VMAs 2022 Recap: The Best, Worst, and Most Surprising Moments

Ssome of the most iconic moments in pop music history have happened at the MTV Video Music Awards, from Britney and Madonna’s memorable kiss (2003) to Kanye West stealing the spotlight from Taylor Swift (2009).

While the 2022 Video Music Awards, held Sunday at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, didn’t quite live up to the hype, there was still plenty of excitement as some of music’s biggest stars came together.

Johnny Depp has made his first public (non)appearance since his controversial libel trial against Amber Heard. Yung Gravy — a new rapper with a viral song on TikTok — and his date have sparked a lot of gossip. Blackpink and Nicki Minaj’s performances brought the house down.

Here are some of the best, worst, and most surprising moments from the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards:


Taylor Swift accepts the award for Video of the Year at the Prudential Center on August 28, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey.

Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for MTV/Paramount Global

Best use of Twitter: Taylor Swift

Accepting the award for Video of the Year, Taylor Swift told his fans that he will release a new album on October 21, 2022 and revealed more details after the show. Exactly at midnight she announced the release of Midnights, which she describes as “a collection of music written in the middle of the night, a journey through horrors and sweet dreams.” Twitter erupted into chaos and the phrase “meet at midnight” began to take hold.

Read more: Can NFTs Change the Music Industry?

Worst Comeback: Johnny Depp

The media reported that the combative actor would appear at the awards – whether or not personal or through video— in his first public appearance since his elevation defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard. And he did, in a way. His pre-recorded face was projected onto the helmet of a large version of the Moonman statuettes being given out at the VMAs. In this virtual form, he welcomes viewers back after two commercial breaks.


Dove Cameron accepts the award for Best New Artist onstage at the 2022 MTV VMAs at the Prudential Center on August 28, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for MTV/Paramount Global

Best LGBT Callout: Dav Cameron

Former Disney star Dove Cameron has worked hard to step out of the entertainment giant’s shadow, and it looks like the work is paying off. She demonstrated her musical theater skills in productions such as Hairspray! Live, The light of the Piazza in London and an off-Broadway production of Clueless. This year’s Best New Artist category was stacked with famous musicians who have achieved more success than Cameron, such as Måneskin, Baby Keem, Latto, Gayle and SEVENTEEN – but she beat them all and dedicated his award to “all the weird kids out there.”

Read more: How house music became the sound of summer

The most talked about meeting: Yung Gravy and Sherry Easterling

Popular rapper Yung Gravy had his moment with the success of the TikTok-driven “Betty (Get Money)” 2’26” pop LP, which irresistibly samples Rick Astley’s 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.” The rapper performed his hit during the preliminary program and was seen kissing his date— The mother of fellow TikToker Addison Rae Sherry Easterling — on the black carpet. During his pre-show interview, he raised some eyebrows when he called Easterling the “queen of the MILFS.”


Nicki Minaj performs onstage at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022.

Doug Peters/PA Images via Getty Images

Best Combination: Nicki Minaj

This year Video Vanguard Award WinnerNicki Minaj, took the stage to perform a medley of greatest moments throughout her career. From “Moment 4 Life” to her latest release, “Super Freaky Girl,” the Queens native stunned the crowd with cuts from her incredible back catalog.

Read more: Why we remember music and forget everything else

Best Performance: Blackpink

The K-pop quartet Blackpink preparing for his second studio album, Born pink, which is due out on September 16. To prepare, the girls took the stage at the VMAs to perform the first single from the album, “Pink Venom.” It was their first performance at an award show in the US and one of them best performances overnight.


Bad Bunny kisses a dancer at Yankee Stadium for the 2022 MTV VMAs broadcast on August 28, 2022 in New York City.

Noam Galay/Getty Images for MTV/Paramount Global

Best Britney and Madonna Tribute: Bad Bunny

Reggaeton star Bad Bunny invited the MTV VMAs to his show at Yankee Stadium in New York, performing “Titi Me Preguntó”. During the song he a kiss one of his backup dancers and the people immediately started comparing to Madonna and Britney Spears’ iconic kiss.

Worst Appearance: The Metaverse

We the people are kindly begging the crypto powers to stop force-feeding us performances of the metaverse. At the VMAs, Snoop Dogg and Eminem performed their collaboration ‘From the D 2 The LBC’, starting on the main stage before diving head first in the metaverse, featuring digital images of the Bored Ape Yacht Club artists and monkeys. It smacked of a late jump, and hopefully it won’t become a way for artists to do even less than the bare minimum when it comes to live performances.

Read more: Halsey isn’t the first artist to complain about TikTok

Best co-performer: Fergie

Fergie has gone into hiding for the past few years and hasn’t been seen at the VMAs in quite some time. When Jack Harlow sampled her 2006 hit “Glamorous,” interest in the 16-year-old song was renewed. Out of respect for the former member of the Black Eyed Peas, he invited her on stage, and they sang the two songs together in front of a roaring crowd. (Harlow is clearly enjoying getting some big-name support for her awards performances, after bringing out Brandy during his performance on BET in June.)

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