Written by Giavanna Foster

The 2016 VMAs took place on August 28 at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, New York. This star-studded event featured the latest trending videos and all of the fan favorites. The list of presenters included Jimmy Fallon, Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian, Aly Raisman, Fifth Harmony, Drake, and Kim Kardashian. Here are the highlights:

Rihanna shined bright like a diamond at the VMAs this year, as she was one of the biggest winners of the evening. She opened and closed the show with a 4-part set that featured a shuffled selection of her hit songs. This list includes “Only Girl (In the World)”, “We Found Love”, and “Diamonds”. Mary J. Blige introduced Rihanna’s closing number,”Love On The Brain”. (Rihanna also performed this soulful tune at the Billboard Music Awards.)

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Also, Rihanna is this year’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award recipient. With over 64 million Twitter followers, Rihanna has made her mark in the industry as a cultural icon that impacts music, pop culture, fashion, film, and philanthropy. She is also the best-selling digital artist. 

At 28, Rihanna joins the prestigious list of Vanguard Award recipients that include Justin Timberlake, Madonna, and Britney Spears. Drake presented the Vanguard Award to Rihanna. Drake also delivered a heartfelt and respectful speech. In the speech, he said that Rihanna is “a living, breathing legend”.

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Beyoncé was another big winner at the VMAs. This year Beyoncé won 8 VMA awards and she was nominated for 11 categories. “Formation” received 6 awards that include Best Direction and Best Pop Video. It also won the Video of the Year award, and Jimmy Fallon presented this award to Beyoncé. “Hold Up” earned the VMA award for Best Female Video. Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian, and Aly Raisman presented this award.

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Adele received 8 nominations at this year’s VMAs along with well-deserved recognition on YouTube. Adele’s “Hello” received 7 nominations that include Best Editing, Best Female Video, Cinematography, and Visual Effects. “Hello” has achieved the rare milestone of being featured in the top 10 most viewed YouTube videos of all time. Right now “Hello” stands strong at #6 with 1.7 billion views on YouTube. “Hello” reached 1 billion views on YouTube in 87 days, breaking Psy’s record.

The Chainsmokers and Halsey delivered an intimate performance of “Closer”. Their show featured strategic blue lighting, keyboard players, raw vocals, and lots of confetti at the end. This song talks about spontaneity and living in the moment. “Closer” debuted at #1 on the iTunes singles chart. It joined Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and others in the top 10 iTunes charts.

Kim Kardashian announced Britney Spears and G-Eazy‘s entrance to the VMAs stage. They performed “Me, Myself & I” and “Make Me…”, which is from her new album Glory. This performance featured structured choreography and colorful lighting.

Britney thanked her fans by sending a sincere tweet after the show. “Tonight was unforgettable 💫 Thank you and thank you to my amazing fans!”, Spears tweeted. Glory is available to download on iTunes.

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Fifth Harmony presented the Best New Artist award to DNCE. Then Joe Jonas spoke on behalf of the group. Jonas mentioned the power of creating and evolving as an artist in his speech. The experience of winning Best New Artist was surreal for the group, as they later expressed gratitude towards their fans with this tweet: 

DNCE’s win proves that tenacity and faith pays off in the long run. Success is always attainable when you commit yourself to your dream goals. Don’t stop believing.