Would it be an awards show without at least a handful of shady moments? No, it wouldn’t — particularly when talking about the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, which never fails in housing buzzy celebs with a penchant for airing out their frustrations … with each other.
Ahead, a list of the celebs who did just that.
Targets: Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift (maybe)
Was it really shade? In an attempt to catch up Game of Thrones fans with the awards show (since the GoT season finale aired the same night), the VMAs host listed “Ed Sheeran’s friends, dead” as one of the evening’s highlights. Some Twitter users assumed the comment was made in reference to Sheeran’s friend Taylor Swift’s music video for “Look What You Made Me Do,” which contains the following dialogue: “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now” … “‘Cause she’s dead.” But Perry’s comment could have also referenced Sheeran’s VMAs performance with Lil Uzi Vert for “XO TOUR Llif3,” which contains the lyrics, “All my friends are dead.”
But when it came to Justin Bieber, Perry delivered a quick line that directly touched upon the singer’s “Despacito” mishap in which he forgot the Spanish-language song’s lyrics during a concert. “My baby knows the lyrics to ‘Despacito’ unlike some other babies I know,” she said, addressing DJ Khaled’s adorable son, Asahd.
Perry also swapped hosting duties at the end to close out the show with her single “Swish Swish,” a rumored jab at Swift.
Shortly after best new artist finalist Julia Michaels kicked off her performance of her hit single “Issues,” MTV dropped the sound and began announcing upcoming show highlights via voiceover before cutting to commercial. And Adam Levine was not about it.
“Julia Michaels gets cut off while she’s singing and Lorde gets to NOT sing her whole song,” the Maroon 5 frontman tweeted of the awards. (After tweeting about having the flu, Lorde took the stage to dance to, but not sing, her entire Melodrama track “Homemade Dynamite.”)
Target: Camila Cabello
Before performing their song “Down,” five members of Fifth Harmony took the stage, but that number quickly turned to four when the fifth member was thrown off stage. Twitter immediately took the move as a diss to former member, Camila Cabello, who left the group last year to pursue a solo career.
Target: Katy Perry (maybe)
Taylor Swift’s collaborator and friend was spotted casually eating a banana during Perry’s intro at the VMAs. But maybe he was just refueling? As girlfriend Lena Dunham (a sometimes Swift squad member) tweeted, “My boyfriend just casually eating a banana at the VMAs is a good reminder of why we’ve been at it half a decade.”
Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do”
Swift, who spent close to a year out of the spotlight, premiered her “Look What You Made Me Do” music video at the awards ceremony. While she subtly makes digs at Kanye West with her lyrics, the last minute of her video pokes fun at her reputation with cloned versions of “The Old Taylor” through the years.