From BLACKPINK’s debut performance of their new K-pop hit “Pink Venom” to Nicki Minaj’s speech and energetic medley of hits in honor of her Video Vanguard Award, music fans were spared no iconic moment at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday (Aug. 28), which aired live from the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
The event marked the second time the awards ceremony was held in person since the coronavirus pandemic, returning to full capacity and managing to secure attendance from the most prolific and talked-about stars of the past year, including frequent Billboard chart-toppers like Jack Harlow, Lizzo, J Balvin and more.
Though the biggest moments of the evening were captured on camera for fans of the ceremony to watch from the comfort of their homes, Billboard had the chance to go behind the lens and see the best moments of the ceremony that didn’t happen on screen. Here are seven things at the 2022 VMAs you didn’t see on TV.
Lizzo Is Her Own Biggest Fan
Lizzo followed Jack Harlow’s show-opening performance of “First Class” (which included an unannounced Fergie cameo) with her Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit “About Damn Time” before flowing seamlessly into her Special single “2 Be Loved” (both of which she performed completely solo onstage). After soaking up applause from the audience, the singer gave herself an appreciative round of applause too and a hearty scream after a job well done.
BLACKPINK’s Sweet Friendship Moment
Prior to taking the stage to deliver the debut performance of their Born Pink lead single, “Pink Venom,” Lisa, Jisoo, Jennie and Rosé showed just how strong their bond is ahead of gracing the stage by hyping each other up in a friendship circle, where they all locked hands and danced together prior to assuming their positions. The love went both ways: The Blinks in the audience had the group’s lightsticks out in full force, bumping to the beat of the energetic track to show their true fandom and love for the girls.
Nicki Minaj’s Barbz Out in Full Force
After a sizzling medley of her biggest hits, Minaj accepted the coveted Video Vanguard Award and made sure to thank the artists that inspired her and the producers and record labels that have helped her release music, and even sweetly touched on the importance of mental health. Before concluding her speech, Minaj also thanked her Barbz, who were out in full force and chanted the rapper’s name so loudly, the Prudential Center was vibrating with the fan group’s collective energy — which Taylor Swift was part of, as she urged the crowd to give the rapper a standing ovation.
Lisa’s Best K-Pop Win Stuns the Crowd
The competition for best K-pop was stiff. Power players of the genre — including BTS, Itzy, TWICE, Stray Kids and more — were all nominated in the category alongside BLACKPINK’s Lisa and her solo debut “Lalisa,” which ultimately won the award. The reaction from the audience was mixed, with cheers from the crowd noticeably low as she was announced as the winner and went onstage to accept the award. Devoted Blinks, however, filled in the gaps from the audience by chanting her name, and Lisa’s fellow BLACKPINK members excitedly cheered on their bandmate from the side of the stage.
Becky G Supports Anitta’s First VMA Win
After taking the stage for a lively — and twerk-filled — performance of “Envolver,” Anitta held back tears while accepting best Latin video for the track, which saw friend and collaborator Becky G give her a sweet and enthusiastic standing ovation from her seat.
Manėskin’s Chaps & Nipple Pasties Challenge the Crew
Manėskin brought the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll for their performance of “Supermodel” — and the cameras capturing the spectacle barely knew what to do when lead singer Damiano David flashed his assless chaps. But the shenanigans didn’t stop there: Bassist Victoria De Angelis then sent the camera crew into panic mode, suddenly appearing shirtless and in nipple pasties. Producers covered up the moment with a jump cut away from her bare chest, and she later went down to join fans in the pit for further concealment.
Red Hot Chili Peppers & Their Multiple F-Bombs
While engaging in what Anthony Kiedis called a “thank-off” with Flea, the actual thank you’s were sparse and the F-bombs were plenty: Flea uttered the work “f—” at least six times in a row, likely to the distress of the production crew.