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olivia rodrigo performs at the 2023 mtv vmas
olivia rodrigo performs at the 2023 mtv vmas
Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for MTV
Culture > Entertainment

Don’t Worry, Those Olivia Rodrigo Stage Mishaps Weren’t Real

Olivia Rodrigo’s highly awaited sophomore album, GUTS, was released last week, infiltrating the hearts and, more importantly, the playlists of Gen Zers. She is already showcasing her encompassing talents with her performance at the 2023 VMAs. GUTS is shaping up to be another hit in the music industry, not only as the lyrics in the album skillfully depict her emotions over past relationships, but also because her ascension in the music industry is shedding light on the importance of AAPI representation.

Guts is her take on growing up and conveying the vulnerable changes that occur as many Gen Zers exit youth and enter adulthood (I can definitely connect as a 20-year-old teenager myself.) Rodrigo expresses her opinions about the album’s creation in an interview with The Guardian, saying, “I’ve experienced a lot of emotional turmoil over having all these feelings of rage and dissatisfaction that I felt like I couldn’t express, especially in my job.” Rodrigo goes on to say “I’ve always struggled with wanting to be this perfect American girl and the reality of not feeling like that all the time.” With that said, Rodrigo’s VMA performance of “Vampire” and “Get Him Back” demonstrates how her music helps her mission to connect sonically with others.

olivia rodrigo performs at the 2023 mtv vmas
Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for MTV

So it’s safe to say Rodrigo’s performance was everything but ordinary, but I’m totally here for it. Rodrigo begins with “Vampire” as she lies down in a peaceful forest setting, but nothing remains quiet for long. Strange things begin to occur during the set, such as the lights turning out and igniting sparks. The camera angles on screen are titled (not to mention how, near the end of the performance, the camera almost accidentally hits another cameraman). The scene eventually became disorganized as the curtains began to collapse, and Rodrigo had to be taken out of the set by a member of the staff. Everyone is freaking out at this point since it appears to be a total real-time accident. Twitter also thought the same thing and began freaking out over the performance online.

Rest assured, anxious fans, that was all part of the show! After Rodrigo walked off stage, another curtain appeared, and a broken audio recording of “Good 4 U” began playing before mixing into “Get Him Back.” Rodrigo emerges from the curtains — just like the superstar she is — this time surrounded by dancers dressed in full pink outfits, complementing Rodrigo’s red two piece. The dancers also added vocals to the routine and sang along with her! The song ends in the most iconic way possible, with the main curtain finally falling and revealing a band that gives the song a passionate and emotional atmosphere!

If you’re a Rodrigo fan, you’ll recognize that the stage mishap was inspired by aspects from her music video “Vampire.” The music video shows Rodrigo performing on stage while the set gradually collapses. She continues to perform even as she becomes increasingly injured in front of the audience. She is then attempted to be escorted off the stage by a number of staff members before fleeing the auditorium.

Twitter couldn’t get enough of her performance after learning it was all part of her plan.

It’s time to dissect the “Vampire” Music video for the 100th time!

Siobhan Robinson is a member of the Her Campus national writing program. She works on the Entertainment and Culture team, covering the most recent pop culture events, trends, and entertainment releases. Previously, she worked as an Entertainment and Culture intern during the Spring 2023 semester, where she was supervised in writing breaking news verticals, live coverage of events such as the Grammys and Met Gala, and interviewing emerging Gen Z talent for Her Campus's "Next Questions" segment. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in Spring 2024 with a B.A. in Communication Studies from San Jose State University and received communication honors for completing a graduate-level course during her undergraduate studies. While in college, she was an active member of the SJSU chapter of Her Campus, serving on the executive board as Editor-In-Chief. In this role, she supervised a team of writers, senior editors, and copy editors, and assessed their articles for the site. Previously, she served as a senior editor, supervising a team of 4-5 writers, and also worked as a campus correspondent for the entire chapter. Additionally, she contributed to the school's publication magazine, Access, and became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. In her free time, Siobhan enjoys scrapbooking, hanging out with friends, going to concerts, and, of course, writing for fun! A die-hard fangirl, she loves sharing everything she knows about her favorite boy bands, even if you don't ask. If you need her, you'll likely find her binge-watching the latest K-drama or catching up on pop-culture social commentaries on YouTube.