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The MTV Video Music Awards marked a night of firsts for Lady Gaga as she made her debut televised performance of “Rain on Me” alongside Ariana Grande and became the first recipient of the show’s TRICON award.
Prior to joining the stage with Grande, Gaga opened the performance by being in a living room setting with a mask on as she watched a trailer for a retro VMAs in which acts like *NSYNC and Britney Spears were set to perform. Gaga then performed a her song “911” from her Chromatica album before transitioning into “Rain on Me.”
During the performance, Gaga and Grande both donned masks dancing alongside their background dancers in a futuristic space setting. Despite sharing the stage, the singers stayed socially distanced. After Grande left the stage, Gaga returned to perform her single, “Stupid Love.”
“Celebrate yourself. Love who you are. Be kind, mask up. Be brave and braver all the time,” she said during her performance.
The performance marks Gaga’s first return to the VMAs stage since 2013, while Grande last performed in 2018. The singers scored the most nominations for the show, up for seven awards for their collaboration, “Rain On Me.” Gaga earned two solo nods for artist of the year and best quarantine performance. Gaga was also honored with the Tricon award. Meanwhile, Grande’s nods included two nominations for her Justin Bieber collaboration “Stuck with U,” including best collaboration and best music video from home.
Gaga and Grande won the award for best collaboration and best song.
“Me and Ariana are truly soul sisters. Girl, this is for us. We’ve both been through some shit…We turned our tears that felt like endless rainfalls into diamonds and I will treasure those diamonds with you forever,” Gaga said when accepting the best collaboration award. She went on to win artist of the year later in the night.
Prior to their performance, Grande took to Instagram where she expressed how “honored” she was to “share this moment” with Gaga and their fans. “Also just want to say thank you to MTV being so diligent in making this such a safe and healthy experience for all of the performers and crew involved. It’s so greatly appreciated and I can’t imagine how difficult it was to figure out,” she wrote.
The two pop queens released the song — featured on Gaga’s Chromatica album — and music video in May.
Gaga also because the first artist to receive MTV’s new TRICON Award, which recognizes a highly accomplished artist across three disciplines. The new inaugural award recognized Gaga for her talents as a global music superstar, award-winning actor and undisputed fashion icon. The singer has won 13 VMA, 11 Grammys, an Oscar and Golden Globe awards and has achieved six number one albums.
“I want you to know I failed over and over again as an actress and a musician when I was young… philanthropy because a much bigger part of my life as a star,” Gaga said when accepting the award. “I want to share this award with everybody at home tonight. Everybody at home who is their own form of a tricon.”
The singer also acknowledged that though “this has not been an easy year for a lot of people,” she feels hope after seeing a “massive trial of courage” in the world. “Just because we are separated right now and culture may feel less alive in some ways, I know a renaissance is coming, and the wrath of pop culture will inspire you,” she said. At the end of her speech she reminded everyone to “stay safe,” “speak your mind” and “wear a mask” as a “sign of respect.”
The MTV Video Music Awards aired live Sunday from New York, marking the first award show to take place amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Keke Palmer hosted and dedicated the show to the late Chadwick Boseman who passed away Friday at the age of 43. The night’s big winners include Gaga and The Weeknd, who won video of the year for “Blinding Lights.” Performers included Gaga, Grande, Miley Cyrus, BTS, Black Eyed Peas and more.
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