Best of the Night: Beyoncé
The 2016 VMAs were Rihanna's to own, but Beyoncé had other ideas. For 15 glorious minutes, she staged a Lemonade medley that doubled as a feminist pop spectacle for the ages. She began in full art-diva mode, standing stock still in a white cape and funereal hat. As "Pray You Catch Me" began, 16 dancers flanked her in a Guggenheim-worthy tableau; then, in a clear nod to Black Lives Matter, they gradually fell to the stage in bursts of red light. The mood lightened but Bey's fierceness only intensified during the reggae-tinged "Hold Up," as she and her crew began a long trek through an awed crowd. A triumphant "Sorry" led into a blaring "Don't Hurt Yourself" in which Beyoncé tore into the song's defiant taunts to an unfaithful spouse. "If y'all came to slay, sing along with me," Bey told the audience at the start of an anthemic "Formation." Her dancers arrayed around her in elaborate Busby Berkeley patterns, culminating in an enormous female symbol. Beyoncé's act of taking a bat to the camera at the end of "Hold Up" was badass but superfluous – she had already smashed up an otherwise staid night.