The 10 Best & Worst Moments of the 2018 VMAs

The 2018 VMAs have wrapped, leaving Twitter to furiously create new memes out of celebrity reaction shots and fans to debate whose performance stole the show. While we have our own take on performances ranked from least to most entertaining, we’re also rounding up the standout moments from the night as well as the segments that left us scratching our heads. Below, here’s our seven best 2018 VMA moments and three worst.

The Last SupHER

Building on her “God Is a Woman” video, which melded The Creation of Adam with interstellar imagery, Ariana Grande set the table for an all-woman The Last Supper at the VMAs as galactic imagery swirled above her. The best part of her Last SupHER? Grande’s mother and grandmother were among the dinner guests. It’s a family affair.

Logic Takes on The Wall (No, Not the Rock Opera)

After taking the stage at the 2018 Grammys to raise awareness of suicide prevention resources, Logic made a powerful statement about Donald Trump’s long-promised wall between the U.S. and Mexico and his controversial border separation policy. With Ryan Tedder on piano, Logic led a coterie of kids through the Radio City Music Hall lobby, down the venue’s aisle and up to the stage. While the kids’ shirts read “we are all human beings,” Logic’s was more blunt: “f*ck the wall.”

Nicki Goes Gold

Inside the lower Manhattan Oculus, Nicki Minaj set up court and reminded everyone why she’s earned the right to call an album simply Queen. Clad in flowing robes and a gold-plated bustier, Minaj spit “Majesty,” “Barbie Dreams,” “Fefe” and an a cappella bit of “Ganja Burn” with unbridled fury and self-possession. When she glared out at the crowd, you worried that if you stared too long into her eyes, you might turn to salt.

Camila Cabello and Her Mom Dancing to Maluma

Fairly self explanatory.

“My Boy Smash Mouth”

It’s a toss-up what was funnier: Ken Jeong pretending he was in One Direction, or Ken Jeong pretending all the alt faves from the ‘90s were in attendance at the VMAs. “Shout out to my boy Smash Mouth!”

J to tha L-O!

Video Vanguard Award winner Jennifer Lopez brought everything out for her career-spanning performance and acceptance speech. Lasers. Shirtless men. A fur coat. Impressive vocal runs. DJ Khaled. Her children. JA RULE. A sweet shoutout to her “twin soul” Alex Rodriguez. And most importantly, “Waiting for Tonight.”

A-Rod’s J.Lo React Shot

The face that launched a thousand memes.


Backstreet Was Back, Then Wasn’t

The Backstreet Boys’ a cappella run-through of the last year’s biggest hits felt a bit unrehearsed. While they sounded good singing Camila Cabello’s “Havana,” by the time they got to the third song, it was starting to get a lil sloppy. That being said, their pre-show performance of excellent new single “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” demonstrated they’ve still got it.

VMA Audience Being Loud AF

While Shawn Mendes did a fine job introducing Jennifer Lopez's Video Vanguard speech -- as your grandmother might point out, he’s such a nicely dressed, well-spoken young man! -- the crowd at the VMAs did a very bad job shutting the F up while he was talking.

Madonna’s Bedtime Story

While Madonna’s love and r-e-s-p-e-c-t for Aretha was palpable, it was a bit hard to shake the sense that her tribute to Aretha Franklin was less about Aretha Franklin the artist and icon and more an anecdote about herself that involved Aretha’s music. Still, gotta love the no-fucks-given approach of showing up wearing her Marrakesh outfit from days earlier.

MTV Video Music Awards