Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
FlourishonCampus HeroImage EdgeToEdge Concept Hero?width=719&height=464&fit=crop&auto=webp
FlourishonCampus HeroImage EdgeToEdge Concept Hero?width=398&height=256&fit=crop&auto=webp
Culture > Entertainment

A Lot Went Down at the 2023 VMA Awards! Here’s the Tea

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCNJ chapter.

Taylor Swift is the first thing that comes to mind when looking back on this year’s VMA Awards event; however, it makes sense because she added nine more VMA wins to her name, including both video and song of the year for “Anti-Hero” as well as best pop and artist of the year. This makes her just shy of the record for the most overall VMA awards in history by seven trophies—Beyoncé holds this record with 30 awards—and is almost tied for first for the most wins in one night.

Let’s not forget when Swift got caught in a wholesome moment with NSYNC—this is their first time reunited since Justin Timberlake split from the boyband in 2002—who welcomed her to the stage with her first award win of the night and a friendship bracelet. Swift was just as shocked as we were to see them back together.

“I’m not doing well pivoting from [NSYNC reunion] to [winning Best Pop],” she said. “I had your dolls…Are you doing something? What’s going to happen now? They’re going to do something and I need to know what it is. You’re pop personified and to receive this from your golden pop hands it’s too much.”

NSYNC was not alone in crashing the party. Shakira also made surprise appearance after 17 years of skipping the VMAs. She started off her arrival with a 10-minute performance, beginning with “She Wolf” before moving on to “Te Felicito” and “Hips Don’t Lie” along with a string of her other top hits. To top it off, she became the first South American artist to receive the Video Vanguard Award.

Selena Gomez made a stunning first impression at the 2023 VMAs as well, sporting a feisty red Oscar de la Renta floral dress. Her song, “Calm Down,” earned her three awards that night. On a darker note, her face broke the internet when she scrunched up her face at Chris Brown’s name being called as a nominee for the R&B category. Gomez has since responded to the virality by addressing it in her Instagram story: “I will never be a meme again. I’d rather sit still than be dragged for being myself. Much love.”

People were also quick to assume that an offstage conversation between Megan Thee Stallion and Timberlake— caught by backstage cameras—was an argument. The clip shows Stallion saying a few words in passing to Timberlake as he walked up to the stage with NSYNC. Fans gathered that Timberlake’s face appeared to show he was upset. A source from Variety debunked the rumors by revealing the actual exchange: “He said, ‘It’s so nice to meet you,’ and she said, ‘No, no this don’t count, this don’t count. We gotta meet proper.'”

All drama aside, there were a host of other notable celebrities who attended this year’s VMAs. Ice Spice, Olivia Rodrigo, Demi Levato, Doja Cat, and Jungkook were just some of the others who managed to grace us with their presence that night.

Hi! I'm Chiara and I'm an English major at TCNJ. When I'm not writing for Her Campus or frantically typing up an article for The Signal, you can find me reading, hanging out with friends, or curling up with my cat and watching a movie.