From Ari To J.Lo, Watch All The Performances From The 2018 VMAs

Many of music’s biggest stars have flocked to New York City for the 2018 VMAs. Taking place at Radio City Music Hall, the evening is shaping up to be one of the biggest in recent memory. Cardi B leads the pool of nominees with 12 nods. Beyonce and JAY-Z and Childish Gambino trail closely behind, while Jennifer Lopez is taking home the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. Madonna, Liam Payne and Rita Ora will take the stage as presenters tonight (August 20). But now we are turning our attention to the performers. The Backstreet Boys, Bazzi and Bryce Vine will perform at MTV’s pre-show. And things will only get bigger once the main event begins.

Shawn Mendes kicked off the evening. Performing his sweeping “In My Blood,” he raised energy on the main stage. Dressed in a simple white tank and black pants, the crooner delivered strong vocals and capped things off by simulating a rainstorm and playing along as water poured down around him. He definitely pulled out all the stops for the opening number. Logic and Ryan Tedder kept things rolling with rousing performance of “One Day.” Opening at a piano, the OneRepublic frontman highlighted his range, and his collaborator arrived with a slew of people from the back of the venue. Panic! At The Disco dazzled with “High Hopes” and Jessie Reyez and Bazzi also performed clips of some of their biggest hits to date.

Nicki Minaj traveled to New York City’s World Trade Center station for a wild medley of hits including the Labrinth and Eminem-assisted “Majesty” and “Barbie Dreams” off Queen. Dressed in a glorious pink gown over elaborately detailed armor, she performed on an all-gold stage with a crew of dancers. The shady lyrics caused quite a stir, but the crowd went wild when she capped off the set with her 6ix9ine duet, “FEFE.” She may have been less than thrilled with her album debuting at the number 2 spot, but this was evidence she is still very certainly on top of her game.

Working her way through a bevy of hits, J.Lo stole the show with a medley before accepting her Vanguard Award. Opening with “Waiting For Tonight,” the diva walked on air in a flowing gown. She then proceeded to slay the stage with intricately choreographed routines to the likes of “On The Floor,” “Get Right” and “Jenny From The Block.” Interpolating other hits, pulling off costume changes and hitting it hard, she ended her set alongside DJ Khaled on “Dinero” before receiving well-deserved applause. Delivering strong vocals and a truly incredible testament to her skills, this is by and far the best moment of the evening.

Ariana Grande came close behind and continued her Sweetener promo with a predictably stunning rendition of “God Is A Woman.” Recreating the Last Supper with a crew of women, she highlighted her gorgeous vocals on the slinky anthem. Ending with her grandma and mother on stage, she landed another memorable moment and will hopefully give her single a boost up the charts. Rising boyband PRETTYMUCH showed some love to their Ed Sheeran-penned “Summer On You,” while Hayley Kiyoko danced across the stage to a performance of “Curious” and Juice Wrld worked through a rendition of “Lucid Dream.”

Having claimed the number one record for the second week in a row, Travis Scott worked through visually thrilling medley. Brining James Blake up, the rapper made good use of the his various set pieces and boasted a particularly high-energy set. He also paid tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Breakout global star Maluma dazzled the VMAs with a predictably steamy performance. Joined by a group of dancers he worked through “Felices Los 4” and landed some particularly adorable moments dancing with Camila Cabello and her mom in the audience. Ending the show with a surprise collaboration, Post Malone and Aerosmith linked up for a star-studded surprise. If you asked at the beginning of the evening, I would not have expected to see a medley of “Rockstar” and “Dream On.” But that is exactly how the 2018 VMAs closed out the night. Surprise.

Check out who walked home with the highest honors of the night here, appreciate all the looks from the red carpet here and watch out for official footage from the sets below. We will be updating this post with the performances as they roll in so keep checking back!

Who are you most excited to see perform at the 2018 VMAs? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter!