Taylor Swift won video of the year, Miley Cyrus briefly flashed one of her breasts and Kanye West ranted at the MTV Video Music Awards.
After Swift won the top prize for “Bad Blood,” Cyrus was backstage speaking and hiding behind a curtain, but one of her breasts appeared onscreen before the camera cut away. MTV said the clip will be removed from all future broadcasts.
Cyrus closed the show at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles with a performance, which started with the line: “Yeah, I smoke pot.”
She’s not the only one: West, who said he got high before going onstage on Sunday, gave a rambling speech as he apologized to Taylor Swift for taking her microphone in 2009, admitting “I don’t understand awards shows,” bashing MTV, and claiming he would run for president in 2020.
Swift presented West with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award on Sunday night at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
“This arena tomorrow is gonna be a completely different setup, this stage will be gone. After that night, the stage was gone, but the affect that it had on people remained,” West said of running onstage during Swift’s speech at the 2009 VMAs. “The problem was the contradiction. The contradiction is I do fight for artists, but in that fight I somehow was disrespectful to artists. I didn’t know how to say the right thing, the perfect thing.”
It was just one of the dramatic moments at the awards show. Nicki Minaj called Miley Cyrus out at the MTV Video Music Awards after the 22-year-old said in an interview that the rapper was being a poor sport about not receiving a nomination for video of the year.
After collecting best hip-hop video for “Anaconda” on Sunday, Minaj told the audience: “And now back to this b—- that had a lot to say about me a lot in the press. Miley, what’s good?”
Minaj’s microphone was cut off, and Cyrus fired back with “we all know how they manipulate” words during interviews, referencing a pre-VMAs interview in the New York Times. Cyrus then stumbled over her words as she tried to read from cue cards about voting for the artist to watch award.
“I lost this award in 2008 and I was fine with it. Whatever! Because it’s no big deal. It’s just an award and I persevered,” she yelled, appearing to look over at Minaj.
She ended with: “Congratulations Nicki.”
In the recent interview, Cyrus criticized Minaj for her “pop star war” with Swift that began in July. On the show, however, that “war” appeared to be over, with Swift joining the rapper during her performance of the “The Night Is Still Young.” Both in red, Swift performed some of her hit, “Bad Blood,” and the two closed with a hug.
The beef began in July when the nominations were announced and Minaj, who had one of the most viewed videos of the year with “Anaconda,” was not up for video of the year. She tweeted that slim women easily earn top nominations and said black female entertainers don’t get enough credit for their influence on pop culture. Swift, the top nominee with 10 nods, thought the rapper was referring to her and they traded words online, but later apologized.
Swift’s wins included best female video and pop video for “Blank Space” and video of the year for “Bad Blood.”
“I know there’s been a lot of discussion about this video and what it means, but I’m just happy that in 2015 we live in a world where boys can play princesses and girls can play soldiers,” she said onstage after winning the top prize.
Justin Bieber returned to the big stage with slick dance moves to his hit “Where Are U Now” and new single, “What Do You Mean.” He was emotional by the end of the performance and cried onstage.
Tori Kelly was a vocal powerhouse during her performance of “Should’ve Been Us,” ending in a cappella to a rousing applause. The Weeknd’s smoky performance of “Can’t Feel My Face” was energetic and smooth, and even West, Swift and Selena Gomez got out of the chairs to dance to the upbeat track. And Demi Lovato brought a sexy vibe when she sang her anthemic “Cool for the Summer” outdoors with background dancers wearing bright colors that added to the song’s summer-feel.
Cyrus hosted the VMAs two years after she stole the show with a risque, but memorable performance with Robin Thicke, and a year after winning the top prize for “Wrecking Ball.” She took a selfie with people in the audience and asked them to yell: “Marijuana.”
“Ellen, you ain’t got nothing on this,” she said.
Cyrus announced at the end of the show that her new album is available online for free.
Here is a list of the winners of Sunday night’s 2015 MTV Music Video Awards in Los Angeles:
Video of the Year: Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood.”
Male Video: Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk.”
Female Video: Taylor Swift, “Blank Space.”
Hip-hop Video: Nicki Minaj, “Anaconda.”
Pop Video: Taylor Swift, “Blank Space.”
Rock Video: Fall Out Boy, “Uma Thurman.”
Artist to Watch: Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen.”
Collaboration: Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”
Video With a Social Message: Big Sean featuring Kanye West and John Legend, “One Man Can Change the World.”
Art Direction: Snoop Dogg – “So Many Pros” (Jason Fijal)
Choreography: OK Go – “I Won’t Let You Down” (OK Go, air:man and Mori Harano)
Cinematography: Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me” (Larkin Sieple)
Direction: Kendrick Lamar – “Alright” (Colin Tilley & The Little Homies)
Editing: Beyoncé – “7/11” (Beyoncé, Ed Burke, Jonathan Wing)
Visual Effects: Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)
Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award: Kanye West.