Watch The Top Moments From The 2018 MTV Video Music Awards

Live from New York, it's Cardi B and beyond

August 20, 2018
Jennifer Lopez

Theo Wargo / Staff

Jenny is bringing a "Moon Person" back to the block.

Jennifer Lopez won the biggest award of the night at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, as her career was celebrated with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award

Back in New York City at Radio City Music Hall, the icon was honored for two decades of stunning visuals, amazing performances, and just general J.Lo-ness.

It was a big night for the VMAs with secret performances, a Grande-sized empowerment, and Cardi B getting back to making "money moves". Here are the biggest moments from the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards.

Pre-Show Red Carpet

In between interviews with Camila Cabello and Logic, Bazzi crooned on top of the marquee of Radio City Music Hall, solo singing “Mine”. Cardi B picked up her first award for “Song Of The Summer”, and Bryce Vine caught a vibe with “Drew Barrymore”.

Related: Watch Ariana Grande Address Rumors And Sing Hits In ‘Carpool Karaoke’

The ghost of VMAs past were on the carpet too! No, not the reunited cast of The Hills, we're talking about the Backstreet Boys. The boys slayed in their return to the VMAs, twenty years after their first VMA performance and looking brand new.

A Stormy Open

"What's popping everybody. Welcome to New York" announced Cardi B as the show opened. "The Empress" arrived appearing to be breastfeeding her new baby, but it was a "Moon Person" wrapped in a blanket. Also, when Cardi calls herself "The Empress", as she did, is that a shot at Queen Nicki Minaj? Asking for a friend, a very worried friend.

Shawn Mendes was the first performer of the night in a sleeveless white shirt, rocking through "In My Blood" as Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande grooved along. Lightning flickered on the screen behind him, and then rain poured down on the stage, or water from the roof, or whatever - it's a wet Shawn Mendes.

Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish were not the hosts, but they should have been. The pair were the first presenters and roasted DJ Khaled, Fifth Harmony, President Trump, and anyone in the room with a face tattoo. We were off!

A Message From Logic

"WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS" read the shirt of all the children that Logic led onto the stage during his performance of "One Day" with Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic. They were then reunited with family members, holding candles as the artist wore a "**** THE WALL" shirt. Once again, Logic used his platform for an important message. 

@logic & @ryantedder’s #VMA performance of “One Day” has me crying. So incredibly moving. ------

A post shared by Video Music Awards (@vmas) on

Nicki Is The Queen

The Queen ruled from a throne away from the awards. She started with "Majesty", before launching into the audio assault that is "Barbie Dreams" before a packed room of worshipers. Nobody was safe in Nicki's savage season. She listed off MCs who couldn't measure up, she took a not-so-veiled shot at Travis Scott earlier in the evening, and she ended this mini-concert with the "Fefe" lyric, "I don't really want no friends." That's a motto fit for a Queen.

J.Lo Flies By The Block

Jennifer Lopez showed why she's an icon with a medley of bangers, and enough dancing with shirtless backup dancers to make A-Rod blush. The girl hit em' all with help from DJ Khaled and Ja Rule! R-U-L-E! Lopez flew through the crowd, brought out the 6 train, and got the crowd so hyped that poor Shawn Mendes couldn't get anyone to pay attention as he gave her the award. "It has been an incredible journey of dreaming my wildest dreams, and then watching them come true" Lopez said between breaths while accepting the Video Vanguard Award. Through tears she said to the fans, "You guys have won me over forever."

You can watch her full performance here.

God Is A Woman

Ariana Grande hit a religious tone and an amazing high note during her Last Supper-like "God Is A Woman" performance. The empowering assembly of women on stage were joined by Grande's aunt, mom, and grandmother for a sweet ending to the otherwise sexy set. Grande's performance was fantastic, but her friendship with Nicki Minaj and her fiancé-ing with Pete Davidson won the night.

Travis Scott

Kylie Jenner bopped along as Travis Scott presided over a mosh pit and a giant statue of his head. ASTROWORLD was live as the rapper turned Radio City Music Hall into an amusement park and shouted, "rest in peace the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin".

The Queen Of Pop For The Queen Of Soul

After a story about an early audition, Madonna paid tribute to Aretha Franklin. Her story of singing "Natural Woman" drenched in "nerve sweat"  led to her journey as a singer. "None of this could have happened, without our lady of soul" she said. "I want to thank you Aretha, for empowering all of us. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Long live the queen."

She then awarded the Video Of The Year award to Camila Cabello, who was a big winner throughout the evening, looking more and more like the Princess Of Pop with every award. 


Post Malone, 21 Savage, and an electric guitar played rockstars, until Aerosmith showed up in real rockstar style - late and loud. The band put the guitar through the amp, lit the fires, and closed the VMAs with "Toys In The Attic". 

Other Moments You Might Have Missed

Nicki Minaj went savage in her acceptance speech, Ariana Grande thanked Pete Davidson "for existing", and Cardi B had a message for the haters. "I had the baby, I carried the baby, and now I'm still winning awards" Cardi B smiled as she accepted her Best New Artist Award.

Thanks for a nice little night VMAs, we'll see you next year.