5 best and 5 worst things that happened at the 2018 VMAs

Let's be honest here — few people tune into the MTV Video Music Awards to find out which celebrities will walk away with "Moon Man" trophies. In reality, fans eagerly await this award ceremony for its amazing live performances, shocking moments, and interactions between their favorite musicians. Of course, each VMAs is a mixed bag when it comes to the quality of entertainment, and there tends to be as many great moments as there are disappointing ones. 

Think back to the 2017 VMAs for a moment: Many applauded rapper Kendrick Lamar's killer opening act and bashed Lorde's awkward attempt to perform sans vocals (to be fair, she had the flu). See? You never know what you're going to get at the VMAs, and the 2018 edition was chock full of headline-making moments. 

Although we can't recap every second from the festivities (a lot happened, you guys), you'll definitely want to check out our list of the five best and five worst things that went down at the 2018 award show. From the high of Cardi B's first public appearance since giving birth to her daughter to the low-point that was Madonna's tone-deaf tribute to Aretha Franklin, you don't want to miss this roundup.

Cardi B's breastfeeding fake out

Out of all the famous faces at the VMAs this year, fans were arguably the most excited to see new mom and "I Like It" singer Cardi B. The appearance marked the rapper's first award show since welcoming little Kulture into the world in July 2018, and viewers were eager to see how she'd handle her return to the public eye. Well, we think it's safe to say Cardi B killed it, a sentiment supported by her hilarious opening monologue.

What happened in a nutshell is this: Cardi B graced the stage holding a swaddled blanket close to her chest, and many people — including some news outlets — assumed she was breastfeeding her baby girl in front of the live audience. "I got a little surprise for y'all, you know what I'm saying," Cardi B teased as she cooed at and fussed with the pink bundle, reported Harper's Bazaar. But just when you thought Bardi was about to make a major statement about breastfeeding in public, she unraveled the blanket to reveal a Moon Man trophy. Alongside her collaborators Bad Bunny and J Balvin, Cardi B snagged the award for song of the summer. 

Whether you like Cardi B or not, you have to admit her fakeout was pretty epic. Not only were most viewers fooled (including us), but the tricky move generated a bunch of headlines. Well played, girl.

One Republic and Logic make an emotional statement

Some people might argue an awards show is no place to discuss hot-button issues, while others believe celebrities have a responsibility to draw awareness to important causes no matter the setting. And if you fall into the latter category on this debate, there's a good chance you loved Ryan Tedder (One Republic) and rapper Logic's performance of "One Day." The performance featured dozens of children and adolescents donning white t-shirts that said, "We Are All Human Beings," a testament to the song's message about accepting people from all different types of backgrounds. 

What made matters particularly poignant: every single person on stage had been affected in some capacity by immigration issues in the United States, and the group highlighted its plight by recreating family separations via a human-made border wall. The rendition took a particularly emotional turn, however, when the wall fell and performers were reunited with one another. You don't have to be a political junkie to figure out what Tedder and Logic were getting at with this performance, and Twitter soon lit up with commentary about the set.

Jennifer Lopez was legendary

Phew, where do we even start with Jennifer Lopez's legendary performance? There's just so much awesomeness to cover here — Lopez is a queen in more ways than one. 

The incredible moment went down after Lopez accepted her MTV Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, a prestigious homage handed out to musicians for their achievements in music and film. Lopez celebrated the impressive achievement by performing a killer medley of her greatest hits, including "Waiting For Tonight," "Jenny From The Block," and "My Love Don't Cost A Thing." Talk about a throwback for the history books, right? Not only did Lopez look amazing in her Versace getup, but she aced all her signature dance moves. Did we mention Lopez celebrated her 49th birthday the month before the show?

It seems like Lopez's boyfriend, former professional baseball player Alex Rodriguez, shared our enthusiasm because he appeared to videotape the entire thing on his phone. Yep, we're not kidding about this adorable detail. Oh, to be a fly on the wall when A-Rod and J-Lo re-watch that footage. 

The cast of The Hills reunited (sort of)

There's nothing better than some good old-fashioned nostalgia, a fact we were reminded of when cast members of The Hills reunited on the 2018 VMAs red carpet. Attendees included Jason Wahler (Lauren Conrad's ex-boyfriend, duh), Audrina Patridge, Heidi Montag, Spencer Pratt, Justin Bobby, and Frankie Delgado. Oh, and how could we forget Pratt and Montag's adorable son, Gunner? Someone cue the chorus of "Unwritten," stat.

But wait — we're not done, Hills fans. As if the mini-reunion wasn't enough, news broke that the beloved series is getting a reboot set to air sometime in 2019. Rest assured this project isn't stuck in the development stages — the reboot, titled The Hills: New Beginnings, already has a trailer. "It's like we're all growing up. It's weird," Hills alum Stephanie Pratt can be heard saying in the glossy preview that aired during the VMAs. 

