The Student News Site of Mayfield Senior School

The Mayfield Crier

The Student News Site of Mayfield Senior School

The Mayfield Crier

The Student News Site of Mayfield Senior School

The Mayfield Crier

A Swift Sweep at the VMAS: A Recap of the 2023 Award Show


It is no secret that some of the biggest moments in pop culture have gone down at the Video Music Awards Show each year (i.e. the infamous Kanye-Taylor incident in 2009, or Lady Gaga’s meat suit circa 2010). This year did not disappoint at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on September 12th. 

The first award of the night, Best Pop Award, was presented to Taylor Swift by *NSYNC, who Taylor Swift was already ecstatic over before winning the award for her hit song Anti-Hero. 

“Like… I had your dolls. Like are you doing something — what’s going to happen now?” Swift said to the band in her acceptance speech. She was virtually starstruck after they gifted her with friendship bracelets (a reference to the ongoing trend among fans attending Swift’s Eras Tour).

The mastermind’s suspicions in the boy band’s plans were correct as the iconic group subsequently announced a new single titled Better Place, for the upcoming third installment of Dreamworks’ Trolls franchise (which member Justin Timberlake has voiced the character, Branch, for the last new movies, also penning Can’t Stop the Feeling! for the first film) . This announcement marks their first new music release since their 2001 album titled, Celebrity. Their momentous release is set for September 29th, before the film’s premiere on November 17th. 

Another headline around this year’s VMAs was SZA’s absence from the show. The singer-songwriter, whose career has been growing exponentially, was nominated for eight total awards, winning one for Best R&B for her song, Shirt, off of her 2022 album SOS. The breakout hit release spent 10 weeks total at #1.

Terrence “Punch” Henderson, SZA’s manager, spoke out about how she was not announced as a nominee for Artist of the Year, despite her chart-topping success since her album’s release. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Henderson even reached out to MTV about the Artist of the Year nomination process, but did not receive any response. 

SZA was originally slated to perform at the award show, but after the looming, unsettled issue, Punch said he decided to pull the performance, calling the situation “disrespectful.” in his interview.

A highlight performance of the night was Kelsi Ballerini, who attended the show with Outer Banks star Chase Stokes. Ballerini sang her song Penthouse, a song about the downfall of her marriage off of her 2023 album, Rolling up the Welcome Mat. The crowd roared over her epic fog-hidden quick change midway through her song. 

Demi Lovato sang a nostalgic, hard rock medley of Heart Attack, Sorry not Sorry, and Cool For the Summer. Shakira delivered a ten-minute medley of some of her iconic hits like Hips Don’t Lie, along with performances by Sabrina Carpenter, Fall Out Boy, Doja Cat, and many more. 

The most jaw-dropping performance of the night was Olivia Rodrigo’s act. The former Disney actress fresh off of her sophomore album’s release, GUTS (which racked in a whopping 60 million streams on its first day) opened singing her lead single of the record, “vampire”. Rodrigo performed on stage in a setting similar to the song’s music video (which won a VMA for Best Editing), and the crowd audibly sang along, right before the set came crashing down in fireworks. Rodrigo was led off of stage, leaving the crowd visibly confused, before going wild when Rodrigo returned singing another song off her new release, “get him back! with an army of cloning back-up dancers. It is sure to go down as another iconic performance for the books. 

Overtaking the night was none other than Taylor Swift, winning a total nine awards out of her eleven nominations, including: 

  • Video of the Year (Anti-Hero MV
  • Song of the Year (Anti-Hero)
  • Best Pop (Anti-Hero
  • Show of the Summer (The Eras Tour
  • Best Direction (Anti-Hero MV, Directed by Taylor Swift)
  • Best Cinematography (Anti-Hero MV, Cinematography by Rina Yang) 
  • Best Visual Effects (Anti-Hero MV, Visual Effects by Parliament 
  • Album of the Year (Midnights
  • Artist of the Year 

This successful night follows her exciting VMA show last year where she announced her newly VMA-winning album, Midnights, bringing her to 23 total VMAs to her name. Her wins tied her for the most VMAs won in one night, and second in lifetime VMA wins to none other than Queen B – Beyoncé. 

It is no surprise that the songwriter left the night with arms full of astronaut trophies following her massive success within the past year – Midnights being the most streamed album on Spotify in a single day, The Eras Tour racking in a massive $2.2 billion, and seemingly every day the Cruel Summer singer seems to be breaking records and topping the charts in her current renaissance. Fans are currently looking forward to her re-record of 1989 (Taylor’s Version) which is releasing October 27th, in addition to Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour concert film that will hit theaters October 13th. 

During the show, Swift was seen dancing the night away to all of the live performances, laughing with Ice Spice, hanging out with Selena Gomez, then losing, finding, and seemingly breaking her $12,000 ring, all while dressed in a reputation-coded outfit. 

Other big winners of the night were Ice Spice for Best New Artist, after an impeccable year of trending songs like Barbie Girl with Nicki Minaj for the Barbie film, that premiered in July, and Boy’s A Liar Pt. 2 with PinkPantheress. Rema & Selena Gomez brought home an award for Calm Down, Dove Cameron won the Video for Good VMA for her Breakfast music video, BLACKPINK received the award for Group of the Year, and Diddy was presented with the MTV Global Icon award by Mary J. Blige. Host of this year’s show, Nicki Minaj, teased her new album Pink Friday 2 in addition to winning an award for Best Hip-Hop. It was a big year at this Year’s MTV VMA awards!

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About the Contributor
Mary Bingham
Mary Bingham, Staff Writer
Mary is a Freshman at Mayfield this year, and is excited to be a part of  Mayfield Crier team! In addition to joining the school newspaper this year, she is also a part of the Theatre Conservatory, and is excited to see what other opportunities Mayfield has to offer. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, songwriting, reading, listening to music, watching movies and tv, and going to theme parks on days off. She hopes to try new things at Mayfield this year! 

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