The 22nd annual MTV Europe Music Awards hit the Mediolanum Forum in Milan, Italy today (Oct. 25) with a slew of worldwide stars on hand. Ed Sheeran co-hosted, Justin Bieber revved momentum for his new album, and both took home an array of awards for their musical accomplishments. And aside from their performances, there were also songs from stars like Pharrell, Ellie Goulding, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.
But like any awards show, the EMAs had their highs and lows. Some performances were on point; others seemed like they were missing something. Some of the onstage banter made us laugh, some of it was, well, a little awkward. Or a lot of awkward. Here are our picks for the best and worst moments of the 2015 MTV EMAs.
Tori Kelly put in work tonight. With her band behind her — obscured by a curtain made out of CDs — Kelly and her guitar rocked out her banger “Should’ve Been Us” and then segued into a medley of covers, featuring TLC’s “No Scrubs” and the Fugees’ “Ready or Not.”
And afterwards — although this moment was not shown to American audiences — Kelly performed a powerful duet with Andrea Bocelli. After the legendary tenor performed his signature song, “Time to Say Goodbye,” Kelly joined him for a cover of Pink and Nate Ruess’ “Just Give Me a Reason.” Kelly killed it, and having Bocelli perform in Milan? It was an unexpected, but savvy move.
Though we can’t quite say the same for his comedic timing (he co-hosted alongside Ruby Rose) Ed Sheeran’s collaboration with Rudimental made the grade. “Lay It All on Me” came to life as a cool, breezy drum-and-bass dance number, and Ed’s vocals were a worthy compliment to the U.K. group’s electronic soundscape.
Justin Bieber’s performance of “What Do You Mean?” was light on choreo and showy vocals, but Bieber’s nonchalance gave way to calm and collected acceptance speeches. In getting Best Looks he admitted, “I don’t know what to say because I got these looks from my mama.”
Jason Derulo’s performance of “Want To Want Me” was nothing out of the ordinary, but he and his backing crew did it all on Hands Free Segways, which definitely amounts to something.
At the 2014 Grammys there was Pharrell’s hat, and now we’ve got Pharrell’s overalls and train conductor hat. Or, since it’s Pharrell, we’ll call them fashion overalls. He rocked a show-closing performance of “Freedom” backed by a lively dance crew and a massive “FREEDOM” banner adorned with flags from around the world, but we have a feeling the outfit is what we’ll be talking about the most.
— billboard (@billboard) October 26, 2015
Twenty One Pilots had the crowd going all night, performing right outside the iconic Duomo di Milano. However…
Twenty One Pilots have now performed the 2015 MTV EMAs, the 2015 MTV VMAs, and the 2014 MTV Movie Awards, more or less filling the role of “alternative band” for each outing. MTV, we assure you — there are many, many other great alternative-esque bands out there who would like to perform for you!
We love Nicki Minaj’s carefree demeanor, and okay, she wins a lot of awards, but her pre-taped acceptance speech for winning Best Hip-Hop was perhaps the most pre-taped acceptance speech of all pre-taped acceptance speeches: “I wish I was in Milan eating some delicious…[long pause]… spaghetti.”
We love enthusiasm, but on-site reporter Jillian Rose Reed was just… a little much. The Awkward actress spoke a mile a minute in between bits and appeared ready to launch through the Mediolanum Forum roof, propelled by her otherworldly enthusiasm for very ordinary award show performances.
And co-host Ruby Rose had a very, very awkward joke. Introducing the Best Video award presenters, she announced, “Here are two girls, one rapper… wonder how many hits that would get on YouTube.” Needless to say, that one didn’t really land.