The stage was set with a giant rainbow as Swift and her buds were sunbathing. Swift performed with Todrick Hall and RuPaul’s Drag Race stars, who also were in the “You Need to Calm Down” video, also appearing on stage, according to People. And, So You Think You Can Dance alum Alex Wong also appeared in the performance.
Swift opened the show with a performance of her song “You Need to Calm Down, dressed in a gold metallic bustier and blue shimmering tight shorts. She then put on a blazer to match and grabbed her guitar, with “Lover” written across it. Swift then performed her song “Lover” for the crowd, with Gigi Hadid and Camila Cabello swaying. Queen Latifah had a huge smile on her face as she watched from the audience. And, Nev Schulman from MTV’s Catfish shared a kiss with his wife, who was singing along to the performance.
Swift’s song “You Need to Calm Down” is in support of the LGBTQ community and during the performance, the words “Equality Act” were displayed during her VMAs set. According to Fox News, this was a reference to Swift’s support of the Equality Act legislation that prevents discrimination, based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Ahead of the awards show, Swift appeared on Good Morning America to promote the performance, along with her new album “Lover”. During her performance, she let it slip that she was this year’s VMAs opening act. Swift revealed, “I’m opening the show, so that’s exciting. I don’t know if I was supposed to say that, actually. But I’ve done it now, so can’t take it back.” Swift also dished on how she feels being nominated for 10 awards tonight. Swift said, “I’m so excited because the video for ‘You Need to Calm Down,’ the video for ‘ME!,’ I wrote the treatment for those videos, so it’s really exciting to be nominated. The fans have been so wonderful and like, it’s just … working with my friends, working with people that I love so much in the ‘Calm Down’ video especially, it was just like … seeing that get nominated was really a proud moment for me.”
This year’s awards show marks the 10th anniversary of the infamous Kanye West, “I’mma let you finish” interruption. At the VMAs, West interrupted Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video for her song “You Belong with Me”, praising Beyonce instead. Beyonce looked mortified in the crowd and later used her win to let Swift take the stage for a second attempt at an acceptance speech that night.
In addition to Swift performing tonight, some of the other performers slated to take the stage included Missy Elliott, Shawn Mendes, the Jonas Brothers, Camila Cabello, and Miley Cyrus.