The 2015 MTV Video Music Awards were a night to remember. Kanye told the world he’s running for U.S. president in 2020, Taylor Swift won big and premiered a new video, and Miley Cyrus closed out the show by dropping a free surprise album. On the flipside, wouldn’t it have been great to see her sort things out with Nicki Minaj?
VMAs 2015: 31 Things You Didn’t See on TV
Billboard recaps the best and worst moments of the night:
The Best Moments
Kanye in 2020!
So yeah, Kanye West said he’s running for president in 2020. Here’s to the future. But that wasn’t the only good thing about his Video Vanguard acceptance speech. First, Taylor Swift introduced him and cleared the air over his legendary VMA interruption seven years prior. Then Ye launched into a life-affirming speech that pulled the curtain on the cutthroat nature of awards shows and spouted love and support for artists everywhere.
And throughout the show, #HappyKanye beamed and smiled adoring grins as he took the evening in with wife Kim Kardashian West. He danced to The Weeknd. And he even dozed off a bit:
Justin Bieber cries after completing his comeback
It’s been a long and rocky road back for the Biebs, and the raw emotion he showed after spirited performances of top 10 hit “Where Are U Now” and new single “What Do You Mean” showed it.
While the pop star seemed breathless at times, it didn’t matter one bit to the adoring crowd that rightfully treated the 21-year-old to a standing ovation following his aerial acrobatics.
Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj lay their bad blood to rest
After trading barbs in a brief back-and-forth last month over a perceived snub for “Anaconda,” Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift officially made friends again.
Swift took the stage to perform “The Night is Still Young” in a surprise appearance with Minaj before closing their performance by teasing Swift’s “Bad Blood.” The peace offering came not a minute too soon, as Minaj had her sights firmly set on calling out host Miley Cyrus for her comments about race in The New York Times.
VMAs: Winners List | Photos From the Red Carpet
Demi Lovato performs “Cool for the Summer”
Summer’s almost over, but we see Demi staying cool for a long time. The singer performed her latest top 20 single outside the Microsoft Theater, first from a beach chair, and eventually on a giant inflatable boat. She also brought along Iggy Azalea for a surprise performance.
The Weeknd is in flames
After topping the Billboard Hot 100 earlier this summer, The Weeknd enjoyed another career milestone by performing his biggest hit at the VMAs. “Can’t Feel My Face” was in literal flames, as Abel Tesfaye performed it within a ring of pyrotechnics on the VMAs stage.
Taylor Swift debuts “Wildest Dreams” video
It was a big night for Taylor. “Bad Blood” took home the prize for video of the year, and debuted her hotly anticipated video for “Wildest Dreams.” The cinematic, Joseph Kahn-directed piece started off in the Serengeti and ended in the big city. The first ballad single off 1989 also treated fans to model-turned-actor hunk (and Clint’s son) Scott Eastwood.
Miley Cyrus Flashes Audience at 2015 VMAs
Miley surprise drops her new album… for free
Of course Miley assured that the show ended on a high note. In the final seconds of the live telecast, the host capped off a lengthy Wayne Coyne-assisted performance by announcing that her new album Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz was streaming online for free.
The Worst Moments
Jared Leto awkwardly introduces The Weeknd
What do you do when you flub your VMAs intro line? If you’re Jared Leto, stay the course and say it again.
“It’s time to get sexy.”
“It’s time to get sexy.”
The statement was so awkward he said it twice. Sporting the Joker’s slicked-back blonde hair and sunglasses, the Oscar winner and Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman was not on his A-game tonight. Luckily The Weeknd was, so Leto’s creepy moment may go down as an afterhought.
Amber Rose’s entourage’s offensive outfits
While Amber Rose and Blac Chyna’s expletive-emblazoned jumpsuits caught most of the headlines and red carpet interview attention, it was their two companions’ black and white clothes covered in the “other f word” that arguably crossed a line.
We’re all for making statements and pushing the envelope. We get that Rose and Chyna receive a ridiculous amount of sexist Internet vitriol, and their outfits were a way for them to turn the tables on their haters and promote their feminist Slut Walk LA. But there was nothing artful about their companions’ presentation of the sensitive term. Without an explanation, it reeked of a cheap attention-grabbing tactic.
They wouldn’t let Nicki finish
First, Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” won the Moonman for hip-hop video of the year. Her acceptance speech started unassumingly enough (with a shout-out to her pastor thrown in) but quickly shifted to the host. “Now back to this b—- who had a lot to say about me in the press the other day… Miley what’s good?” Cyrus, who had been critical of Minaj’s racial commentary days prior, quickly responded by shifting the blame to the press. The camera showed Nicki still yelling Miley’s way, but her mic was muted.
Regardless of what side you were on, wouldn’t it have been great to actually hear all of what Nicki had to say?