Here is the final list of winners from the live broadcast.
The MTV VMAs are always full of twerking, barely-there outfits and lots of dancing â€” and, after a lackluster awards season dampened by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there has never been a better time for those antics.
On Sunday night, Brooklynâ€™s Barclays Center was full of the hottest names in music who kept the world entertained and full of hope during such a dark time.
The big winner of the night: Video of the Year victor Lil Nas X, who saluted â€œthe gay agendaâ€ in his acceptance for â€œMONTERO (Call Me By your Name).â€
â€œLetâ€™s go, gay agenda!â€ shouted the 22-year-old singer, who recently reveled in a new mystery boyfriend. â€œI love you guys so much. I will not take this for granted.â€
The ceremony, hosted by sky-high performer Doja Cat, led its musical lineup with a hoodie-wearing Justin Bieber, who quickly won for Best Pop recording and scored the most nominations this year with seven nods. The 27-year-old, in his first VMA performance since 2015, offered up his chart-topper â€œStayâ€ (a duet with rapper Kid Laroi) and â€œGhostâ€ from his sixth album, â€œJustice.â€
Bieber also landed the Artist of the Year award and alluded to the hardships of COVID-19 in his acceptance speech.
â€œMusic is such an amazing opportunity and outlet to be able to reach people and to bring us all together. And thatâ€™s why weâ€™re all here, right?â€ he told the receptive audience. â€œWe are all here together. You know, weâ€™ve got more in common than we donâ€™t. And I look around here and see so many beautiful faces. And, you know, I believe the best is yet to come.â€
Madonna opened the 2021 VMAs with a salute to MTV.Getty Images
In a surprise appearance, leather-wearing, flesh-baring, age-defying Material Girl Madonna kicked off the show with a salute to MTVâ€™s origins â€” as well as hers â€” saying the network â€œchanged my life, changed music and created a whole new art form.â€Â
Madame X, 63, is no stranger to MTV and the VMAs stage, of course. She gave viewers a sultry rendition of her hit â€œLike a Virginâ€ at the first awards show in 1984. And who could forget her 2003 liplock with both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, which still stands out as one of the wildest moments in the showâ€™s history?Â
â€œWeâ€™re still here, motherfâ€“kers!â€ Madonna told the screaming audience. â€œHappy 40th, MTV!â€
Best New Artist winner Olivia Rodrigo performs at the 2021 MTV VMAs.Getty Images
The 2021 show was jam-packed with performances from the likes of Busta Rhymes, Alicia Keys, Camila Cabello, ChlÃ¶e of Chloe x Halle, Jack Harlow, Kacey Musgraves, The Kid LAROI, Kim Petras, Lil Nas X, Machine Gun Kelly, Normani, Ozuna, Polo G, Shawn Mendes, Swae Lee, Swedish House Mafia, Tainy and Twenty One Pilots.
Lil Nas X offers a sexy, shirtless mashup of â€œIndustry Babyâ€ and â€œCall Me By Your Nameâ€ during his performance at the 2021 MTV VMAs at Barclays Center.Getty Images
A big snub of the night went to rappers Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B, the dynamic duo behind the spicy single â€œWAPâ€ who were nominated for plenty of Moonperson awards, including Video of the Year, but came up empty.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Foo Fighters also received the Global Icon Award during the ceremony.
Donâ€™t forget to check out The Postâ€™s otherÂ MTV VMAs coverage: