The 2020 Video Music Awards started with a tribute to a superhero on Sunday night.
Host Keke Palmer acknowledged the death of “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman during the show’s opening.
The actor died last week after a four-year battle with colon cancer. He was 43.
Palmer called him “an actor whose talent and passion is a true inspiration to all the fans he touched and everyone he encountered.”
“We dedicate tonight’s show to a man whose spirit touched so many,” she said. “He is a true hero, not just onscreen, but in everything he did. His impact lives forever.”
There was also a video tribute that included the 2018 MTV Movie and TV Awards, where Boseman presented his trophy to James Shaw Jr., a real life hero who stopped a gunman at a Waffle House in Tennessee after he killed several people.
Amid the global coronavirus pandemic, live audience members were replaced by shadowy masked viewers on rooftops, on giant monitors, or, in the case of Colombian singer Maluma, people spaced apart at a drive-in (which actually turned out to be a promotion for a car maker).
The first performance of the night was The Weeknd, who performed “Blinding Lights.”
The show’s performances were held at locations all over New York City.
BTS sang their first all English language language single, “Dynamite.” Miley Cyrus gave us some “Wrecking Ball” nostalgia with her rendition of “Midnight Sky.”
The first award of the night for best collaboration went to Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande for their hit single “Rain of Me.”
Gaga accepted wearing possibly one of the most impressive masks ever seen on an awards show — and it was not her only one of the night.
She and Grande led in nominations going into the night with nine each.
Gaga was honored with the first ever Tricon Award. She said she shared the award with viewers at home, who she urged to think of three things they admired about themselves.
“This has not been an easy year for a lot of people,” the singer said.”What I see in the world is a massive triumph of courage,”
“Just because we’re separated right now and culture may feel less aline in some ways I know a renaissance is coming,” she continued. “And the wrath of pop culture will inspire you and the rage of art will empower you as it responds to hardship with its generosity and love.”