Billboard had eyes all over the 2016 VMAs at Madison Square Garden tonight–from backstage pre-show to our editors amongst the audience–and we’re here to show you exactly what you did not see on TV.
6:30pm EST: Rihanna rehearses her finale performance to an empty arena wearing a baseball cap with her gorgeous ball gown.
7:26pm: When asked on the white carpet about being at the same award show as Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, Amber Rose says, “I’m not about the drama, I’m just all about the positivity and I think tonight is going to be a great night.”
7:52pm: Chance the Rapper plays with a squeeze (Pokemon?) toy on the white being interviewed by Billboard on the carpet.
9:29pm: The Moonmen arrive backstage in the photo lounge!
9:43pm: Michael Phelps comes to the photo lounge and asks the photographers how many photos they take in one night. The answer? One photographer yells, “4,000 JUST of you!”
10:16pm: While the photographers are lounging around, Rita Ora sneaks up on them and playfully says, “well isn’t this a party! Come on guys, wake up!!”
10:38pm: When TV cameras pan away, Beyonce drops the mic and shrugs after her approximately 15 minute-long medley of her album, Lemonade.
11:31pm: Kanye West was not amused during Jimmy Fallon‘s standup and paid no attention him. Instead, he was focused on wife, Kim Kardashian West.
12:18am: “Drake really was stuck in traffic—that was true,” says one VMAs staffer backstage.