For its 33rd spin, the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards made a triumphant return to New York City’s Madison Square Garden. And it was Beyonce who came out on top, commanding the stage with a whopping 15-minute-long run through tracks from her groundbreaking visual album Lemonade, and also earning the video of the year honor for “Formation” and best female video for “Hold Up.”
“I want to thank my beautiful daughter and my incredible husband for all of their support,” Queen Bey told the crowd during her acceptance speech, also dedicating the honor to “the people of New Orleans” and paying homage to her team for their “tireless support.”
It was also a very special night for Video Vanguard honoree Rihanna, who performed on four separate occasions throughout the telecast, opening the show with a dance-tinged medley of her biggest hits and closing with a triumphant run through downtempo classics “Stay” and “Diamonds” and recent ANTI cut “Love on the Brain.” Britney Spears made her return to the VMA stage, with her first performance on the show since 2007, rocking new single “Make Me” with a cameo from rapper G-Eazy.
The Joe Jonas-led DNCE took home the Moonman for best new artist, with the former boy bander telling the crowd, “We’ve been doing this for over 10 years individually, and it just proves that you can continue to evolve as an artist.” U.S. Olympians and recent Rio gold medalists Michael Phelps and gymnasts Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman also graced the VMA stage to present during the telecast, while Jimmy Fallon — clad in a bleach-blond wig — used his on-camera moment to spoof Ryan Lochte.
Fifth Harmony took home both the song of summer honor (presented by Verizon) for their Fetty Wap collab “All in My Head (Flex)” and the best collaboration trophy for the Ty Dolla $ign-assisted “Work From Home.” Ty later performed with Nick Jonas, with the duo taking a spin through a New York diner for a performance of their hit “Bacon.”
And then there was Drake. The rapper — who missed his win for best hip-hop video (“Hotline Bling”) because he was “stuck in traffic” — made a late-show appearance to close out the show with a speech honoring Rihanna.