Camila Cabello opened for Taylor Swift, the center of the pop universe, at Hard Rock Stadium this past Saturday, but just two nights later, Cabello took up the mantle, bringing home top honors at the 2018 Video Music Awards. She was nominated for five (now gender-neutral) Moon Person statuettes and won two, for Artist of the Year and Video of the Year for "Havana."
But the night wasn't all smooth sailing for the Cuban-American ex-member of Fifth Harmony. Her first appearance on the telecast came after Tiffany Haddish mangled the singer's name — a reminder of Cabello's relative newcomer status. The comedian also alluded to Cabello's less-than-amicable split from her former group.
Cabello — who spent the past few days with her family in Miami proselytizing for the many virtues of croquetas on Instagram — fared much better than Drake, whose Magic City-filmed video for "God's Plan" was snubbed in all five categories for which it was nominated, including Best Video With a Message, Best Hip-Hop, and Video of the Year. Drake didn't even bother to show up, which usually assures getting shut out at MTV's fan-driven awards show.
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The main draw of the night — besides appearances by chart-toppers such as Cardi B, Ariana Grande, Travis Scott, and Post Malone — was Jennifer Lopez's performance
DJ Khaled, who during most of the telecast sat in the audience with his wife and overexposed 1-year-old son
Surprisingly, there was no mention of the late XXXTentacion despite ample airtime given to many of his young peers from the hip-hop world. Ditto for Florida boy Tom Petty, but maybe it was for the best. Travis Scott's tribute to Aretha Franklin — thrown in at the end of his performance and immediately before touting his number one album Astroworld — fell flat. Later, Madonna launched into an extended monologue that was purportedly a tribute to the Queen of Soul but instead was about herself. It recounted how she sang "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" at an audition when she was a struggling artist. Avicii earned a brief mention from Rita Ora, with whom the late DJ won a posthumous award for Best Dance Video for their track “Lonely Together.”
It was a great night for Miami, a terrible night for memorials, and a characteristically oddball night for music and fashion, as exemplified by the night's closing performance: Post Malone singing a duet with Aerosmith on "Dream On" and "Toys in the Attic" after rapping "Rockstar" in a white suit with giant pink, yellow, and blue smiley faces on it. Clearly, nothing is sacred at the VMAs, and for