- 13 Sep 21
A star-studded line up of performers took to the VMAs stage including Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, Alicia Keys and more.
Olivia Rodrigo shattered a camera lens, Foo Fighters paid tribute to the late Charlie Watts and Machine Gun Kelly wore a crown of thorns on his face before smashing his pink guitar at the 2021 VMAs on Sunday Night (September 12).
18-year old pop superstar Olivia Rodrigo performed her number 1 hit ‘good 4 u’ backed by mask clad dancers as she came down from the ceiling on a platform made of disco balls. The singer gave one of the performances of the evening before smashing the camera lens with her mic.
Foo Fighters played a medley of ‘Learn To Fly’, ‘Shame Shame’ and ‘Everlong’ on a night where they won the Global Icon award. Drummer Taylor Hawkins ripped into the drums with “Charlie R.I.P” scrawled on his kit in reference to Rolling Stones percussionist Charlie Watts who recently passed away.
Machine Gun Kelly took a break from scrapping UFC fighter Conor McGregor to bust out a great performance of his song ‘papercuts’. The emo-rock rapper-singer adorned a crown of thorns on his face which he took off early on in the performance. MGK was joined by Blink-182 legend Travis Barker who thrashed his drums as the rapper smashed a guitar.
Ed Sheeran was joined by a band instead of his trusty loop pedal to perform his hit ‘Bad Habits’ and his forthcoming single ‘Shivers’. Sheeran is set to release his latest album = on October 29th and stirred up hype for it with this performance.
Lil Nas X performed his smash singles ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’ and ‘Industry Baby’ along with Jack Harlow on the night where he picked up the gong for Best Video. The rapper took the stage with a marching band and a group of back dancers clad in sparkling pink briefs.
Justin Bieber, who claimed the Artist of the Year prize, took to the stage with superstar teenage rapper The Kid LAROI to perform their hit ‘Stay’. The pair stood atop a prop mountain before Justin Bieber went solo to perform ‘Ghost’ from his latest album Justice.
Alicia Keys linked up with one half of Rae Sremmurd, Swae Lee to perform their new single ‘LaLa’. Swae Lee introduced his partner, “the iconic, amazing Alicia Keys” flanked by dancers with rhinestone studded face masks.
Keys then broke into her classic collaboration with Jay-Z, ‘Empire State Of Mind’ in the very city the song was written about. It was a poignant moment coming one day after the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
“Welcome to the Empire State,” she said before the song as she played the piano. “Home to the World Trade. Birthplace of Michael Jordan, Biggie, Jay-Z and Nas - can’t forget Alicia Keys”
“I want you to help me celebrate the magic and strength of this beautiful city,” she added before launching into the iconic song.
Polo G, SAINt JHN, Latto, Busta Rhymes & Spliff, Ozuna, Normani, Chlöe, Shawn Mendes & Tainy, Camila Cabello, Twenty One Pilots, Kacey Musgraves, Swedish House Mafia, Troye Sivan & Tate McRae, Kim Petras and the evening’s host Doja Cat also performed at the event in New York’s Barclays centre.