Rapper Lil Nas X and Justin Bieber were the big winners at MTV’s Video Music Awards (VMA) held in New York on Sunday.
Bieber, 27, returned to the VMA stage for the first time in six years and took home Moon Person statuettes for artist of the year and best pop for his single Peaches.
“Music is such an amazing outlet to be able to reach people and to be able to bring us all together,” he said, referring to the dark days of the pandemic.
Lil Nas X, 22, a gay, black musician who had a breakout hit with Old Town Road two years ago, won video of the year for his gay rights anthem Montero (Call Me By Your Name).
Alicia Keys sang Empire State of Mind outdoors against the backdrop of the New York City skyline, while Doja Cat, Ed Sheeran, Busta Rhymes, Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes and Machine Gun Kelly were among those on stage.
Sunday’s ceremony also marked the 40th anniversary of the launch of MTV as a channel dedicated to playing music videos.
Madonna, also celebrating her 40 years in the music business, opened the show in a surprise appearance.
MTV VMA WINNERS
VIDEO OF THE YEAR - Lil Nas X –Montero (Call Me By Your Name)
ARTIST OF THE YEAR - Justin Bieber
SONG OF THE YEAR - Olivia Rodrigo – Drivers License
BEST NEW ARTIST - Olivia Rodrigo
GLOBAL ICON - Foo Fighters
BEST COLLABORATION - Doja Cat ft. SZA – Kiss Me More
BEST POP - Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar, Giveon – Peaches
GROUP OF THE YEAR - BTS
BEST HIP-HOP - Travis Scott featuring Young Thug & M.I.A. – Franchise
BEST R&B - Bruno Mars, Anderson Paak, Silk Sonic – Leave The Door Open.