Hi fellow pop-culture addicts! We know as you sat down for another Sunday night awards show — this time, the MTV VMAs! — you were, like us, expecting a few certainties. So we decided to turn it into an actual bingo game on our pop-culture news Twitter account, @FusionIsPop. Turns out, our guesses weren’t too shabby. Frankly, after Queen Beyonce's show-closing performance, we're all winners.
We actually got Bingo about 75 percent of the way into the show. So let's break down how that happened and all the squares we got to check off, in order of when they happened during the official broadcast.
Undercheek: Okay, this one happened early with — no surprise here! — Nicki Minaj’s rendition of "Anaconda," smack in the middle of the opening medley with Ariana Grande and Jessie J. Actually, Nicki's derriere leaping out of a skin-tight leotard qualifies as way more than mere undercheek. Kim K. must be mad that Nicki's butt is the new one to launch a thousand ships.
Fanbase shout-out: The VMAs depend highly on fan support online, and the pop-music sphere boasts more dedicated, cutesy-named fanbases than ever before. Katy Perry was the first to get to name-check one onstage, shouting out her army of KatyCats when she won an early nod for "Best Female Video."
Honorable Mention: The girls of Fifth Harmony, between tears, managed to directly thank their Harmonizers, too, for vaulting them to winners of the category "Artist to watch."
Anaconda joke: Miley squeezed one in during the red carpet broadcast. During the actual show, Jay Pharoah managed to get one in during his first bit onstage: something about Nicki’s “Anaconda” performance making things awkward for Drake. (Next time up, we’re going to have to make another bingo square for “requisite Drake jokes.”) Also, uh, was Pharoah essentially hosting the show? Why was this not announced beforehand?
Humble Brit: We thought Sam Smith might take this one early, but instead, the loveable ginger Ed Sheeran scooped up “Best Male Video” and accepted it with an appropriately British, self-effacing non-speech.
Honorable mention: Sam Smith got his own humble-Brit moment during a fittingly soulful-yet-modest performance of “Stay With Me.”
Becky G looking cute: Well, she's just as cute as a button wherever she goes. She repped for Cover Girl before and during the event.
Played-out club track: Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea won best pop video for “Problem,” an inescapable song of the summer. And it was a great song of the summer and everything, but now summer’s over and the song can gracefully retire without anyone crying over its disappearance.
Confused audience tweets: We were hoping to check off the “Usher’s abs” square during his Michael Jackson-esque performance, but he remained disappointingly clothed. However, when Nicki came out again (yet again!), what exactly was that whole shoulder-to-butt bounce thing they did? Did Usher sustain an actual injury from it?
Ear-piercing shrieks and complicated male hair: We checked both of these off during 5 Seconds of Summer’s live performance, one of the few instances of legit guitars and semi-rocking-out during the whole thing. At least, that was probably happening. We went deaf all the way over here, sitting in front of a computer screen.
Taylor Swift surprise face: Tay managed to keep it together during her retro-fab performance earlier in the show. She finally acted like she deserved to be there and could finally accept it, rather than doing the whole aw-shucks thing. She pulled out the surprised face for real, though, later, when her apparent new BFF Lorde won “Best Rock Video.” Actually, the camera lingered on Tay’s surprise-face for a while—AND IT WASN’T EVEN HER AWARD.
Legit tears: The VMAs boasted at least two serious cry-fests. As we played bingo along with the broadcast, we first checked off this box when the ladies of Fifth Harmony, crying, accepted their win in the “Artist to Watch” category.
But the true jadedness-melter came when Miley Cyrus was supposed to accept her award for the “Video of the Year” award for “Wrecking Ball.” Instead of hitting the stage herself, she sent up a friend who introduced himself as a homeless L.A. teen, launching into a speech bringing awareness of the plight of his peers and directing fans to Miley’s Facebook page for more information and action.
That hurt us right in the cynicism — we always criticize celebs for not using their platform for change, but then make jokes when they do. So we have to say, go Miley!
Celebs caught off-guard: You had to be watching closely, but the faces Katy Perry and Sam Smith made during Iggy Azalea’s “Black Widow” performance basically screamed “NOT IMPRESSED.”
It’s all good, though, because then Beyonce shut everything down, making everyone within a 2000-mile radius of her radiance an instant winner. Nice one, Bey!
Arielle Castillo is Fusion's culture editor, reporting on arts, music, culture, and subcultures from the streets on up. She's also a connoisseur of weird Florida, weightlifting, and cats.