2023 VMAs Performances Ranked From Worst to Greatest

2023 VMAs Performances Ranked From Worst to Best


What soared and what bored.

The 2023 MTV Video Music Awards took over the Prudential Heart in Newark, New Jersey on Tuesday (Sept. 12) night time.

The present – which is able to flip 40 subsequent 12 months – is reliably one of many largest music occasions of the 12 months, and the 2023 VMAs held their weight as regards to the MTV staple’s storied previous.

At the beginning, iconic boy band *NSYNC — Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass and Chris Kirkpatrick — reunited on stage to current the VMA for greatest pop, which they handed off to Eras Tour juggernaut Taylor Swift. Swift appeared effectively satisfied to obtain a Moon Particular person trophy from the pop royals (“to receive this from your golden pop hands is really too much” she famous). Afterward, she ended up strolling away with the night time’s most prestigious award for video of the 12 months, for her self-directed “Anti-Hero.”

However because it tends to go at awards reveals nowadays, performances took the highlight much more than awards and speeches. And this VMAs had a whole lot of dwell music. Two collaborations noticed their dwell TV debut (one from Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, the opposite from TOMORROW X TOGETHER and Anitta), whereas #HipHop50 was feted as soon as extra this 12 months with a legend-stuffed run-through of the style’s previous. Plus, Olivia Rodrigo had a enjoyable fake-out second; Shakira killed a career-spanning medley; Stray Children flaunted choreography with laser precision; and Demi Lovato rocked the hell out.

It was an extended night time crammed with a ton of performances – and when you will have a virtually four-hour present with effectively over a dozen units, some are going to face out greater than others. From our least favourite to our choose for the night’s greatest, listed below are the perfect 2023 VMAs performances, ranked.

  • Fall Out Boy, “We Didn’t Start the Fire”

    Whereas Patrick Stump definitely pulled off a convincing cross between David Byrne’s massive swimsuit and Torgo from Manos: The Arms of Destiny, Fall Out Boy didn’t fairly rock the VMAs with their replace on the Billy Joel hit. It wasn’t actually their fault – FOB was delivering a distant efficiency beamed into the printed, and people out-of-venue performances are likely to fall a bit flat, which was definitely the case right here. True to the title of the tune, they didn’t begin the hearth on the 2023 VMAs.

  • Kelsea Ballerini, “Penthouse”

    Kelsea Ballerini – performing exterior the Prudential Heart – sounded nice whereas singing “Penthouse,” and the way in which the gang sang the phrases of the ballad again to her felt poignant. However this efficiency was a sufferer of the present’s runtime. Coming in at 11:25pm ET – nearly a half hour after the present was speculated to have ended – a ballad simply couldn’t maintain issues from dragging.

  • Lil Wayne, “Uproar” & “Kat Food”

    Current Billboard cowl star Lil Wayne – sporting a black-and-white-striped outfit that dropped at thoughts Robin Thicke throughout that notorious VMAs efficiency with Miley Cyrus a decade in the past – opened the present with “Uproar” from Tha Carter V and new single “Kat Food.” Twas a stable exhibiting from an simple legend, however hardly the cat’s meow.

  • Maneskin, “Honey (Are You Coming?)”

    Måneskin frontman Damiano David, shirtless and sporting a kilt, supplied the Italian rockers with a novel approach to kick off their toothy efficiency. At the beginning of the tune, we acquired to observe a dwell feed from a hand-held digital camera he was toting as he prowled by means of the gang. When he did hit the stage, he earned a blown kiss from Taylor Swift. Final 12 months’s VMAs set from them was stronger, however they’re definitely one of the crucial entertaining rock acts touring nowadays.

  • Diddy, medley

    Recipient of the VMAs international icon award, Diddy – flashy as at all times in a lush purple swimsuit – delivered a medley (a Diddy Soiled Medley, if you’ll) of hits that included classics like “I’ll Be Missing You,” “Bad Boy for Life” and “All About the Benjamins.” Diddy nonetheless dances with the joy and bounce of that child whose strikes acquired him solid in music movies again when he was an unknown, and visitor spots from Yung Miami and Keyshia Cole (who introduced a considerable vocal showcase) helped maintain it contemporary. Diddy’s son, King Combs, made positive it was a household affair, with the youthful Combs rapping Ma$e’s verse on Biggie’s immortal “Mo Money, Mo Problems.” The 2 clearly fed off one another’s vitality, thrilled to be sharing the stage collectively.

  • Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion, “Bongos”

    The “WAP” collaborators reunited to offer Prudential Heart the dwell debut of their newest observe collectively, “Bongos.” The island-themed efficiency had – as you’d anticipate – bongos aplenty, and Megan as soon as once more demonstrated that few rappers can twerk as easy as her.

  • Nicki Minaj, “Last Time I Saw You” & new tune

    Along with emceeing the 2023 VMAs, Minaj reminded VMA viewers she’s greater than one of many best rappers of the twenty first century – she’s a reasonably rattling nice singer, too. The Alpha Barb sang “Last Time I Saw You” set in opposition to moody ‘80s lighting earlier than unleashing her internal Roman to tease a part of an unnamed observe from the upcoming Pink Friday 2 album.

