The 2014 MTV Video Music Awards (Aug. 24) were full of memorable moments and the performances made up most of them. Breaking it down, we had Beyonce’s flawless Vanguard performance, with a special appearance from daughter, Blue Ivy, and Nicki Minaj gyrating with an “Anaconda” among the showstoppers, while other acts played it safe, like newcomer Sam Smith and 5 Seconds of Summer.
Here’s how we ranked the performances from the big show from best to worst.
1. Beyonce: ‘Vanguard Award Medley’
There is quite possibly no stronger performer out there today than Beyonce. She looked flawless, her singing was flawless, her dancing was at its best and don’t even get us started on that body. Then after finishing her medley of songs from her most recent album “Beyonce,” she took center stage with husband Jay Z and beautiful daughter Blue Ivy to accept the legendary trophy in a moment that will live on forever in GIFs.
2. Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Jessie J: ‘Break Free’ ‘Anaconda’ ‘Bang Bang’
This opening number started with Ariana Grande playing it safe, but once Nicki Minaj entered the scene all bets were off. Butts were on display in a fierce way throughout the three-song medley, in which Minaj suffered a wardrobe malfunction when her dress ripped open scandalously in the front and she had to finish the energizing performance awkwardly holding her outfit closed. However, no pants and wardrobe malfunctions aside, all the ladies held their own on the stage.
3. Taylor Swift: ‘Shake It Off’
Taylor Swift was certainly on point for her performance this year, delivering the goods in a fun, sparkly rendition of her new single “Shake It Off.” Luckily this performance redeemed Swift after showing up in a disaster of a leotard on the red carpet.
The 2014 VMAs was clearly ladies’ night and one of the most memorable performances was when It girls Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora slayed their hit single “Black Widow” for the crowd wearing nearly matching, sequined ensembles.
5. Usher w/ Nicki Minaj: ‘She Came to Give It to You’
Finally a guy makes the list. Usher burst onto the show in a classic performance from the singer and dancer extraordinaire which even included a little action with Nicki Minaj’s butt.
6. Sam Smith: ‘Stay with Me’
The newcomer performed his single “Stay with Me,” well at the VMAs. It was simple, clean and not too memorable, that’s why it comes up in the middle of the pack.
Ok, so it’s not really fair that we are even including Maroon 5 in the performance rankings, since they only got to play half of a song to make room in the show for Beyonce’s amazing Vanguard medley, but it technically was a scheduled performance so we had to. Although frontman Adam Levine sounded amazing as usual, since we didn’t have a lot to go on, it ended up being one of our least favorites of the night.
8. 5 Seconds of Summer: ‘Amnesia’
‘While voting the Australian boy band’s performance of “Amnesia” last on the list probably won’t be popular with the teens, it was honestly an act that you forgot even happened a few minutes later. The band simply sang their song and played their instruments and while it wasn’t bad, this is the VMAs guys — step it up. It’s a time to go a little bit crazy and show America what you are made of.
What did you think of the night’s performances? Who gets your votes for best and worst?