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It’s pretty safe to say that Doja Cat is one of the biggest icons of pop culture and music in 2021. The queen herself hosted MTV’s Video Music Awards this year — a big feat as she also helped to celebrate 40 years of MTV. Serving a variety of camp-worthy outfits as host and performer during the awards show, Doja was a major reason why the 2021 VMAs were so unforgettable.

Her performance, much like her cocoon outfit and her iconic chair hat, was one of a kind. Donning a beautifully elegant red outfit while being lifted into the air with graceful choreography and a dream-like set around her, Doja’s time on the stage was otherworldly and stunning. While her performance was really impressive, it was not what many fans were expecting to see from her during a headline year.

Doja Cat has had incredible success this year, largely due to the drop of her newest album, Planet Her. Her first single featuring SZA, “Kiss Me More,” was arguably one of the hottest songs of the summer, staying on charts for months. With features from big-name artists like The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, SZA and more, Planet Her proved that the singer is ready to take her rightful place among the stars of the music industry. Songs like “Woman,” “Get Into It (Yuh),” and “Need To Know” have circulated on social media for weeks. You can’t scroll on TikTok or Instagram for very long without hearing one of Queen Doja’s songs.

Doja Cat reigned on TikTok last year, too, when the viral dance by user @yodelinghaley to the catchy hit “Say So” stuck around for months. To wrap up 2020, Doja delivered exactly what fans were dying to see: her own performance of the fan-made dance at the 2021 New Year’s Eve show.

The VMAs are known for iconic performances by America’s favorite pop culture icons, and especially from hosts who are stars in the music industry. Other celebrities performed their fans’ faves during the show, like Miss Olivia Rodrigo’s “Good 4 U” and the power duo performance of “Stay” from Justin Bieber and The Kid LAROI. So it was surprising, to say the least, when Doja Cat didn’t take the opportunity to perform any of her most recent hits for her VMAs performance. I’m sure the audience would have loved to see the “MOOO!” singer perform one of her upbeat, catchy tunes. Instead, she opted to show her range with a memorably dramatic performance of “Been Like This” and “You Right” that I wish lasted just a little longer. Doja’s intense energy, on-point vocals and flowing movement certainly did not let us down. If anything, she solidified the fact that she can do it all. Rapping, singing, dancing, songwriting, looks, personality — Doja serves in every way imaginable.

Although we didn’t get what we expected, Queen Doja gave us memorable moments all night long. She served on the red carpet, and her looks of the night got bigger and better with every wardrobe change. Her energy as the VMAs host was infectious. She even took home an award for Best Collab with SZA for “Kiss Me More” (and rightfully so)!

Doja, we still love you! We just wanted to see you get into it, yuh. But you never disappoint, and you delivered an iconic performance (and many unforgettable outfits) at the 2021 VMAs. 

I'm Alexia (or Lexi!) and I'm a senior at UCF! I study English Literature and Editing & Publishing, and I'm also a brand designer. I love reading, Animal Crossing, Studio Ghibli movies, Ariana Grande, and my partner's dog Chloe!
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