John Travolta presented Taylor Swift with the award for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards on Monday night, for her pro-LGBTQ video “You Need To Calm Down.” At least, that’s what was supposed to happen.
When Travolta and his co-presenter Queen Latifah announced Swift’s name, the VMA stage at the Prudential Center was rushed by not only Swift, but her entire coterie of “You Need To Calm Down” celebrity co-stars, including a slew of drag queens. One of them, Jade Jolie, happens to be a Taylor Swift impersonator. She was in Swift drag that night. Travolta saw her first. You can guess the rest:
John Travolta mistaking Jade Jolie for Taylor Swift. 👏DRAG 👏RACE 👏EXCELLENCE pic.twitter.com/zVLgsbHhD7
— Joey Nolfi (@joeynolfi) August 27, 2019
In an interview with Hot 93.3 in Dallas-Fort Worth, Travolta tried to explain away the situation, saying that he and Swift have been friends for years.
“She’s been so good to my daughter and my wife,” said Travolta, bringing up going to her concerts. “I’ve written her notes, and she’s written back.”
Travolta went on to say that there were too many people who bombarded the stage on Monday night, and that he struggled to find Taylor in the crowd. His mistaking Jade Jolie for Swift was a “misinterpretation,” he said… although, he then imagined what would’ve happened if he had doubled down on his mistake.
“I sometimes fantasize: what if I had given the award to [Jolie]?” he said, laughing. “That would have been awesome! I should’ve just gone all the way with it.”
This isn’t the first time Travolta has blundered as an award show presenter: He famously mispronounced Idina Menzel’s name as “Adele Dazeem” at the 2014 Oscars when presenting her performance of Frozen‘s “Let It Go.” But Travolta viewed his gaffes with a certain galaxy-brained optimism.
“We’re in pretty good shape on the day, any kind of day, when that kind of thing can make headlines,” Travolta told Hot 93.3. Anything to distract us from the horrors and inequalities of our current news cycle!