5 artists who don't deserve their 2019 VMA awards — sorry

Dimitrios Kambouris/VMN19/Getty Images for MTVTaylor Swift receives the award for video of the year at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards on Monday.

MTV’s annual Video Music Awards ceremony is responsible for some of the most memorable pop culture moments in history, from Britney Spears dancing with a live snake to Kanye West stealing the spotlight from Taylor Swift.

But while the VMAs are known for being fun and flashy, major award shows are bound to make mistakes – even if the winners are, hypothetically, based on fans’ votes.

Here are five awards that were handed to the wrong artists, in no particular order.


“You Need to Calm Down” shouldn’t have beat “Thank U, Next” for video of the year.

Taylor Swift/Ariana Grande/YouTubeTaylor Swift recently released her seventh studio album, ‘Lover.’

Swift’s pro-LGBTQ visual for “You Need to Calm Down” deservedly won video for good. But the video – which was criticised for opportunism, and for equating Swift’s experience as a celebrity with potentially dangerous homophobia – didn’t deserve to be named video of the year, especially in a year with such strong contenders.

Most notably, Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” is less of a music video and more of a monumental moment in pop culture.


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“Señorita” likely benefited from the hype around Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello’s relationship.

Shawn Mendes/YouTubeThe video was directed by Dave Meyers.

It makes sense for a steamy duet like “Señorita” to take home the trophy for best collaboration. But considering the frustratingly still-unconfirmed romance between Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello – which culminated in a much-hyped VMAs performance that turned out to be a big tease – it’s not unreasonable to think all that publicity gave their voting numbers an undeserved boost.


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Celebrities chanted ‘make out’ and ‘kiss’ at Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello during their VMAs performance, and freaked when it turned out to be a big tease

While it was certainly packed with chemistry, the video for “Señorita” wasn’t anything terribly interesting or unique, as opposed to Lil Nas X’s cinematic “Old Town Road” or the delightful choreography in BTS’ “Boy With Luv.”


Cardi B’s “Money” was a beautiful video, but Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode” deserved best hip hop.

Cardi B/Travis Scott/YouTubeBoth videos for ‘Money’ and ‘Sicko Mode’ were released in 2018.

There are plenty of things to love about Cardi B’s striking music video for “Money” as well as her delightful acceptance speech, but she had the misfortune of going up against “Sicko Mode” – “the ‘Citizen Kane’ of Travis Scott music videos,” as described by Rolling Stone’s Charles Holmes.

“Not many music videos can reduce the chaos, hedonism and beauty of modern life into an undeniable banger,” Holmes wrote. “The ‘Sicko Mode’ visual is a monument to Texas, but more importantly the eclectic mind of ‘Astroworld’s’ primary citizen.”


Panic! At The Disco’s video for “High Hopes” was the most predictable, and most boring, option for best rock.

Panic! At The Disco/YouTubeBrendon Urie is the lead singer of Panic! At The Disco.

There’s no denying that “High Hopes” is a smash hit, but the music video is surprisingly dull, especially considering the delightfully bizarre videos in Panic! At The Disco’s repertoire.

Additionally, the other videos in this year’s best rock category were all riveting. The 1975 was most deserving of the award, having created a colourful nightmare with “Love It If We Made It.” The video gracefully navigates the treacherous balance between entertainment and important social commentary.


Taylor Swift’s video for “Me!” was more annoying than visually impressive.

Taylor Swift/YouTubeIs this a handbag commercial?

Swift’s video for “Me!” inexplicably won for best visual effects, even though every interesting effect in the video was overshadowed by its pastel-coloured saturation and hyper-cheesy concept.

A number of other nominees – including Billie Eilish’s “When the Party’s Over,” FKA Twigs’ “Cellophane,” or Grande’s “God Is a Woman” – would have been more deserving of the award.

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