse” remix.
Jennifer Lopez accepts the Video Vanguard award during the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, in New York.
The show at the Radio City Music Hall in New York, was missing oomph with its performance, also: Grande, supported by a number of female dancers, wore during “God Is a Woman,” but still some excitement when she was accompanied by her mother, grandmother and cousin on the stage at the end of the performance. Travis Scott, whose album is Number 1 for a second week had a strong energy, while on the stage, but the performance felt like it belonged more to the singer James Blake, who is listed on Scott’s album, and performed just as long as Scott during the segment.
Scott concluded with friendly words: “Rest in peace the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin.” But nothing was worse than Madonna’s self-congratulatory tribute to Aretha Franklin, who passed away last week.
Madonna has her biggest part of her alotted time to speak about themselves, before you try to connect to the story of her life in Franklin.
Lopez, who earned the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award for lifetime achievement, provided the night of the most energetic performance. They started out slow Kylie Jenner and Scott’s unamused faces perfectly captured the vibe — but they struck a strong only when she sang old and it stores as “Jenny from the Block”, “I am Real” — where Ja Rule at her on the stage — and “Everything I Have,” and that turned out to be the experienced dancer vocal range.
But Lopez’s speech was more stirring than her great performance, She was emotional as she thanked her children and beau Alex Rodriguez on the stage at the Radio City Music Hall in New York.
She was teary eyes and looked at her, “the two angels,” as they called it, and said, “I stand here stronger and better than ever … so thank you, Max and Emme.” She called Rodriguez, who filmed her performance on his phone, “my soul.”
“My life is sweeter and better with you,” she said.
While Lopez ‘ s speech went to the heart, Cardi B is intended for jokes. The rapper, in her well-known stupid behavior, “opened” the show with a performance, but with funny jokes. The new mother was on the stage, as if the possession of a baby, but she then revealed to the audience that it is actually a Moonman, which they won earlier in the night for song of the summer for her Number 1 hit, “I Like It,” with Bad Bunny and J Calvin.
Cardi B opens the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, in New York.
Cardi B, who gave birth last month, also won best new artist and said that people told her that she is “gambling your career” when she decided to be a mother.
“I had the baby, I wore the baby and now I’m still winning awards,” she said.
They also seemed to take aim at Nicki Minaj, who, during the promotion of her new album last week said the other musicians have hired fans to listen to their music.
Cardi said she is blessed with the fans”, which you can’t buy,” looking into the camera and shouting an expletive.
Cardi B was the top contender of the night with 10 nominations.
Nicki Minaj won the first single award — best hip hop — and checked comedian Tiffany Haddish for the issue girl group Fifth Harmony, now a break.
After congratulating ex-Fifth member of the Harmony Cabello on her five nominations, presenter, Haddish said sarcastically: “Hi Fifth Harmony.” When Minaj accepted an award a little later she looked to Haddish and said: “don’t come for Fifth Harmony because Normani is (chick).” Normani currently has its first hit single, separate of the group with the Khalid-assisted “Love Lies.”
Minaj, who has been a trending topic this week, after they madly tweeted about why her new album debuted at Number 2 behind Scott Travis, also the first bleeped moment of the evening when she told the audience to listen to its Apple Music radio show this week to hear that “who the (expletive) of the day award.”
There was a political moment of Logic was joined on stage by a group of young immigrants wearing T-shirts that read, “We are all human beings,” to protest against the Trump administration of the separation of immigrant children from their parents after they illegally crossed the U.S.-mexico border. The rapper, known for the suicide prevention anthem “1-800-273-8255,” wore a T-shirt that read, “(expletive) wall.”
Logic does “on A Day” on the stage of the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, in New York.
Grande won best pop video and thanked her fiancé, Pete Davidson “for existing.”
As for the top nominees, Beyonce and Jay-Z were behind Cardi B with eight entries for “Apesh–t’, filmed in the Louvre museum in Paris. Gambino’s “This Is America” tackles racism and gun violence, earned him seven nominations, while Drake, who gave away $1 million to Miami residents in his “God’s Plan” clip, scored seven nods.
Avicii, who died in April, won for best dance for “Lonely Together”, along with Rita Ora.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
You can find Sasha Savitsky on Twitter @SashaFB.