What you didn't see at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards

The 2017 MTV Video Music Awards were filled with fiery performances (in Kendrick Lamar's case, quite literally so), poignant acceptance speeches and introductions, and the space-Katy Perry running gag that just wouldn't quit. In addition to all the mayhem you saw during the 3-hour telecast, there was also a lot happening behind the scenes that you might have missed. Here's what you didn't see at the VMAs.

Trans red carpet guests made a statement

The 2017 VMAs were peppered with resistance speeches and signals from the performers and guests. One stand-out moment: a descendant of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee condemned the rise of racism in America before introducing the late Heather Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, who spoke about working together to honor her daughter's legacy. Heyer was killed in Charlottsville, Va. when a vehicle slammed into a group gathered to protest a white nationalist rally on Aug. 12, 2017.

Another powerful moment occurred before the show, when several transgender military service members were invited to walk the VMA red carpet as a show of the network's solidarity with the troops. The group was organized and celebrated on the pre-show as a means to counter President Donald Trump's executive order banning transgender troops from serving in the armed forces. 

"It doesn't matter who you are, our nation is only safe if we have the best and brightest in our country serving in the military," said Army Capt. Jennifer Pearce (via People). "There was a time when blacks couldn't serve, women couldn't serve, where gays and lesbians couldn't serve, and there was a time when trans people couldn't serve. But today the armed forces are open to everyone regardless of your race, gender, religion, or anything else. If you're willing to serve our country and you're among the most qualified in the nation, you should be welcome in the United States armed forces just like everyone else."

Jewish celebrities wore Stars of David

Just days after Billy Joel wore a Star of David badge at a concert to take a stand against Antisemitism, several stars followed suit by sporting their own emblems on the red carpet at the VMAs.

Musician Jack Antonoff wore a Star of David necklace, and Catfish star Nev Schulman sported a Star of David patch on his coat, alongside a red heart. Although Antonoff's decision to casually sup on a banana became the meme of the evening, the musician's fashion statement still made an impact. His long-time girlfriend, actress Lena Dunham, who was not present for the event, tweeted during his appearance on-screen: "Trivia: Jewish star ordered from Amazon the minute Nazis became a f**king mainstream thing again."

Miley Cyrus promised to 'be good' for her dad

Miley Cyrus' performance at the 2013 VMAs is one that audiences (or anyone for that matter) won't soon forget, but in 2017, she seemed to make it a point to be much less provocative. When she took the stage to perform "Younger Now," there was still a bit of booty-swatting action in the choreography, but without the skin-toned pleather suit, her infamous foam finger, or her signature tongue waggle, this was a very different Cyrus.

Before the VMAs, she reportedly made a pledge to her father on Twitter, pledging to dial it down a notch. "Sorry Dad … I'll be good tonight I promise," she tweeted. 

According to PageSix, Cyrus' reps were overheard discussing her plans for the night's performance and debating whether the vocal LGBTQ pride and animal rights advocate should make her appearance on the show as political as some of her peers. Ultimately, Cyrus opted out of anything too ostentatious and walked away as one of the night's least talked-about celebs. 

Noah Cyrus on the other hand…

During the pre-show for the 2017 VMAs, Noah Cyrus was one of several acts to share their music off the main stage with a performance of "Makes Me (Cry)." but it was her wardrobe that had people talking. 

She may have been a very innocuous presence during the telecast—even more so than her sister—but she had everyone on Twitter convinced she was the second coming of Yoko Ono, based on her circular glasses and slick, jet black locks. All that non-music-related fuss was probably not what she had in mind for her VMA debut, but, hey, at least people were taking notice.

There was a reason Lorde's performance was so quiet

Audiences may have been a bit confused by Lorde's performance at the VMAs. The singer didn't sing her single, "Homemade Dynamite." Instead, she set an old-school boombox on the stage and danced around it, channeling Flashdance, yet uttering no lyrics from her own tongue.

Social media blew up with taunts and questions about her performance. However, Lorde reportedly had a very good reason to turn off her pipes for the evening—and one that makes even her oddball modern dance routine seem brave: she was sick. Lorde tweeted, "you can't tell in these pictures but i have the flu so bad i needed an IV #showgoeson #cutelilproppedupcorpse." 

To at-home audiences, she might've seemed lazy, but Lorde chose to tough it out and improvise a new way to showcase her new music during her time slot.

Audiences were upset about the artist of the year winner

Ed Sheeran had a big year. He produced a major hit with "Shape of You," and he earned a coveted cameo on Game of Thrones, but for some viewers, Sheeran's artist of the year win over Ariana Grande didn't sit well. 

Having patched together a cathartic and memorable benefit show called One Love Manchester shortly after the terror attack that claimed several lives during her U.K. show in May 2017, many thought Grande deserved the top title over Sheeran. The "Arianators" of the world were not shy about sharing their disappointment on social media during the telecast.

Taylor Swift's video may have tarnished her reputation

One of the most anticipated moments of the evening was the debut of Taylor Swift's video for her Reputation single, "Look What You Made Me Do." The footage gave Swifties loads of new visual cues and veiled references to obsess over. It also attracted plenty of ire, particularly from those following her feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. 

Some were appalled Swift had seemingly employed imagery reminiscent of Kardashian's armed robbery in Paris and West's life-changing car accident to salt the wound of their public conflict for personal gain. Swift's project also drew comparisons to Beyonce's "Formation" video. Considering Swift's video of the year win over Beyonce at the 2009 VMAs is what started this seemingly eternal feud with Kimye, Swift's 2017 VMA maneuver was an interesting plot twist, indeed. 

A personal message

Although many of the evening's fashion statements were aesthetically or politically driven, at least one celeb seized her moment under the bright lights to issue a very personal statement. The Spice Girls' Melanie "Mel B" Brown turned up to the show wearing a full-length, sequined dress with the phrase, "You will never own me" embroidered into it. 

Brown has been embroiled in a very contentious divorce battle with her estranged husband, Stephen Belafonte, and many assumed her gown was a slam against him and/or the former nanny suing her for alleged defamation