7 Must-See Performances From the 2020 MTV VMAs

Layla Ilchi
·3 mins read

MTV put on an unprecedented hybrid in-person and virtual awards show for the 2020 VMAs, with performances staged across New York City.

The show, which was hosted by actress Keke Palmer, was initially scheduled to take place in Brooklyn’s Barclay Center. Of course, given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the ceremony shifted to its hybrid format.

Nevertheless, the 2020 MTV VMAs put on a show with several memorable performances from today’s biggest names, including Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, BTS, Chloe x Halle, Miley Cyrus, DaBaby, Maluma and Lady Gaga, who won the first Tricon award.

From Lady Gaga and Grande’s debut performance of their hit collaboration, “Rain on Me,” and Miley Cyrus’ homage to her “Wrecking Ball” days to DaBaby’s commentary on police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, here are seven must-see performances from the 2020 MTV VMAs.

1. Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande

One of the most anticipated performances of the night was by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande, who took the 2020 MTV VMA stage for their debut of “Rain on Me,” which won the award for song of the year, best collaboration and best cinematography.

Lady Gaga also performed a medley of songs from her new “Chromatica” album, including “Enigma,” “Chromatica II,” “911” and “Stupid Love.”

2. DaBaby

DaBaby took the 2020 MTV VMA stage to perform a medley of his hit songs, including “Peephole,” “Blind” and “Rockstar,” alongside dance group Jabbawockeez.

The rapper referenced the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality during his performance, part of which he did while handcuffed in the back of a police car. He ended the performance while rapping on top of the police car, as visuals of the city burning displayed behind him.

3. Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus is no stranger to the MTV VMA stage, most notably her risqué 2013 performance of “Blurred Lines” with Robin Thicke. This year the singer returned for a more subdued performance of her new single, “Midnight Sky,” which she sang under a changing colorful spotlight.

Cyrus ended the performance by paying homage to her 2013 music video for “Wrecking Ball,” by singing on top of an oversize disco ball.

4. BTS

Hit K-pop group BTS made their MTV VMA debut this year, performing their first all-English single, “Dynamite,” against a green screen showing different parts of New York City.

The group also won four awards during the ceremony, including best group, best pop artist, best k-pop artist and best choreography.

5. Chloe x Halle

R&B duo Chloe x Halle took the 2020 MTV VMA pre-show stage dressed in matching futuristic metallic looks by Japanese fashion designer Sho Konishi. The duo performed their hit “Ungodly Hour,” from their recently released album of the same name.

6. The Weeknd

The Weeknd opened up the 2020 MTV VMAs with a performance of “Blinding Lights” at the Edge at Hudson Yards, which is the highest observation deck in New York City.

The singer won two awards during the ceremony for video of the year and best R&B artist.

7. Maluma

Latin artist Maluma staged his 2020 MTV VMA performance of his hit song “Hawái” at Brooklyn’s Skyline Drive-In theater to an audience sitting in their cars.

Maluma went on to win the award for best Latin artist.

Read more here:

Chloe x Halle on Their New Album and Using Music for Activism

The 2020 Emmy Awards Are Going Virtual

Is Instagram the New Red Carpet?

WATCH: Model Shaun Ross Talks Diversity in the Fashion Industry

Launch Gallery: MTV VMAs 2020

Best of WWD

Sign up for WWD's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.