Can we get an amen? Feel the rain on your skin…

Nicki Minaj's epic clapback to Tiffany Haddish

What would the VMAs be without a sassy clapback from Nicki Minaj? If you appreciate a good comeback and the reigning queen of hip-hop, the answer is nothing

Minaj didn't disappoint this time around, especially in the eyes of Fifth Harmony fans. The shady moment went down when one of the show's presenters, comedian Tiffany Haddish, took a jab at the group. "Camila Cabello is nominated for five VMAs tonight. I'm super proud of her," Haddish teased (via Glamour). "So for those of you watching at home, hi Fifth Harmony." Ouch.

Minaj didn't skip a beat in response to the dig against Cabello's former girl group. As Minaj accepted the best hip-hop video award moments later, she the comic (via Refinery29): "Don't be coming for Fifth Harmony because Normani is that b***h." Tell 'em, girl.

Hmm, something tells us Haddish won't attempt any Fifth Harmony jokes in the near future.

No love for The Backstreet Boys

We're sorry to break the bad news Backstreet Boys fans, but the group's pre-show performance wasn't very well-received. Why, you ask? For starters, the guys delivered a rendition of their new song, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart." Considering most people are only familiar with the band's old hits — like "I Want It That Way" and "Everybody" — the enthusiasm just wasn't there for the more recent single. Not to mention, the performance went down before the show. That's a bit depressing when you remember the pop icons received top billing at the VMAs 20 years ago

But worst of all is the criticism the guys got about their age. "Backstreet Boys all being 50 years old is really bumming me out," a fan commented on Twitter. Dang, the haters are ruthless. Who knows, maybe the guys will get another chance to perform at the VMAs in the future? Either way, this performance will go down as one of the worst moments from the 2018 show.

Madonna's bizarre tribute to Aretha Franklin

Celebrities have an unfortunate knack for screwing up tributes to icons who've passed on. Case in point: Madonna drew major criticism for her tribute to the Queen of Soul, aka Aretha Franklin, at the 2018 VMAs. Essentially, Madonna spent the entire tribute to Franklin — who died Aug. 16, 2018 — talking about herself. You can't make this stuff up.

Madonna's long and arguably bizarre speech centered on how singing Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" at an audition gave Madonna her start in music. "…I could see that they didn't take me seriously, and why should they?" Madonna recalled (via Harper's Bazaar). "Some skinny-a** while girl is going to come up here and belt out a song by one of the greatest soul singers who ever lived? A capella? I said, 'B***h, I'm Madonna.' No, I didn't. I didn't say that. Because I wasn't Madonna yet. I don't know who I was…"

Madonna didn't even land that gig, but the "French record producers" she auditioned for supposedly offered her an incredible opportunity to become a "star" in Paris. "So, that was the beginning of my journey as a singer…," Madonna informed the crowd. Uhh, great story? 

Anna Kendrick & Blake Lively's awkward sketch

Celebrity sketches at award shows always have the potential to be super cringe-worthy, especially when they make zero sense. Unfortunately, Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively didn't get this memo when they attempted to promote their new movie, a Simple Favor, while presenting best pop video. 

Kendrick kicked off the awkward monologue by mentioning to Lively that their on-stage moment would be even better if the Rockettes — Radio City Music Hall's famed dance team — were there. "Oh, I could totally make that happen," Lively responded, but when the Rockettes failed to appear, the actresses decided to fill the audience in on their movie instead. 

Although it would have been fine if Lively and Kendrick ended the bit there, they decided to drag the joke out, and as the co-stars chatted about their flick, the Rockettes burst onto the stage to the tune of a very loud song. Lively and Kendrick, supposedly oblivious to the scene behind them, proceeded to act out the plot of their movie as the Rockettes danced the night away. Let's just say the skit didn't earn a lot of laughs.

Shawn Mendes' technical difficulties

If you want an award show to go off without a hitch, make sure your production team is on point. "Stitches" singer Shawn Mendes would probably agree with this sentiment because viewers could barely hear him present Jennifer Lopez the MTV Michael Jackson video vanguard award. Not only did the background noise of the show drown Mendes out, but a staffer almost walked into the shot as he attempted to introduce J-Lo. 

"Um you can't even hear @ShawnMendes," someone wrote on Twitter. "They need to do a do over." To be fair to Mendes, he probably had nothing to do with the embarrassing moment, and it's important to note technical difficulties do happen. Still, we have to ask why the production was all over for the place for this very important segment. C'est la vie.

News flash: Pete Davidson & Ariana Grande are in love

Call us petty, but we're a bit over the never-ending PDA tour of SNL star Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande. Although it's nice to see a celebrity couple who is so clearly in love, we think the engaged duo took things too far when Davidson showed up to the red carpet wearing a bracelet with the initials "AGD" beaded onto it. If you need a little help figuring out what ADG means, it likely stands for "Ariana Grande Davidson." As expected, the statement piece generated a lot of buzz about whether Grande and Davidson are already married. Sigh.

We can't help but wonder why Davidson decided to wear the bracelet when he likely knew the firestorm of gossip it would inspire, especially when he just complained about his lack of privacy to GQ in August 2018. Either way, this red carpet moment is one we could have done without. The silver lining: a rare moment of Grande sans her signature ponytail.