VMAs 2021: Olivia Rodrigo and Lil Nas X triumph in a return-ish to normal
The two stars took home the night’s top awards, along with Justin Bieber, at an MTV ceremony that mostly stuck to music and away from pandemic and politics
It was a night of triumph for teen stars current (Olivia Rodrigo) and former (Justin Bieber) at the MTV Video Music Awards, in a show that strayed from the pandemic markers and political gestures that have defined most award ceremonies since early 2020.
Bieber, the teenage pop phenom of the early 2010s coming off a several year hiatus from touring, kicked off the night with a duet with 18-year-old Aussie rap phenom the Kid Laroi. Now 27 and appearing at the VMAs for the first time since 2015, Bieber took home two of the night’s top awards: artist of the year and best pop video, for Peaches, featuring Daniel Caesar and Giveon. Nominated in every category beside him, and taking home best new artist, was 18-year-old Olivia Rodrigo, whose single – and best song winner – Drivers License became the most streamed song ever in January.