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The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards may have been the annual awards show's first virtual version, due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn't mean viewers weren't treated to epic performances from today's top artists.
This year's performances were moved out of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, to various outdoor areas around the Big Apple with few in the audience, and in some cases, none at all.
Performing in his red blazer and black gloves, The Weeknd kicked off this year's show belting out his pounding retro-synth masterpiece "Blinding Lights" from the skydeck of Edge at Hudson Yards. This was The Weeknd's first return to the VMAs since 2015, when he wowed with a performance of "Can’t Feel My Face."
Following The Weeknd's larger-than-life opening might have seemed like a challenge, but it was one Da Baby lived up to with a powerful performances that included "PEEPHOLE," "Blind" and his megahit single "Rockstar." Using CGI and green screen to their full potential, Da Baby's final number ended with a city skyline burning as he dances on a cop car. It's a powerful moment we might never have seen if the show hadn't had to rethink all the performances.
The pop superstar made her triumphant return with a colorful performance of her new single, "Midnight Sky." The number even paid tribute to her "Wrecking Ball" music video, with Cyrus swinging on a giant disco ball suspended by a chain.
The singer performed his latest single, "Hawái," at the Skyline Drive-In in Brooklyn while fans watched from their cars. Maluma enjoyed the drive-in as well, first performing while seated on a motorcycle before he was joined by a group of backup dancers in face masks.
The K-pop super group made their VMAs debut this year and celebrated all things New York with their performance of their new single, "Dynamite." With help from a green screen background, BTS was able to virtually sing their catchy hit in front of several iconic Big Apple locales -- including the famous skyline, complete with CGI fireworks.
Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande
It wouldn't be a Lady Gaga performance if it didn't include wardrobe changes and stylish insanity. Gaga's brilliant medley -- which included "Enigma," "Chromatica II," "911," and "Stupid Love" -- gave off the techno-apocalypse vibe that Chromatica embraced so enthusiastically. Then, for "Rain on Me," Gaga was joined by Grande (which makes sense, considering the song is nominated so many categories) -- and all of that happened before Gaga sat down at a grand piano shaped like a giant brain for a rendition of "Freak Out."
The TikTok megastar made her VMAs debut on Sunday and kicked things off with a parody throwback to MTV News. She then delivered a kinetic, intergalactic performance of her songs "Say So" and "Like That."
In between her stellar work as the night's emcee, Palmer found time to pull off a fun, neon performance of her song "Snack," which managed to kick up the vibrance of the already-kaleidoscopic night of music and dance.
The group performed for a car-bound audience at the Skyline Drive-In and delivered an engaging performance of "Beso" as they danced onstage and among the vehicles during the energetic number.