Given the chance, the one place we’d love to be at right now is New York City – where the past week has been buzzing thanks to the return of New York Fashion Week followed by the MTV Video Music Awards and the Met Gala to top it off. While things were a little quiet last year, the anticipation and energy that surrounded this year’s string of events were high, especially the VMAs that was held at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, which was felt by everyone around the globe through their screens.

It was a much-needed breather for many of us who’ve been trying hard to find the motivation to move forward during these trying times, especially the artists and those involved in the creative and music industry. If anything, we’d love to thank everyone in the music industry because without their creativity and music to accompany us through the darkest days of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re not sure how we’d have made it this far. To celebrate the night and all the stars that have contributed in one way or another, here’s our list of 10 unforgettable moments from the event:

1. Alicia Keys paid tribute to her birth city

It’s been 20 years since the 9/11 attacks took place, and Alicia – who was born and bred in New York – felt the need to pay tribute to the lives that were lost during that tragic incident. It was definitely a touching moment for those who attended the VMAs when Alicia played her 2009 hit, Empire State of Mind on the piano with the Statue of Liberty standing tall in the background while the attendees at the event waved their glowing wristbands. Prior to that, Alicia performed her new single, LaLa (Unlocked) along with Swae Lee, which she released last week.

2. Avril Lavigne made a surprise red-carpet appearance with her new beau

It feels like we were transported back to the good ol’ days where we’d see Avril show up at every event of the year without fail and with her iconic Sk8er Boi vibes. The 36-year-old star looked like she hardly aged at all as she showed up at the VMAs dressed in a hot pink plaid pantsuit with a sparkly bralette and bag topped off with platform heels, alongside her boyfriend, Mod Sun who donned a suit covered in patches and green hair. Seeing the duo on the red carpet was a great joy to everyone especially after she revealed that she was taking a step back as she was suffering from Lyme disease and spending time healing at home.

3. BTS thanked their beloved ARMY for their major win

As many of us are hooked to everything Korean in this modern day, it didn’t come as a surprise when BTS bagged multiple awards at the VMAs for Group of the Year, Best K-Pop (for the third year running!) and Song of Summer (Butter). Like the previous years, the boys didn’t make it to the event but delivered their acceptance speech via a video where they said, “ARMY, it’s all possible thanks to you guys! Although we can’t meet in person, we feel your love every minute and second.” Fingers crossed, we hope that BTS will be able to make it to the VMAs one day!

4. Doja Cat’s mind-blowing outfit changes

If there was an award for the one person who made the most heads turn at this event, it’d definitely be Doja Cat! Not once nor twice but throughout the show, she made sure that all eyes were on her with each outfit change that she made. Walking home with two awards that night for Best Collaboration and Best Art Direction, Doja, who was also the host of the VMAs, showed up in a black and red bustier dress on the red carpet. To announce the award winners, she changed into a black Vivienne Westwood corset dress and a blonde wig.

When her turn came to rock the stage, Doja changed into a red tank and pants to perform Been Like This and You Right. The next one was unexpected as she came out dressed as a ‘worm’ when it came to accepting her award. However, that wasn’t the end as Doja again surprised us when she came on stage to announce the nominees for Best New Artist in a corset that was paired with a horse-printed skirt, a sword around her belt and a chair as a head piece. After that, Doja took her chair-hat off and sat on it saying that she felt… relaxed. Her last LOTN was when it was time to bid everyone goodbye and she showed up in a pink blazer, orange hat and a pair of claw-designed shoes. Fun fact: through all of her outfit changes, her nail art designs changed too!

5. JLo took the stage dressed in a sexy lace number

JLo has been the in the news since last week when she was seen with Ben Affleck at the Venice Film Festival in a white low-cut gown. If you thought that that was the end of the highlight, then you’re wrong as the 52-year-old multitalented star showed up in a lace top and sequinned cut-out skirt paired with stilettos last night. To complete the look, she had her hair done in loose curls complete with nude lips when she hit the stage to present the award for Song Of The Year to Olivia Rodrigo. Way to go, JLo!

6. Justin Bieber makes a comeback

Our teenage crush is back after six years and this time around, Justin was one of the artists who got the most nominations at the VMAs. After deciding not to walk the red carpet, he took the stage and was the first performer of the night who left everyone with a gush of positive energy after he performed Stay alongside The Kid Laroi and later on, Ghost from his latest album, Justice. Towards the end of the evening, Justin walked away with two awards for Artist of the Year and Best Pop Video. Upon receiving his awards, he said, “I look over here and I see my beautiful wife and I wanna say, I love you so much. And Travis Scott, you inspire me so much. Thank you for being you.” Awww… he’s definitely more than just our teenage crush!

7. Lil Nas X’s self-confidence taught us how to love ourselves

Among the lot, the one person we can all learn about self-confidence from was Lil Nas X. When he showed up on the red carpet in the lilac Atelier Versace suit that came with a train, the rapper proudly revealed that he was happy and looked good. In addition to that, he also paid tribute to HIV patients when he was joined by Mardrequs Harris during his performance on stage, the southern AIDS Coalition’s director of community investments who wore a robe with the number 433,816 at the back, which represented the number of people living with HIV in the south of US in 2015.

8. Nick Cannon got down on one knee before Ashanti

We’re not sure if there’s a hidden message behind Nick’s gesture, but we loved how Ashanti reacted to the whole scene. Moments before she was supposed to present an award, Ashanti and Nick were seen catching up and to her surprise, the 40-year-old father of seven kneeled down before her! Dressed in an eye-catching strappy bikini top and skirt from Michael Costello, Ashanti had all eyes on her, but she was quick to react to the moment by bursting out in laughter!

9. Normani showed up with a ‘if you want it, go get it’ spirit

It was quite a disappointing moment for Normani when she revealed to the world in August that she wasn’t called to perform at the VMAs. Despite the artist feeling down, Normani’s fans stood up for her with the hashtag #LetNormaniPerform and spread the word calling for the organisers to look into the matter. And boy, did they do their part as she was ultimately included in the line-up and went all out to perform her hit, Wild Side solo as Cardi B was at home with her baby. Dressed in a killer metallic silver outfit, she had Teyana Taylor join her on stage, after which, she gave her a lap dance and included other moves which got people talking!

10. Olivia Rodrigo sent out a positive message at her good 4 u performance

Olivia may only be 18, but last night, she showed the world how to embrace their individuality without having anyone dim their light. Showing up on the red carpet dressed in a peachy pink and ombre orange strapless gown by Atelier Versace, Olivia paired the dress with butterfly earrings and pink platform heels that brought out her vibrant persona just like how she appeared to be in High School Musical: The Musical. During her performance, she was seen floating in from the ceiling in a purple bustier dress and gloves when she performed good 4 u. Olivia walked away with three awards in total for Best New Artist, Song of the Year and Push Performance of the Year. What can we say – this teen is killin’ it, alright!

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