NEW YORK—Well, it looks like MTV actually cares about music again people. The 2021 MTV Video Music Awards kicked off with a small monologue by music icon Madonna who took to the stage to introduce Justin Bieber. I was really hoping Madonna would have gone into a medley of her greatest hits on the stage, but nope. Bieber seemed very much in his element because I cannot remember the last time he appeared on stage and he didn’t miss a beat. It was nice to see the theatrics and the crowd people; it just isn’t an awards show without an audience for the musicians to feed off of that energy.

That performance was followed up by a prom themed extravaganza by Olivia Rodrigo. There is a reason you need to have an actual host who knows what they are doing. Doja Cat is a musician, she is not a host and her opening proved just that people. Jennifer Lopez presented the first award of the night for Song of the Year to Olivia Rodrigo “Driver License.” Rodrigo had a good night as she also claimed the prize for Best New Artist.

For those wondering why some of the winners were head scratchers that is what happens when you have fans voting on the outcome. Kacey Musgraves made her MTV debut with the somber tune, “Star Crossed.” Yeah, there isn’t much country on MTV now that I think about it. Taylor Swift was the first bigtime country musician to make a way on MTV and broaden that genre of music to a new audience. That performance was followed up with Twenty One Pilots taking the stage.

Cyndi Lauper presented the Moon Person for Pop Video to Justin Bieber for “Peaches.” Ed Sheeran took to the stage, followed by Lil Nas X with a performance that was indeed one of the highlights of the night when it comes to rocking the stage. The Video For Good award went to Billie Eilish. Camilla Cabello took the stage to perform a feisty and sultry rendition of her newest single, as well as a performance by hostess Doja Cat. We’ve been into the ceremony more than 90 minutes and nothing epic has transpired at this point. She turned around to give another performance that had a bit more energy to it, but nothing that wowed me to be honest people.

Artist of the Year was a victory for Justin Bieber, who I think is having a big comeback people. Best Hip-Hop Video went to Travis Scott for “Franchise.” It just seems we’re having performance after performance without much substance or energy as a result. I mean one second we have Normandi, than Chloe and with all the theatrics I still couldn’t get into the show.

When it comes to Best Collaboration the MTV Moon Person went to Doja Cat feat. Sza “Kiss Me More.” It was a nice moment and I forgot how popular that song was people. The K-Pop victory was no surprise as BTS was victorious in the race people.

Rock legends, The Foo Fighters took to the stage to perform some of their greatest hits. Alicia Keys where has this vocal powerhouse been the past few years. She took the stage with Swae Lee. She performed outside in the city of New York City and the song had a bit of a slow pace, but it is catchy. She kicked off into a slower version of her hit with Jay-Z, “Empire State of Mind.” What is with categorizing Rock as Alternative? To me they are the same category. Anyway, the VMA went to Machine Gun Kelly.

Not many surprising moments of the night, but the biggest had to be Lil Nas X winning Video of the Year for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” The singer was completely shocked with his win as he graced the stage.

Overall the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards was a massive improvement over the 2020 ceremony, but nothing stellar. Gone appears to be the days of those epic moments that everyone talked about the following day. No shock value anymore like Madonna kissing Britney or Miley Cyrus dancing provocatively with a large teddy bear. We are in new times people, that is all I can say.