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VMAs 2016

The 10 Best & Worst Moments of the 2016 MTV VMAs

From Yeezy's unexpected speech to Halsey's flat VMAs debut, check out the five moments that made our hearts soar... and the five that had us searching for the remote

1 / 10

BEST: Kanye West Being Kanye West.

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28: Kanye West performs onstage during the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden on Augu
Theo Wargo/MTV1617/Getty Images for MTV

Maybe you love Kanye; maybe you hate Kanye. At the very least, you have to admit that, when Yeezy arrived onstage at the VMAs, you had no idea what he was going to do or say, and that unpredictability was thrilling. Awards shows are monumentally staged affairs, but giving West a few minutes to allude to Taylor Swift, shout-out his ex Amber Rose in the crowd and debut a wild new video for “Fade” gave the VMAs a quickened pulse.

2 / 10

WORST: Halsey & The Chainsmokers’ VMAs Debut.

“Closer” is the No. 1 song in the country, and it’s a pretty rad single—but judging by the low-energy pairing of The Chainsmokers and Halsey on Sunday night, unfamiliar audiences wouldn’t have understood that. At least Nick Jonas’ lackluster performance was visually ambitious; Halsey and The Chainsmokers seemed to not know where to bring “Closer” except closer to every fog machine in existence.

3 / 10

BEST: Beyoncé Takes Over The Show.

What can you even say about Bey’s sprawling performance at this point? She makes every other artist look lazy by comparison. Can next year’s VMAs just be a Beyoncé concert on MTV, maybe?

4 / 10

WORST: Britney Spears Going After Bey.

Slotted immediately after Beyoncé’s dazzling Lemonade medley, Britney Spears’ much-hyped VMAs return couldn’t help but disappoint. Toss in the fact that Brit was essentially featured as much as G-Eazy—again: Britney Spears was featured as much as G-Eazy—and it’s not hard to see this set as a failure.

5 / 10

BEST: “Formation” Winning Video of the Year.

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28:  Beyonce accepts an award onstage during the 2016 MTV Music Video Awards at Madison Square Gareden
John Shearer/Getty Images for MTV.com

Hey, the correct thing won the top prize at the awards ceremony! You’d think that happens all the time, but… nope, it really doesn’t. Bey’s second video of the year was well-deserved, and came with a speech in which she hugged the members of the Final Five and dedicated the trophy to New Orleans. A great way to end a spectacular night for Beyoncé.

6 / 10

WORST: Key & Peele’s Awful Schtick.

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are funny guys; how could they faux-announcing the VMAs go so wrong? Oh, it’s because they spent their entire time clowning on social media users during a show driven by social media interactions. That’s how.

7 / 10

BEST: Rihanna’s Drake Fake-Out.

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28:  Drake presents Rihanna with the The Video Vanguard Award during the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards at
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

The four performances showed why Rihanna is an untouchable hitmaker; her curving of Drake’s affection showed why she is a queen. Drake professed his love for Rih during the Video Vanguard Award presentation before she visibly denied Drizzy a lip lock and professed how she is not performing not for herself, but for women, her hometown and her fans. Even if Drake tried to make the moment about them, Rihanna proclaimed that this VMAs belonged to her.

8 / 10

WORST: Jimmy Fallon’s Ryan Lochte Impression.

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28:  Jimmy Fallon presents the Video of the Year award during the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards at Madiso
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

We get it, Ryan Lochte’s lies are topical! But wasn’t there a less clunky way to send him up that having Jimmy Fallon run out in silver hair? Bad jokes land with a thud for good reason.

9 / 10

BEST: Desiigner On The Red Carpet, And In General.

Desiigner is a ball of energy that is too kinetic to be bound by words or a shirt. He did not perform at the VMAs, he did not win Best New Artist or any other award, but still, he had the best time out of anyone there. This was Desiigner’s first VMAs; here’s hoping he’s at the next 20 of these things.

10 / 10

WORST: Future’s Re-Heated “Commas” Performance.

Future is one of the more prolific stars in hip-hop today… so why did he perform a song, “Fuck Up Some Commas,” that is so old, he could have performed it at last year’s VMAs? Michael Phelps’ introduction was more exciting than hearing the Dirty Sprite 2 gem for the 800th time.

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Photo of the day

PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 28:  Rihanna is seen with models backstage during FENTY x PUMA by Rihanna at Hotel Salomon de Roths

Sept. 29: #FashionGoals

Rihanna hangs out backstage with the models after unveiling her new FENTY x PUMA collection on the runway of Paris Fashion Week. With flowy pastel pieces and platform sneaker boots Rih kept her promise and took PUMA to “a new place with something unpredictable and unexpected.”

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