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2023 MTV Video Music Awards Recap

Image of Nicki Minaj wearing a short, red and black kimono Concerts

The 2023 MTV VMA show was one for the books, with Barbz thrilled by Nicki Minaj’s return to hosting for the second year in a row. Along with performing the hit single, “Last Time I Saw You,” Minaj surprised audiences with the debut of “Big Difference” an unreleased track also from her upcoming album, Pink Friday 2.

Taylor Swift led the pack winning nine awards that night and was star-struck when accepting the Best Pop award from reunited boy band NSYNC. Swift received eleven nominations, followed by SZA with eight, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, Doja Cat as well as Olivia Rodrigo and Blackpink with six nominations each.

Rodrigo won Best Editing for her “vampire” music video and did a powerful rendition of the popular track along with “get him back!” Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion made the audience go wild with an electrifying duet of their new hit “Bongos,” and the party kept going with performances from Maneskin, Lil Wayne, Peso Pluma and more. Read on for highlights of the winners who won big at the 2023 MTV VMAs.

It’s A Swiftie World

Taylor Swift truly stole the show by bringing home nine awards at last night’s MTV VMAs: 

  • Video of the Year
  • Artist of the Year 
  • Song of the Year (“Anti-Hero”)
  • Album of the Year (Midnights)
  • Best Pop 
  • Show of the Summer
  • Best Direction
  • Best Cinematography  
  • Best Visual Effects   

While only one away from breaking a single-night record for most awards won, the “Anti-Hero” singer became the first artist in VMA history to win back-to-back awards for Video of the Year (“Anti-Hero”). She previously won the titles for “Bad Blood” in 2015, “You Need to Calm Down” in 2019 and “All Too Well: The Short Film” in 2022. 

Swift also snagged the most votes for Show of the Summer, settling the debate on which of the powerhouses between her and Beyonce would claim the title. Get your Taylor Swift tickets and catch this superstar on The Eras tour with Sabrina Carpenter, who performed at the VMAs pre-show.

Artist of the Year: Taylor Swift “Anti-Hero”

For the first time since the category’s creation, all of the nominees for Artist of the Year were women. While Taylor Swift may have taken this year’s award, the other nominees including Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj and Karol G have made significant contributions to music and pop culture and took home other awards for the evening.

Best New Artist: Ice Spice

The Bronx native beat out the other nominees including GloRilla, Peso Pluma and Reneé Rapp to take the award for Best New Artist. Since making her breakout debut in 2022 with “Munch (Feelin’ U),” Ice Spice has collaborated with Minaj on popular songs like “Princess Diana” and “Barbie World” (with Aqua). The young rapper was also featured on Swift’s remix of “Karma.” Catch this ground-breaking new artist live on Doja Cat’s The Scarlet Tour, along with Doechii.

Best Collab: Karol G, Shakira “TQG”

The two Colombian superstars gave a stirring acceptance speech in Spanish after winning Best Collaboration for “TQG.” The duo proclaimed their pride and love for their home country to joyful applause from the crowd. “TQG” became Karol G’s highest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100 and in 2023, the singer became the first woman to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with a Spanish-language album.

Best Hip-Hop: Nicki Minaj “Super Freaky Girl”

Minaj proved again why she holds the title of “Queen of Rap” after receiving the Best Hip-Hop award for her single “Super Freaky Girl.” The song was released as a promotional track for her upcoming album Pink Friday 2, the sequel to Pink Friday. The other nominees included well-known hip-hop artists and rappers like Lil Wayne, Cardi B and Drake, along with newcomers like Lil Uzi Vert and GloRilla.

Best Latin: Anitta “Funk Rave”

“Funk Rave” helped Anitta to win the Best Latin Award, surpassing other contenders like Shakira, Grupo Frontera, Karol G and Peso Pluma. The singer from Brazil fired things up with her hits “Used to Be” and “Funk Rave” while accompanied by dancers and even sang an unreleased song, “Grip” from her future funk album, which she teased listeners about at the 2023 Met Gala. Anitta also joined Tomorrow x Together that night for a rousing rendition of their song “Back for More.” 

Notable Mentions

Video Vanguard Award: Shakira

Shakira received the 2023 Video Vanguard Award, previously granted to the show’s host, Nicki Minaj in 2022. The multi-Grammy Award winner is the first South American artist to receive the award, which honors recording artists and music video directors who have made outstanding contributions to music video and pop culture. With her first performance at the show since 2006, Shakira sent the crowd wild with her medley of “She Wolf,” “Whenever, Wherever,” “Hips Don’t Lie” and other popular hits.

2023 has been a busy year for the Colombian superstar. From the January debut of her collab with Bizarrap on “Bzrp Music Session, Vol. 53,” which hit No. 9 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart to setting 14 Guinness World Records including the fastest Latin track to reach 100 million views on YouTube and most streamed Latin track on Spotify in a week. A trailblazer for women and one of the lead figures who helped globalize Latin music, Shakira was also honored in April as Billboard’s Latin Woman of the Year.

Global Icon Award: Diddy

Joining stars like the Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2022, Sean “Diddy” Combs accepted the Global Icon Award at the VMAs last night, with his four children taking the stage with the hip-hop artist. In a tearful speech, Combs remarked on watching MTV in his childhood and his dreams of being on the stage, before giving thanks for the success and proclaiming love for the fans.

A global success in the music industry, Combs is a hip-hop pioneer with more than 30 years of continued influence on the world. He has had two #1 albums on the Billboard 200 and five Billboard Hot 100 #1 singles, including “Mo Money Mo Problems” and “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down.” Diddy performed a medley at the 2023 MTV VMAs, marking his first performance at the show since 2005 when he and Snoop Dogg paid tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. by performing the rapper’s debut single “Juicy.” 

Video For Good: Dove Cameron “Breakfast”

Awarded to videos whose messaging addresses ongoing social and political matters, this year’s winner was Dove Cameron for “Breakfast.” Cameron was previously awarded Best New Artist at the 2022 MTV VMAs and gave a memorable performance of her queer anthem “Boyfriend” at the 2022 AMAs.

Buy 2023 Concert Tickets

Make sure to catch A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Fall Out Boy, Renee Rapp and other performers from the 2023 MTV VMAs live with concert tickets from TicketSmarter.