The always perceptive UK newspaper The Guardian offered up this take on Sunday’s MTV VMAs:
The MTV Video Music Awards kicked off for the first time at New York’s Madison Square Garden for a night of ups and (mostly) downs that shone a light on the good and bad of pop. The show featured the usual array of show-stopping performances and shocking moments (courtesy of Kanye West), but Beyoncé emerged as the night’s real highlight, as the pop superstar played an impressive medley of songs from her album Lemonade.
Surrounded by a bevy of backup dancers and pyrotechnics, Beyoncé had the audience captivated as they sang along to every word. The singer surpassed Madonna’s record for most VMAs, and her moon man for best female video in particular was a major coup considering the strong crop of nominated artists this year – including Adele, who was a no-show for the festivities.
Kanye West, as usual, stole a hunk of the night’s attention... Although his "Fade" video left members of the audience aghast, many moments fell flat. A much-hyped appearance by Britney Spears – a spot supposed to be her comeback performance – featured very little excitement, with the singer belting out her new single "Make Me" before rapper G-Eazy took over the reins. Most of the night’s presenters – besides members of the USA’s Olympic team, such as Michael Phelps and Simone Biles – were also met with indifference.
Despite the star-studded event featuring an occasional pop spectacle, the huge anticipation which precedes the ceremony resulted in an altogether anticlimactic atmosphere.
Read the full piece here