If the 2016 MTV video music awards had to be distilled into a single word, it would be Beyoncé.

The ex files ... Kanye West spotted previous girlfriend Amber Rose in the audience.
The ex files ... Kanye West spotted previous girlfriend Amber Rose in the audience. Photograph: PA

But there was more to the ceremony than her performance of Lemonade. From unlikely shoutouts to bizarre tributes, here are our alternative awards for the VMAs 2016.

Most confetti-ed person

Ariana Grande’s mum. She sat there chewing gum and looking as if she was waiting for a bus in the snow. Except the snow was 10 tonnes of turbo-charged confetti. And the bus was Britney.

Most inappropriate shoutout

Kanye West, who – during his annual incomprehensible speech – spotted ex Amber Rose in the audience and said: “I see you, Amber. My wife is a G. Not a lot of people’s wives would let them say that; my wife is a G. We came over in the same boat; now we all in the same bed. Well, maybe different boats, but ... uh.” To which we say … uh?

Most right-on white carpet moment

Beyoncé posing before the show with her daughter, Blue Ivy; singers; models; and, most notably, the mothers of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant and Eric Garner, all black men shot by the police in the US.

Beyoncé’s perfect posse.
Beyoncé’s perfect posse. Photograph: Stephen Lovekin/REX/Shutterstock

Most overanalysed kiss

Drake and Rihanna. While presenting her with the video vanguard award, Drake blurted out: “She is someone I have been in love with since I was 22 years old.” Then he leaned in for a full Hollywood snog. Rihanna swerved, grabbed his head, and permitted a neck nuzzle. Ouch. Reports have since revealed that, after the cameras panned away, they shared a tender kiss. More news on who initiated this kiss and how long it lasted as it comes …

Most unfair programming

Putting Britney Spears on after Beyoncé, which made the princess of pop’s highly anticipated VMAs comeback look more lemon than lemonade.

Best selfie

Simone Biles and Kim Kardashian. The Olympic gymnast confessed her plan to meet Kardashian and send over some leotards before the VMAs. The result was a gold medal-winning selfie: a massive grin from Biles and a full-strength pout from Kardashian.

Kim Kardashian and Simone Biles at the VMA’s.
Kim Kardashian and Simone Biles at the VMA’s. Photograph: snapchat/kimkardashian

Cutest hug

Four of the final five US gold gymnasts and Beyoncé. As they presented her with the award for best female video, Beyoncé cuddled each giggling gymnast in turn, proving herself to be both gracious and at least three times as tall as them.

Beyoncé accepts the female video of the year award from US Olympic gymnasts Madison Kocian, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles and Laurie Hernandez.
Beyoncé accepts the female video of the year award from US Olympic gymnasts Madison Kocian, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles and Laurie Hernandez. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Most kickass Beyoncé moment

When she growled “Who the fuck do you think I am?” with a mink coat slung around her sweaty shoulders, hair cartwheeling around her head, and giant puffs of candyfloss-coloured smoke billowing around her. Meanwhile, the words “GOD IS GOD I AM NOT” flashed behind her on a screen. Then the stage set on fire.

Best response to Beyoncé being God

Ariana Grande, who responded as only an American pop star and actress can: she fell over. Then, in true Broadway style, she got up and wiped tears of pure diva-bred joy from her cheeks.

Worst Grease tribute

Nick Jonas performing Bacon at Tick Tock Diner in midtown New York. With an actual side order of bacon. It was all a bit silly.


Chitra Ramaswamy

The GuardianTramp

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