Pink clouds, Yankee Stadium, a lost drumstick, the metaverse, a surprise Fergie appearance and a surprise album announce. Oh, and how could we forget — a whole lot of a**, particularly by way of Brazil and Italy. Yes, there was a lot going on during the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards broadcast on Sunday (Aug. 28).
Nicki Minaj, who recently earned her first solo No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Super Freaky Girl,” was named the 2022 VMAs Video Vanguard Award winner, putting her into a rarified category that includes Michael Jackson, Madonna, Missy Elliott and other pop culture royalty. Additionally, Minaj co-hosted the show alongside LL Cool J and Jack Harlow. Red Hot Chili Peppers, who were the 2022 VMAs Global Icon Award recipients, also performed on the show.
Harlow opened the evening at Prudential Center, N.J., with his own “First Class” and a surprise appearance — Fergie, the Dutchess herself, joined him on the VMAs stage to perform “Glamorous,” her Hot 100-topping single that his own Hot 100 topper “First Class” samples.
Additionally, the VMAs saw performances from a huge list of genre-crossing artists: Anitta, Bad Bunny, J Balvin and Ryan Castro, BLACKPINK, Kane Brown, Eminem and Snoop Dogg, Marshmello and Khalid, Lizzo, Måneskin and Panic! at the Disco. Snoop and Slim Shady brought the metaverse to the Prudential Center, performing half of their song in their Bored Ape avatars.
Doja Cat, Harlow and Harry Styles were the top nominees at the 2022 VMAs, with eight nods each. Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Lil Nas X had seven nods each, with Billie Eilish scoring six nods. BTS, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Future, Lizzo, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd all earned five nominations.
From Harlow’s show-opening number to Anitta’s show-stopping booty shaking to Minaj’s knockout medley of hip-hop classics, here are all the 2022 VMAs performances, ranked.