Some of the awards at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards, which were presented on Tuesday (Sept. 12) at Prudential Center in Newark. N.J., were entirely predictable. Taylor Swift’s sweep, including video of the year, song of the year, album of the year and artist of the year, was hardly a surprise, given the year she has had.

“Anti-Hero” logged eight weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100, setting a new personal best for Swift; Midnights (a 2022 release) and Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) became her 11th and 12th No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200; and her The Eras stadium tour was a triumph.

Swift even beat the mighty Beyoncé in three categories – artist of the year, album of the year and show of the summer. Beyoncé remains the artist with the most career VMAs (30, counting Destiny’s Child and The Carters). With her nine awards this year, Swift zoomed into second place on the all-time winners list, with 23. Beyoncé added no wins to her tally this year.

Swift wasn’t the only artist whose VMA wins were predictable. Who could be surprised that Nicki Minaj, who served as emcee for the show, won in best hip-hop for her No. 1 Hot 100 smash “Super Freaky Girl”? She had won four times previously in the category – more than anyone else.

SZA’s win for best R&B for “Shirt” was also expected, given the fact that her SOS album topped the Billboard 200 for 10 weeks in late 2022 and early 2023. Rema & Selena Gomez’s win in the new best Afrobeats category for “Calm Down” was also a lock. The song climbed as high as No. 3 on the Hot 100.

But the show also included a few genuine snubs and surprises. Take a look.

Paul Grein
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