When we heard that Miley Cyrus — yes, the same girl who twerked her way to infamy at the VMAs in 2013 — was hosting this year’s awards, we were warned that “there’s a chance for anything [to happen].” And the run-up to the show certainly teased the raucous event to come for the 2015 VMAs, complete with an ominously prophetic naked Cyrus selfie,
In retrospect, though, we’re pretty sure even the folks at MTV didn’t expect so many provocative moments (or maybe this was exactly what they were expecting): from Nicki Minaj throwing shade at Miley, and Justin Bieber breaking into tears post-performance to Kanye West announcing his 2020 presidency bid, there were plenty of reasons to gawk and tweet. Whether there were many quality musical moments, of course, is another topic altogether.
In any event, below we’ve highlighted 20 of the most memorable happenings at this year’s show. From the wild and bespectacled, to the just plain weird, if you missed out on the action, here’s an easy way to catch up on the ceremony that became a social media sensation.
Kanye announces that he’s running for president. (Yes, we’re serious.)
After relating to the struggles of millenials, Kanye talked about teaching kids to believe in themselves, and how it isn’t about him, but “people who believe in ideas.” Then the big reveal: “I have decided in 2020 to run for president.” Yes, that’s a thing now. (read his full speech here)
Taylor Swift debuts her somewhat controversial new music video for Wildest Dreams.
Well, T-Swift has now fulfilled her duties of recognizing the African safari. However, as many noted, while the video is cinematically gorgeous and features lions and romance, there are no black people in her African video.
Britney presenting (in a super-tight dress)
It’s good to see the 35-year-old diva on the national stage, and she looks great — but her jokes could use a little bit of help in the timing department.
Nicki Minaj brings Taylor Swift out for collaboration
While Miley was the host, the Shake It Off star needed her share of the limelight throughout the show too. After Minaj had previously called out Swift for getting a video of the year nom over her, the duo came together for Minaj’s The Night is Still Young and a teaser of Swift’s Bad Blood. The performance ended with a somewhat cringe-worthy hug.
Justin Bieber’s two new EDM-laced, electropop jams
Bieber’s back, guys, and the 21-year-old impressed with two club bangers: Where Are You Now and the new single What Do You Mean? We also saw him float upwards toward the ceiling and strut some dance moves.
Uptown Funk wins Best male video, Mark Ronson’s head-swaying dance
While Bruno Mars spewed some thank yous to his fans, producer (and primary musician) Ronson just stood back, bobbing his head. He probably should’ve spoken — it was his song, after all — but we’re down with his chill attitude about one of the biggest songs of the year.
Pitch Perfect‘s Rebel Wilson’s police stripper bit
There’s controversial — and then there’s simply odd. Presenting the award for Best Hip-Hop video, Wilson told the audience “I know a lot of people have problems with the police, but I hate police strippers.” Then, after stripping off her police uniform to reveal a F-ck Tha Stripper Police shirt, she said “I hired a police stripper for my grandmother’s 80th and he wouldn’t even feel her up. I hate this injustice, hence the shirt.” Wilson also performed a skit as part of the presentation.
Taylor wins Video of the Year for Bad Blood (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
Swift for the win, which is probably the least surprising event of the night. That said, the Joseph Kahn-produced sci-fi adventure is well done. Judge for yourself above.
Nicki Minaj gives a shout-out to her pastor after winning Best Hip Hop video for Anaconda … then continues her beef with Miley
“Now back to this b-tch who had a lot to say to me in the press the other day,” Minaj scoffed. “Miley what’s good?”
Keep going to the next page, we swear it gets wilder — including Miley’s infamous clothing “malfunction.”