  • TOMORROW X TOGETHER and Anitta, “Back for More”

    TXT and Anitta provided up the world debut of the collab “Back for More” on the 2023 VMAs. The observe is a slick, lush slice of R&B-tinged pop from the boy band, with a favela funk taste courtesy the Brazilian star. Not solely does the musical pairing work, however Anitta’s voice and TXT’s multi-layered harmonies mix collectively surprisingly effectively.

  • Metro Boomin, Future, Swae Lee, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and NAV, “Superhero (Heroes and Villains)” & “Calling”

    When Metro Boomin hit the VMAs stage, he wasn’t simply hovering over his turntables – he was floating over your entire stage. His efficiency featured Future, Swae Lee, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and NAV, who joined him on a smoky stage that was designed to appear to be a secret underground headquarters. The BPMs have been chill, however the visuals and the onstage chemistry stored the vitality excessive.

  • Olivia Rodrigo, “Vampire” & “Get Him Back!”

    Seated in a misty forest, Olivia crooned the opening of her Billboard Sizzling 100 No. 1 hit “Vampire” earlier than feigning a set catastrophe – she even acquired a stagehand to usher her offstage dramatically – that helped her segue right into a spirited “Get Him Back!” with severe Convey It On vibes.

  • Karol G, “Oki Doki” & “Ta OK”

    Karol G – rocking a pink fishnet leotard — and her dancers introduced an irrepressible vitality to the reggaeton pulse of her “Oki Doki” and her portion of the collab “Tá OK,” reminding followers why she’s grow to be an unstoppable drive in Latin music — and exhibiting the uninitiated why she’s a expertise to have a good time.

  • Doja Cat, medley

    Doja Cat – whose “Paint the Town Red” at the moment guidelines the Sizzling 100 – introduced faculty marm vibes to her VMAs efficiency, the place she rapped her newest chart topper plus “Attention” and “Demons” surrounded by a troupe of devilish dancers who regarded straight out of the Suspiria remake. As at all times, Doja introduced ingenious choreography and distinctive visuals to her VMAs set.

  • Stray Children, “S-Class”

    Shortly after successful the perfect Okay-pop VMA for his or her tune “S-Class,” Stray Children carried out the award-nabbing observe. Shifting across the stage with the precision of a Swiss watch whereas flaunting fashionably ripped pants, the musically unpredictable boy band captivated — and made a case that extra awards reveals would profit by reserving them.

  • Anitta, “Used to Be” and “Funk Rave”

    Anitta gave her VMAs efficiency of “Used to Be” and “Funk Rave” the colourful colours and swagger you’d anticipate for a showcase of Brazilian funk. With neon-drenched milk crates and block occasion vibes, it was a joyous, electrical occasion you needed to be part of.

  • Demi Lovato, medley

    When Demi Lovato introduced she was unleashing an album of rock variations of earlier pop materials titled Revamped, there was no actual doubt that she might nail it – she has the voice, the hearth and the stage presence to rock the hell out. However generally a rock band simply doesn’t translate to the VMAs stage, with some veterans struggling to face out on the present. For Lovato, nonetheless, that was NOT AT ALL the case. The star and her crackling band ripped by means of “Heart Attack,” “Sorry Not Sorry” and “Cool for the Summer” and left all of it hanging out.

  • Peso Pluma, “Lady Gaga”

    Carrying a puffy black jacket-vest and sun shades regardless of the indoor setting, Peso Pluma’s trendy look belied the stripped down, natural nature of his efficiency. Backed by livid Spanish guitar strumming and brass horns, the música Mexicana star spun a story a couple of luxurious way of life on the DL. There’s a simple authenticity to his stage presence — and a casually emotive high quality in his voice — that makes you need to see and listen to extra from him. It’s no small marvel that he’s one of many style’s brightest and quickest rising stars.

  • Grandmaster Flash & the Livid 5, Slick Rick and Doug E. Contemporary, Nicki Minaj, LL Cool J, Lil Wayne & Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, medley

    Final month – which was celebrated because the fiftieth birthday of rap – noticed a slew of all-star hip-hop celebrations, and the VMAs stored the occasion going with a generations-spanning set that encompassed a ton of rap classics. To call a number of: early style pioneers Grandmaster and the Livid 5 rapped the socially aware “The Message”; Slick Rick and Doug E. Contemporary had a blast working by means of “The Show”; LL Cool J smoked the mic on “Mama Said Knock You Out”; and Minaj and Weezy demonstrated how dexterous hip-hop has gotten since then. Earlier than all of it wrapped, Darryl McDaniels — DMC of Run-D.M.C. — closed it out with a “Walk This Way” group rap/singalong.

  • Shakira, Video Vanguard Award Medley

    The Latin pop icon demonstrated three vital issues throughout her career-spanning medley on the VMAs: 1) From the unstoppable “Hips Don’t Lie” to the scrumptious “Objection (Tango)” to the ferocious “She Wolf,” Shakira’s catalog boasts a number of the greatest pop songs of the final era; 2) she dances (and appears) each bit as flawless as when she shimmied onto the worldwide stage a era in the past; and three) there’s a sure soccer star on the market who made fairly a mistake. After she ripped by means of the Bizarrap collab “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53” on the VMAs, it is perhaps good for a buddy of his to test in on him.


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