Watch Taylor Swift Open 2019 VMAs with Pair of 'Lover' Singles - Rolling Stone
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Watch Taylor Swift Open 2019 VMAs with ‘You Need to Calm Down,’ ‘Lover’

Swift launched the show with exhilarating takes on Lover at this year’s ceremony

Taylor Swift performed the two most recent singles off her seventh album Lover at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards: “You Need to Calm Down” and “Lover.” Swift is nominated for 12 awards at this year’s ceremony.

Swift opened the performance on a lawn chair alongside Todrick Hall doing a slightly reimagined, more rock-centric version of “You Need to Calm Down.” Much of the video’s cast joined her onstage, including the RuPaul’s Drag Race stars who portrayed various pop stars like Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande in the clip. The superstar then pivoted to “Lover,” where she owned the stage solo with her pink guitar while the audience swayed to the single. The stage lit up with blue lights while a giant moon hovered over her.

The singer-songwriter is nominated for 12 awards at this year’s Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year and Song of the Year for “You Need to Calm Down.” Her most recently won Best Collaboration in 2017 for “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” with Zayn.

Swift released Lover on Friday. The album’s launch came shortly after she revealed that she would re-record her first six albums following the purchase of her masters by Scooter Braun and his company Ithaca Holdings. “I knew [Scott Borchetta] would sell my music; I knew he would do that. I couldn’t believe who he sold it to, because we’ve had endless conversations about Scooter Braun. And he has 300 million reasons to conveniently forget those conversations,” Swift told CBS Sunday Morning. Swift had been signed to Borchetta’s label Big Machine for 13 years. Her contract expired in 2018, when Swift decided to sign with Republic Records while Big Machine retained the rights to her masters.

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