NEW YORK—It is that one awards ceremony that use to have a ton of surprises and till this day still finds a way to be the water cooler conversation at work the following morning. I’m talking about the MTV Video Music Awards. Former Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello had a big night taking home several prizes including the big one for Video of the Year. This year’s ceremony was kicked off by the return of rapper Cardi B to the public spotlight since giving birth in July, but no America she was NOT performing. Yeah, I think MTV jumped the gun with those commercials noting the rapper would be opening the show with an epic performance.

Not in 2018, she was part of a skit, but it was an abysmal disappointment if you ask me. It led to an introduction of Shawn Mendes who took the stage to perform his hit “In My Blood.” Slightly somber, but a nice kick-off for the ceremony, but I’ll be honest I was expecting a bigger, more jaw-dropping opening. The rain was indeed a nice touch. It’s weird because it seems like the VMA’s are starting to lose its power when it comes to A-list musicians or maybe it’s me. Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish delivered a few jokes, and a good one involving a diss to Fifth Harmony courtesy of Camila Cabello before delivering the award for Best Hip-Hop Video to Nicki Minaj for “Chun-Li.”

“Beautiful” was performed by Best New Artist nominee Bazzi. Man, I feel so out of touch with music because I rarely listen to the radio or keep up on what’s hot and what’s not in the present. Best Pop Video was a victory for Ariana Grande for “No Tears Left To Cry.” Logic hit the stage with Ryan Tedder delivering a performance with a powerful message that caught the attention of the entire crowd at Radio City Music Hall. Man can you believe it has been over 20 years since the Backstreet Boys first hit the scene and to see them present the Moon Man for Song of the Year to Post Malone for “Rockstar.” I absolutely loved the theatrics of Nicki Minaj as she took the stage via the Oculus to perform a medley of hits from her latest album. The woman certainly knows how to give a hell of a performance in front of an audience.

Jennifer Lopez was honored with the Video Vanguard award as she performed a medley of her biggest hits including “Waiting For Tonight,” “Get on the Floor,” “Ain’t Your Mama,” “Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” “Get Right,” “All My Love,” “Jenny From the Block,” “I’m Real” and so many more. Damn, I totally forgot how many hits J-Lo has had throughout her career. Songs that I haven’t heard in years, and Lopez performed like no other; she did not miss a single step with any of those dance moves. I absolutely loved Lopez’s speech, it was authentic, real and inspirational.

People have said it before, but I will say it again Ariana Grande has some massive pipes. The girl can’t sing, she can sang, and that is a major compliment because she is in a league with the greats like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey when it comes to vocal range. The Moon Man for Artist of Year went to Camila Cabello, bit of a surprise as I thought Ariana Grande or Cardi B might claim the prize.

“Stranger Things” alum Millie Bobby Brown delivered the Best New Artist prize to Cardi B, who per usual delivered a speech as only she can. Jennifer Lopez, DJ Khaled and Cardi B won the prize for Best Collaboration for “Dinero.” Lopez seemed absolutely shocked by the win, but humbled while on stage. Childish Gambino picked up a Moon Man for Best Video With a Message for “This is America.”

The ultimate prize of the night, Video of the Year was presented by MTV darling Madonna who paid tribute to musician Aretha Franklin who died on August 16. Madonna told her tale about fighting to make it as a singer and the constant rejection she faced before making her imprint in the industry. It was moment to say the least, as we heard some things about Madonna that I didn’t even know. The prize was a victory for Camila Cabello for “Havana.”

Aerosmith closed out the ceremony performing several of their hits alongside Post Malone and it was a performance that rocked the house in a way that I never imagined. Dare I even say this; Aerosmith delivered the best performance of the entire ceremony. So the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards have come to an end, and it was a bit lackluster America. So I’m looking forward to see what surprises could be in store for 2019, because there weren’t many during this year’s show.