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This year’s VMAs blows open doors with outstanding performances

By Angela Mendez

Section: Arts

September 2, 2016

MTV’s Video Music Awards (VMAs) typically prove to be one of the most exciting events of the year as they leave the audience in awe. This Sunday, Aug. 28 was no exception. The VMAs are a breath-taking award ceremony that incorporates several musical performances by well-known vocalists. This year, the VMAs were hosted at Madison Square Garden, a special place for many in the music industry. The award ceremony was without a doubt spectacular.

Wearing stylish white clothing and magenta colored glasses, Rihanna wowed the audience by singing some of her biggest hits. Her performances included “Don’t Stop the Music, “Only Girl (In the World),” “We Found Love” and “Where Have You Been.” Rihanna energized the crowd as she nailed the choreography with her backup dancers. She got many people to sing along. The amount of confidence Rihanna radiated in her singing and dancing is truly immeasurable, and her performance was definitely a great way to start off the night.

Next to perform were Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj. They sang their catchy duet “Side to Side,” which at the moment is in the Top 10 music on iTunes. The setting of the stage was inspired by a gym. It held a lot of bikes, one of which Ariana Grande started on for her performance. It was impressive to see her cycling while singing; she did it without breaking a sweat. Nicki Minaj soon joined her in the stage, rapping fearlessly with a group of muscular men in pink wrestling uniforms following her. Both Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj make a great team. Their duet was cute and fun to watch.

Michael Phelps, winner of 28 Olympic medals, introduced Future as the next performer. Phelps stated Future was a great rapper and that “his optimism is right there in his name.” Future’s music started directly afterwards. He rapped the song “Commas” and soon had everyone jumping, nodding their heads and waving their hands in their air. For his performance, Future had red lighting shining on him, which produced an awesome effect. Towards the middle of his performance, smoke filled the stage behind him. His backup dancers were fun to watch as well; they were all excited and interacted with the audience members.

For Rihanna’s second performance, she alluded to her roots with an entirely dancehall themed set—with a few hundred of her friends. Rihanna sang “Rude Boy,” “What’s My Name” and “Work” with a different twist to the original songs. They each had a different beat that connected all of the songs. Audience members loved it and danced to the beat of the music. The people who were on the stage with Rihanna danced their hearts out as well and they all had fun. At the end of the performance, Rihanna turned around to her backup dancers and told them that they did a great job. Her team high fived one another, and it was wonderful to watch the sense of family created within that atmosphere.

Very excitingly, Nick Jonas performed his song “Bacon” at New York’s Tick Tock Diner. He first started singing in the kitchen while the cooks were making food. He then went upstairs towards the customers and sang to each table, stopping to where his brother Joe Jonas was standing. Joe was with his new band called DNCE. Two seconds later, the diner turned into a huge dance party with different colored lights turned on. Nick Jonas stepped out and handed over the mic to Ty Dolla $ign. Ty Dolla $ign was outside of the diner with two cars next to him that jumped while he sang. The focus then went back to Nick Jonas, who pretty much has a concert outside. It was a nice way to end the performance because the empire state building was right behind him.

The biggest highlight of the VMAs was Beyoncé’s jaw-dropping “Lemonade” medley. She sang “Hold Up,” “Sorry” and “Formation.” Her 15-minute performance was absolutely mesmerizing. All eyes were glued to her dancing and singing. Beyoncé began with lights turning on and off, creating a huge shadow of her onstage. Written words of her poetry was shown behind her. When the lights turned to Beyoncé for her first song, it could be seen that she wore a white coat with huge diamond earrings. Her presence was astonishing. There were also individual spotlights for her and her backup dancers. As the song progressed, the spotlight changed into the color red, signifying pain. It was a powerful moment. For her next song, Beyoncé took off her coat to reveal a black leotard outfit. Beyoncé nailed the choreography and towards the end, she grabbed a bat and hit a video camera. The crowd went wild. Wearing a fur coat now, red and blue lights shined on her from the sides. Beyoncé looked fierce. She ended this song with fire surrounding her. Lastly, she sang “Formation” with a large group of backup dancers. They were all in sync and strove to make interesting figures as smoke filled the stage. Beyoncé ended this last song with line, “Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper.” The crowd, which had become speechless, went wild and cheered for two whole minutes.

Another powerful moment in the award ceremony was when Alicia Keys sang an original poem that resonated with everybody about equality. She greeted the audience and said that the day of the VMAs marked the 53rd anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. Alicia Keys then told the audience that keeping that in mind, she wanted to share a poem. She recited the following words:

If war is holy and sex is obscene,

then we have to twist it in this lucid dream.

That ties in boundaries, scooped in sin,

divided by difference, sexuality and skin.”

At this point she broke into singing a cappella:

“So we can feel each other/hate each other/we can break these walls/we can build these/walls between each other/baby, blow by blow, brick by brick/keep yourself locked in/yourself locked/Oh, maybe we can love somebody/Maybe we can care a little more/Maybe we can love somebody/Instead of polishing the bombs of holy war.”

She ended this moment with these glistening and powerful words: “I still believe in that dream that one day our nation is going to rise up and finally be completely about the true meaning about this creed that all women and men are created equal.”

To end the show, Drake gave a wonderful speech about Rihanna and how much he respected her and her growth. I will end this article with those words:

“One day our nation… [will] rise up and finally be… the true meaning about this creed… all women and men are created equal.”

      

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