Each year, the MTV Video Music Awards receive excitement before the show because something shocking happens every year. From Kanye West famously grabbing the mic from Taylor Swift during her attempted acceptance speech to Miley Cyrus twerking on a then-married Robin Thicke, something always goes down at the VMAs. At this year’s awards ceremony, there was no shortage of shockwaves sent through social media during the broadcast. Here are the top five moments from the 2015 ceremony.
1. Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj performed together.
When the nominations for the 2015 VMAs were released, Taylor Swift blew up the nominations as expected — she’s had a killer year with the acclaimed release of 1989 and the subsequent high-profile tour for the album. Nicki Minaj received three nominations but seemed pretty peeved at not being nominated for Video of the Year. She went on a Twitter rant in what originally seemed to be pointing out issues with black artists not getting proper recognition at the VMAs, but her comment about “skinny girls” being constantly nominated caused people to think she was throwing jabs at Swift. Swift and Minaj then engaged in a misunderstanding over social media, with Swift offering to have Minaj join her on stage and Minaj trying to get people to realize she wasn’t talking about Swift at all. Both artists have tremendous fan bases, so the so-called feud quickly took over people’s social media.
However, both Minaj and Swift were able to work out their issues as Minaj gave an interview a few days later confirming that she and Swift had talked it out over the phone and Swift had apologized to her. Both artists opened the show for this year’s VMAs, in a very red and carnival-esque performance, collaborating both of their songs. At the end, both hugged and smiled at each other and stated their love and admiration for each other on Twitter.
2. Nicki Minaj calls out Miley Cyrus and the world was there for it.
Nicki Minaj may go down in history for thanking her pastor and then proceeding to curse out Miley Cyrus, all in one minute. At the end of her acceptance speech for “Best Hip-Hop Video” for the butt-shaking song “Anaconda,” Minaj turned the tables and called out host Miley Cyrus, saying: “And now, back to this b*tch who had a lot to say about me the other day in the press — Miley, what’s good?” The camera then panned to Cyrus, who looked shocked, but Minaj, whose mic was cut off, was still yelling at her. Transcriptions later showed her to be repeating at Cyrus, “What’s good?” and “Don’t play with me!” Minaj’s anger was directed toward an interview that Cyrus recently gave, in which she stated her opinion on the aforementioned Swift and Minaj squabble, essentially saying that Minaj’s original message about racial issues was misdirected into a sob story about not being nominated for Video of the Year, which Cyrus won last year. Though Cyrus appeared surprised that Minaj called her out, she only stumbled for a bit in her response and turned right back to hosting the show. Social media, however, has blown up due to the feud, with many siding with Minaj and calling her their “new aesthetic.”
3. Kanye West being… Kanye
Kanye West will likely always be known as one of the more controversial rappers of his time. He’s been known for being a sore loser when he and other artists (read: Beyoncé) have been “wronged” by not receiving certain awards. The majority of his voiced frustration has been toward MTV, so it was a pleasant surprise when it was announced that he would be awarded the Video Vanguard Award. West certainly deserves it as his talent is undeniable and his performances are riveting. Taylor Swift presented the award to West, and the ceremony hit a sweet note when she joked about their previous feud, signaling that everything is now in the past.
But, of course, that wasn’t the end of Kanye. During his acceptance speech, he not only announced that he was running for president in 2020, but also spoke about how cutthroat award shows can be and showed love for all artists. Not surprisingly, his rambling speech went on for about 12 minutes.
4. Justin Bieber’s hair and tears
Justin Bieber has had a strange year. He’s released some new music, modeled for Calvin Klein underwear and seemingly stayed out of trouble. He had two major moments at the VMAs, the first being his mullet-like hairstyle. However, that wasn’t the end of the night for Bieber — he performed in what seemed to be a “comeback,” though it’s been less than two years since he released an album. He showed raw emotion after performing, and the audience gave him a standing ovation.
5. The Weeknd ignites the crowd
After an incredibly awkward introduction by actor Jared Leto, the Weeknd re-created his fiery video for “I Can’t Feel My Face.” Though the artist looked bored during the award ceremony, he regained his energy around a ring of fire on stage. Everyone from Swift to West was jamming along to him as his performance was definitely one of the highlights of the broadcast, portraying a monstrous and dark side of love and the world.