From Olivia Rodrigo to Normani, Doja Cat, and more, here are the performances from the 2021 MTV VMAs that truly shined and left a lasting impact.
The 2021 MTV VMAs was a bit different from years past. First, it was a return to in-person events following last year’s virtual gathering due to the pandemic. It was also the VMA’s 40th anniversary, which was celebrated with a special appearance from Madonna. But aside from this, it also was a performance-filled show by some of the top and up-and-coming artists right now. The VMAs is known to be a place for history-defining performances and this year’s show had some standouts. Here are 7 of our favorites that you need to see.
JUSTIN BIEBER – STAY AND GHOST
It’s been years since Justin graced the VMA stage, so when he did for this year’s show, it was a much-welcome return. Compared to the other performers of the night, Justin’s was more simple. But what made it great was that he delivered with his vocals and let that shine through when he sang Stay with The Kid LAROI and a rock version of Ghost. Justin sounded so good and he really poured his emotions into his singing.
OLIVIA RODRIGO – GOOD 4 U
It was Olivia Rodrigo’s first time at the VMAs and safe to say she had a great night. Not only did she take home three awards, including Song Of The Year for Driver’s License and Best New Artist, she also delivered a stellar performance. Dressed in a purple and light blue dress with matching purple gloves, Olivia gave a great performance of good 4 u that showed off her vocal skills and growing stage presence. The fact that she also broke the camera screen at the end of her performance, Olivia made sure that her first VMAs was one to remember.
LIL NAS X – INDUSTRY BABY AND MONTERO
It has already been established that whenever Lil Nas X performs, he isn’t afraid to go there and be unapologetic about it and his VMA performance had everything we love about the young artist. He first started the performance with a nod to Spongebob Squarepants, he then proceeded to perform in hot pink pants before transitioning to doing a dance break in glittery pink underwear. The performance was a clear clapback against his haters and the fact that he won Video Of The Year for Montero later on in the show made it even better.
CAMILLA CABELLO – DON’T GO YET
Camilla dug deep into her Latina roots for this performance of Don’t Go Yet. The influence was clear from the music, costumes, choreography, and set design. Camilla looked and sounded like the queen of the salsa and it was an incredibly fun performance to watch. And let’s not forget the dance break near the end, she brought the party to the VMAs.
DOJA CAT – BEEN LIKE THIS AND YOU RIGHT
Doja Cat was on double duty at the 2021 VMAs. She hosted the show (and gave several memorable looks) and she also performed and it was out of this world. Doja brought us to Planet Her when she performed Been Like This while suspended on wires. It was a very memorable performance as it looked like she was floating through space. She then came down to do You Right and what made it so great was that she incorporated interpretative dance into the choreography. Doja Cat is the queen of versatility as she always has something new to give.
CHLOE BAILEY – HAVE MERCY
This was Chloe Bailey’s first-ever solo performance and she proved that she can still slay even if she isn’t with her sister. Performing her viral hit, Have Mercy, Chloe delivered vocals, dance moves, stage presence, body, and drama. Now we know why she wore a spoon on the red carpet of the VMAs, because she was going to eat up her performance. This is just the start of her solo career and she’s already serving. We cannot wait to see what else Chloe has in store.
NORMANI – WILD SIDE
Normani is truly a young legend in the making. If you’ve been following her solo career, then you know Normani always understands the assignment and her 2021 VMA performance is no exception. Performing Wild Side, Normani was straight fire in her silver outfit. Normani’s stage presence was on full display as she delivered sensual vocals and smooth and sharp dance moves. She then memorably ended her performance by grinding on Teyana Taylor in a direct reference and homage to Janet Jackson. Who’s doing it like Normani?
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