The best, worst, and funniest moments of the MTV VMAs 2019

Not much happened at the MTV VMAs 2019 in New Jersey. The ceremony wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t great – it more just was. Devoid of many big talking points, the event at Newark’s Prudential Center at least had some highlights, some lowlights, and the occasional moment to make you laugh. Here’s our recap of the night’s events.

BTS win twice but the VMAs’ K-pop representation still falters

This year marks the first time the VMAs have included a Best K-pop category, but its introduction didn’t go down as well as MTV presumably hoped. Despite breaking YouTube streaming records, both BTS and BLACKPINK were absent from any of the big, headline-grabbing categories like Video Of The Year or Best Pop, causing fans to accuse MTV of bringing in the category as a way of using K-pop artists for clout without letting them compete for the major prizes. Whatever the company’s intentions, it felt a little like ghettoising – after all, if you’ve claimed the most views for a video in 24 hours, chances are it might be one of the best released in the last 12 months, regardless of your race or nationality.

Days before tonight’s ceremony, three more categories were added to the nominations list, including Best Group, which featured both BTS and BLACKPINK. But fans still weren’t happy, criticising MTV for seemingly trying to placate them with the new nods.

None of the artists nominated for Best K-pop have spoken about their views on the new category, but none were present at the VMAs. That could purely be down to their schedules – Monsta X and NCT 127 were in the US earlier this month, BTS are on vacation, and Tomorrow X Together have been forced to postpone their comeback plans due to injury and illness – but MTV might want to rethink boxing in artists based on where they’re from. The success of BTS, in particular, is often framed in the context of the ongoing globalisation of pop. If lines are being blurred and boundaries broken down outside of awards ceremonies, why should they exist within them?

An ‘Old Town Road’-less night

Maybe after doing so many remixes of chart-topping record-breaker ‘Old Town Road’, Lil Nas X has gotten sick of the life-changing track. After all, it seemed a given he would perform it at his first VMAs but, after an opening VT cracked jokes about remix number 3162 featuring “Megan Thee Stallion’s twerk wind” and the ghost of Benjamin Franklin, all we got was a lip-synced ‘Panini’. The sci-fi stage set-up was good enough, but the viral star failed to give the people what they wanted – the world’s favourite country-rap banger.

Camila Cabello’s words of advice

Fresh from performing ‘Senorita’, Camila and her new boyfriend Shawn Mendes picked up the award for Best Collaboration. The acceptance speech began as you would expect – grateful messages to fans and the like – but ended far more memorably. After echoing the Canadian pop star’s sentiments, Camila ducked in front of the mic and yelled: “Get wasted!” We don’t need telling twice.

Sebastian Maniscalco proves a poor choice of host

VMAs 2019 host Sebastian Maniscalco is, apparently, a comedian. We say apparently because his time presenting the ceremony wasn’t particularly funny. His opening monologue featured the bizarre – jokes about dry ice being clouds of smoke from his mother’s kitchen – and the predictable – wisecracks about millennials being addicted to social media and always being triggered – but failed to do the one thing it was meant to do, i.e. make you really laugh.