There were surprises, as always, at the 2019 Video Music Awards. Here are 12 records that were set along the way.
Taylor Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down” won video of the year, four years after she took the award for “Bad Blood” (featuring Kendrick Lamar). Swift is just the fourth artist to win video of the year twice as a lead artist. She follows Eminem, Rihanna and Beyoncé. (Two other artists—Missy Elliott and Lamar—have achieved the feat if you count both lead and featured credits.)
Swift is just the second artist to take video of the year for a video that he or she co-directed. Swift co-directed “You Need to Calm Down” with Drew Hirsch. Lamar was the first artist to win video of the year for a video that he or she co-directed. Lamar achieved the feat two years ago for “HUMBLE.” He co-directed the clip with Dave Meyers and Dave Free (Lamar’s partner in The Little Homies).
“You Need to Calm Down” also took the video for good award, MTV’s new name for its best video with a social message award. This is the third time that a LGBTQ-friendly video has won in this category. The inaugural winner in the category in 2011 was Lady Gaga‘s “Born This Way.” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis‘ marriage equality anthem “Same Love” (featuring Mary Lambert) won two years later.
Ariana Grande won artist of the year. This is the second year in a row a female artist has walked off with the award. Camila Cabello won last year. Ed Sheeran won in 2017, the first year this award was presented. Grande also won song of the summer presented by Samsung for “boyfriend,” her new hit collabo with Social House.
Billie Eilish, 17, won best new artist. She’s the youngest VMA winner for best new artist since Justin Bieber, who was 16 when he won in 2010. Four other solo artists have won in this category when they were still in their teens—Avril Lavigne (who was 17 when she won in 2002), Austin Mahone (17 when he won in 2013), Khalid (19 when he won in 2017) and Fiona Apple (19 when she won in 1997). Eilish also took the push artist of the year award and best editing for her “Bad Guy” video, which she edited.
A year after winning for best new artist, Cardi B took best hip-hop for “Money.” Cardi B is the third female rapper to win in that category, following Missy Elliott (a two-time category winner who was this year’s recipient of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award) and Nicki Minaj (a three-time category champ).
Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello’s “Señorita” took best collaboration. The sensuous smash jumps to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week. This is Cabello’s second win in this category. As a member of Fifth Harmony, she took the award four years ago with “Work from Home,” a collabo with Ty Dolla $ign.
Jonas Brothers took best pop for “Sucker.” JoBros are the third all-male group to win this award, following ‘N Sync (which won with “Bye Bye Bye” in 2000 and “Pop” in 2001) and One Direction (which won for “What Makes You Beautiful” in 2012). (You could call them boy bands, but JoBros have aged out of that niche.)
Panic! at the Disco took best rock for the first time with the video for their smash, “High Hopes.” The group won video of the year 13 years ago for their classic “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.”
Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus) took song of the year in the category’s second year. Last year’s winner was also a hip-hop collabo, Post Malone‘s “Rockstar” (featuring 21 Savage).
J Balvin took best Latin for the second year in a row. He scored this year for “Con Altura,” his collabo with ROSALÍA which features El Guincho. The Colombian reggaeton star won last year for “Mi Gente,” his collabo with Willy William.