The stage at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, transformed into the music video set of “You Need to Calm Down” with Todrick Hall and RuPaul’s Drag Race stars (also in the “You Need to Calm Down” video) joining the stage. Also during the performance, So You Think You Can Dance alum Alex Wong wore pointe shoes after the backlash regarding Good Morning America co-host Lara Spencer’s comment on Prince George doing ballet.
Swift wore a custom-made Versace metallic bustier and shorts and Louboutin booties for “You Need to Calm Down” and added a bedazzled purple blazer for her “Lover” performance.
The night marked Swift’s VMAs return since 2015 when she performed her song “Bad Blood” — which took home the coveted video of the year trophy that year.
“I’m so excited because the video for ‘You Need to Calm Down,’ the video for ‘ME!,’ I wrote the treatment for those videos, so it’s really exciting to be nominated,” she told Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts on Thursday. “The fans have been so wonderful and like, it’s just … working with my friends, working with people that I love so much in the ‘Calm Down’ video especially, it was just like … seeing that get nominated was really a proud moment for me.”
Other music videos already released from the Lover album include “ME!” (costarring Panic at the Disco’s Brendon Urie) and “Lover.”
This year’s show also marks 10 years since Swift was famously interrupted on the VMAs stage by Kanye West during her acceptance speech for best female video winner for “You Belong with Me.”
The 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, hosted by Sebastian Maniscalco, airs on Monday, Aug. 26 at 8 p.m. on MTV.