2023 VMAs: A Night of Stars, Surprises, and Showstoppers

by Liz Keating '24 on November 12, 2023
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

The 2023 MTV Video Music Awards, commonly known as the VMAs, or “music’s most iconic night,” were held on a star-studded evening that brought together some of the biggest names in the music industry. This annual event is renowned for its ability to showcase not only exceptional musical performances, but also cutting-edge fashion and unexpected moments that keep viewers on the edge of their seats. The 2023 VMAs did not disappoint, delivering an unforgettable night of entertainment. The show was held last Tuesday, Sept. 12, at the Prudential Center in New Jersey, hosted by the queen of rap herself, Nicki Minaj. Iconic performances from Doja Cat, Stray Kids, Shakira, and Olivia Rodrigo made this VMA’s the highest rated show in three years. Given the show was four hours long, viewers were essentially given one long concert with a few awards presented in between. The big winners of the night include Ice Spice winning “Best New Artist,” and Lana Del Rey and John Batiste winning “Best Alternative” for their song “Candy Necklace.” Alongside them, Nicki Minaj took home her eighth career VMA winning “Best Hip-Hop” for her song “Super Freaky Girl while SZA won her third moon man in “Best R&B” for her song “Shirt.” However, no one had a night quite like Taylor Swift. It should come as no surprise that Taylor Swift, the multi-award winning powerhouse, owned the night. With eight nominations centered on 2022’s “Anti-Hero” music video, Swift led the pack this year in both nominations and victories. She won in seven of her eight primary categories, losing only the Best Editing award to Olivia Rodrigo’s “Vampire.” Swift received nine awards in total by the end of the night.

Other memorable moments include the night’s emcee, Nicki Minaj, opening the evening with a performance of her brand-new single, “Last Time I Saw You,” a minimalist ballad that demonstrates her vocal prowess. After the song, she unzipped to reveal a new outfit, and lights flooded the stage as she launched a brand-new, nameless song that was more rap-focused. The performance precedes the release of “Pink Friday 2,” her first album in five years, which is set to release in November.

Rounding out the night, Shakira was the honoree of the evening winning the “Video Vanguard Award” which MTV says is “a prestigious merit celebrating an artist’s contributions and impact on music video and pop culture.” Shakira proved that she deserves this award in an electrifying performance of her biggest hits starting with early tracks like “Whenever, Wherever” and seamlessly transitioning into her new songs like “TQG” featuring Karol G, which later took home the moon man for “Best Collaboration.” As the music industry continues to evolve, it is hard to tell if the VMA’s will continue to develop with it or stick to what they know. Regardless, the VMAs are a great night to celebrate artists of all genres.