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t-mtv-vmas-2017-best-dressed-2MTV held the 36th annual MTV Video Music Awards last night, broadcasting live from The Forum in Los Angeles by singer Katy Perry. The show jumped back and forth between light-hearted banter to deep and meaningful moments of inspiration. Known for walking the link between the profound and the profane, this years VMAs didn’t stray away from that formula. Here are some of the best and worst moments from this years award show.

One of our favorite moments was the opening performance by Kendrick Lamar. He opened the show with the hit songs “DNA” and “Humble,” but remixed them to have a more rock sound. He brought the production value of the show up with his use of lasers and pyrotechnics, including a dancer who danced while enveloped in flames. This was a performance of a true star, which was later solidified with Lamar’s VMA wins. Lamar was nominated for eight awards at the VMAs, more than any artist in any genre, and won six, including Video of the Year, for “Humble.”

Noah Cyrus, on the other hand, had a more lack-luster performance. She performed a high energy mix of her latest song, “Stay Together” while standing in front of a half-pipe of skaters. Despite all the work to put up the giant half-pipe, the background dancers, skaters, and even Cyrus didn’t take advantage of the prop. While only skating up and down the pipe in a simple fashion, one of the skaters even fell into the ramp.

Katy Perry tried her hardest as a host, but fell flat during the majority of it. Due to not being a true comedian, Perry relied on her awkwardness to get through the show and draw out laughs. Even the audience had a hard time playing along; Ellen DeGeneres was seen wincing during one of Perry’s jokes. In addition, the audience seemed disjointed from the actual award show, sitting awkwardly in a lounge area. When the camera cut to many of the celebrities attending in the audience, they appeared unmoved and unfazed by the show going on in front of them.

Lorde had an interesting interpretive dance performance. Lorde took the VMA stage despite having a horrible flu, and opted to simply dance and not lip sync along to her songs during the performance. She did so against the song “Homemade Dynamite” instead of one of her two current hit singles. The performance was gusty, but came off strange. We give her the benefit of the doubt due to her illness.

One of the more heartwarming moments during the show was Jared Leto’s tribute to Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington, who took his life in July.  “I think about his heart, which he wore on his sleeve,” said Leto. “I think about his band who were really his brothers, and I remember his voice, at one ferocious and delicate, which will live forever.” In a program filled with messages about suicide prevention, Leto’s message was heard loud and clear. In addition, Logic, accompanied by Alessia Cara and Best New Artist winner Khalid, performed his moving suicide-awareness song “1-800-273-8255” as dozens of suicide-attempt survivors stood onstage wearing matching T-shirts that said “You are not alone.”

The show didn’t shy away from making effective statements about self-acceptance as well. Cara began her performance of “Scars to Your Beautiful,” a song about body-shaming and self-acceptance, in a glamorous dress, a wig and heavy makeup; black-clad dancers quickly removed the dress and the wig as she wiped away her makeup and finished the song in ordinary black jeans and a tank top. Pink also made a statement about self-acceptance in her award speech, thanking all of those who helped make herself and her daughter feel beautiful and comfortable in their own skin.

The MTV VMAs had their moments of “what is going on” but were saved by some beautiful performances and inspiring speeches. In a time where cable TV is becoming less of a norm, the VMAs are making sure they are here to stay.

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