The 2021 MTV Video Music Awards were held at the Barclays Center, New York on Saturday. Hosted by Doja Cat, the ceremony saw some of the biggest names in music receive awards for their work over the past year. “Baby” singer Justin Bieber took home awards for Artist of the Year and Best Pop while Olivia Rodrigo earned the Song of the Year award and Lil Nas X received the coveted Video of the Year award.
Bieber, who appeared at the VMAs after six years, kicked off the night with an energetic performance with with Kid LAROI.
Sporting baggy clothes and a hoodie, Bieber showed his appreciation for the awards being in-person and thanked his wife, Hailey, for supporting him.
“As we know, there’s so much going on in the world,” Bieber said during his acceptance speech after winning artist of the year. “We are in unprecedented times with COVID. Music is an amazing outlet to reach people together. We’re all here together.”
The VMAs celebrated MTV’s 40th anniversary, mixing moments between early network stars like Cyndi Lauper and show opener Madonna with high-octane performances by newer stars like Olivia Rodrigo, Lil Nas X, Camila Cabello and Chloe.
Opening the show, Madonna told the screaming crowd: “They said we wouldn’t last. But we’re still here.”
Lil Nas X won video of the year at Sundays MTV VMAs on a night that Justin Bieber triumphantly returned to the stage as a performer and as winner of the artist of the year.
“I do not take this for granted,” Lil Nas X said while accepting the night’s final award for the video for his song, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).”
Moments after Olivia Rodrigo performed her hit “good 4 u,” she collected the night’s first award for her massive hit song “Drivers License.” She later won best new artist.
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“I feel so grateful that I get to write music, make stuff that I love and call it my job,” said Rodrigo, the first-time nominee. Earlier in the awards, the singer called this the “most magical year of my life.”
Billie Eilish won the fan-voted video for good for her song “Your Power.” In her acceptance speech, she said Alicia Keys kissed her on the cheek before she spoke about the satisfaction of writing the song and women empowerment.
“We need to protect our own women at all costs,” said Eilish, while her brother-producer Finneas applauded his sister from his seat. “We need to remember that we all have power. We have to remember not to abuse it.”
The Foo Fighters performed and then accepted the Global Icon Award, an honor handed out for the first time at the VMAs. The award recognizes an artist or band “whose unparalleled career and continued impact and influence has maintained a unique level of global success in music and beyond.”
Here is a complete list of all winners at the 2021 MTV MVAs:
Video of the Year: “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” – Lil Nas X, Columbia Records
Artist of the Year: Justin Bieber
Song of the Year: “Drivers License” – Olivia Rodrigo, Geffen Records
Best New Artist: Olivia Rodrigo
Push Performance of the Year: “Drivers License” – Olivia Rodrigo, Geffen Records
Best Collaboration: “Kiss Me More” – Doja Cat ft. SZA, Kemosabe Records / RCA Records
Best Pop: “Peaches” – Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon, Def Jam
Best Hip-Hop: “Franchise” – Travis Scott ft. Young Thug & M.I.A., Cactus Jack / Epic Records
Best Alternative: “My Ex’s Best Friend” – Machine Gun Kelly ft. Blackbear, Bad Boy / Interscope Records
Best R&B: “Leave the Door Open” – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic, Aftermath Entertainment / Atlantic Records
Best K-pop: “Butter” – BTS, Bighit Music
Video For Good: “Your Power” – Billie Eilish, Darkroom / Interscope Records
Best Direction: “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” – Lil Nas X directed by: Lil Nas X and Tanu Muino, Columbia Records
Best Cinematography: “Brown Skin Girl” – Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, WizKid, Cinematography by: Benoit Soler, Malik H. Sayeed, Mohammaed Atta Ahmed, Santiago Gonzalez, Ryan Helfant, Parkwood Entertainment / Columbia Records
Best Choreography: “Treat People With Kindness” – Harry Styles, Columbia Records