Taylor Swift was at the MTV Video Music Awards all night on Tuesday as her “Anti-Hero” won the awards.
Swift entered the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey with 11 nominations, the most of any artist vying for Moonperson trophies this year, and walked away with nine wins. She now has three more VMAs than Madonna, who has 20.
On Tuesday, Swift became the reigning champion in the Video of the Year category. She won the award last year for her “All Too Well: The Short Film” and this year for the largely self-directed music video “Anti-Hero.” She also won Artist of the Year, Best Director for Anti-Hero, Show of the Summer and Album of the Year for Midnights.
Aside from winning the awards, Swift spent the evening looking perfectly on brand, rocking the performances of all her fellow contestants, gasping with joy every time she was announced as the winner, and completely in control about their moderators to lose.
During Doja Cat’s stellar mashup performance of “Attention” / “Paint the Town Red” / “Demons,” the audience camera caught Swift leaning toward the person next to her and say emphatically, “There is film. There’s cinematography.” During Shakira’s performance, which offered a glimpse into her decades-long career in a thrilling 10 minutes, Swift’s hips couldn’t lie.
As ‘NSYNC took the stage together again to announce the pop video winner, Joey Fatone, Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Lance Bass and Chris Kirkpatrick appeared on the VMA stage and the audience camera caught the “unstoppable” Taylor Swift jumped up to her feet cheering and gasping – before she was even announced as the winner.
Bass gave the “Lover” singer some beaded friendship bracelets, a nod to her Eras tour tradition, as he presented Swift with her silver Moonperson Award for Pop Song for “Anti-Hero.” Swift praised “NSYNC” in her acceptance speech.
“I don’t feel comfortable deviating from that.” she said – first pointing at the NSYNC members and then looking at their trophy – “to that.”
“I had your dolls,” she continued, before excitedly asking the former boy band if they had anything planned together in the near future. “You’re pop personified, so getting this out of your golden pop hands is really too much.”
And as Swift accepted the Song of the Year award for “Anti-Hero” from Timbaland and Nelly Furtado, she joked, “My choice of hosts tonight reminded me a lot of Millennials.”
She went on to praise her writing partner Jack Antonoff, saying, “I’m really, really lucky to get to write songs with one of my best friends in the world.” …He’s so talented, it’s unbelievable, and I’m so happy that I’ve been making music with him since we worked on an album called “1989.”
“We will continue to work together until 2089,” she joked, adding: “Math is not math.”
Swift then described the magic of writing songs that her fans connect with.
“I’m so happy because this confirms my favorite part of my job. … And it always starts with a very isolated feeling, like a very, very specific kind of insecurity or self-hatred that I feel like I’m the only one feeling in that moment,” she said.
“But when I go on tour, a stadium sings the words to me. It gives me this very relaxing feeling that maybe we all have the same problems.”