What You Didn't See On TV At The 2019 MTV VMAs

The 2019 MTV Video Music Awards were full of surprises. There were plenty of highlights, including memorable red carpet fashions — from Taylor Swift's sparkling Versace number to Lil Nas X's bedazzled cowboy getup — and standout performances — Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello practically set the stage on fire with their sultry rendition of "Senorita" — but the evening was also packed with a number of unexpected off-camera moments that weren't so flattering.  

Not only did organizers choose to host the ceremony in an unexpected location — the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey — but they also picked an unconventional host many had never heard of, which did not go over well, to say the least. While Sebastian Maniscalco's disastrous opening monologue will live on in internet infamy, there were plenty of other VMAs-related moments that didn't hit the mainstream. A big spoiler, some perceived snubs, and an A-List no-show were just some of the under-the-radar moments. Here are all of the juicy secrets from the 2019 MTV VMAs that didn't make it onto TV. 

MTV's choice for the 2019 VMAs host raised questions

When Sebastian Maniscalco was announced as the 2019 host, the news raised plenty of eyebrows, and sparked countless headlines and tweets about who he was and why he was chosen. Even TIME wrote an article about Maniscalco, titled, 'What to Know About 2019 MTV VMAs Host Sebastian Maniscalco' while E! News asked, "Okay be honest, do you know who the #VMAS host Sebastian Maniscalco is?"

The stand-up comedian was caught off-guard too. As he told Gayle King on CBS This Morning, "This is, like, millennial and my audience is, you know, sometimes they need some help getting into the theater." Admitting he knew "three million teenagers were gonna Google, 'Who is Sebastian Maniscalco?'" he still decided to accept the challenge and began "studying. I just found out who Normani is!" he joked. 

So why did MTV choose Maniscalco? As he told ET, "They wanted an unfiltered view of the VMAs with my brand of humor. My brand of humor tends to be observational, it tends to be personal, I kind of say what everybody's thinking."

The BTS ARMY was seriously upset

In July 2019, MTV announced its full list of VMA nominations, which included two brand new categories: Best K-Pop and Video For Good. While they surely thought that recognizing K-Pop's massive impact with its own category would make fans of the genre happy, the announcement actually had the opposite effect.

BTS, BLACKPINK, Monsta X, NCT 127, TOMORROW X TOGETHER, and EXO were nominated, but the BTS ARMY soon sensed something was amiss. Taking to Twitter, they created the hashtag #VMAsracist, arguing that separating them into a different group was just a way to not recognize them in any of the major categories, despite their massive success, which included being the second-biggest artist of the year in the US, based on album sales, in 2018.

As one fan, using the #VMAsRacist hashtag argued on Twitter, "BTS has almost 4M sales. [Video of the Year nominees] Jonas Brothers have less than 1M... but sales don't mean sh*t if you aren't of Caucasian descent!" Meanwhile, another simply proclaimed, "Guess who's not watching the VMAs #BTSdeservesMORE #VMAsRacist." 

Taylor Swift accidentally ruined a huge VMAs surprise

During an interview with Good Morning America on August 22, Taylor Swift shared some exciting news with fans, which she really wasn't supposed to! 

In addition to singing a medley of songs, including the VMA-nominated "Me!" and "You Need to Calm Down," Swift also hyped up her upcoming VMA performance, which had previously been announced, and in doing so accidentally ruined a huge surprise. "I'm opening the show, so that's exciting," she told host Robin Roberts. Immediately realizing what she'd done, she added, "I don't know if I was supposed to say that, actually. But I've done it now, so can't take it back." 

TSwift, who received a whopping 10 nominations, and tied with Ariana Grande for the most noms of the year, added, "It's really exciting to be nominated, and the fans have been so wonderful. ... Working with my friends, working with people that I love so much in the 'Calm Down' video, especially, is just, like, seeing that get nominated was really a proud moment for me."

Ariana Grande forced the 2019 VMAs into a 'tough spot'

Ariana Grande may have been tied for the most nominations of the night (10) with Taylor Swift, but that wasn't enough for her to actually attend the ceremony. The 26-year-old was in London on the European leg of her Sweetener Tour and took to Twitter to reveal that she wouldn't be able to return stateside. "I have shows in London the day before and after :/" she tweeted

According to a source who spoke with Page Six, Grande's decision to skip out on the VMAs put organizers in a "tough spot." As the insider explained, that's because "MTV likes to give awards to bodies in the building. I think MTV is in a tough spot," they proclaimed. That's because public votes determine the show's winners and producers were worried the pop starlet would sweep the major categories. Lucky for them (but not so lucky for the 26-year-old), while she took home the Song of Summer award for "Boyfriend," Video of the Year went to Taylor Swift's "You Need to Calm Down".

The 2019 MTV VMAs swag bags were... interesting

Celebrities are often showered with endless gifts at award shows, but the swag bags at this year's VMAs may have raised more eyebrows than excitement. Put together by Backstage Creations, the gift baskets handed out to nominees, presenters, and performers included quite the eclectic mix of goodies, ranging from CBD products to chewing gum and even a drone. 

According to The Blast, which got a complete look at all the swag, just some of the products celebs took home included an Ashley HomeStore gift card, a Mr. Potato Head talking toy, EXTRA chewing gum, cannabis facial moisturizer from High Beauty, New World CBD's all-natural CBD lotion, a certificate for Rythmia Life Advancement Center (a wellness resort in Costa Rica), and a Fortnite Battle Bus drone. There was also jewelry, matcha green tea, honey, vodka, champagne, a porcelain mug, luggage, and makeup. Will all these products be put to good use by Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, and more? We're not sure! 

There were two snakes on the 2019 MTV VMAs guest list

No, we're not referencing any of Taylor Swift's enemies — two actual snakes made it onto the VMAs guest list. In what appeared to be a nod to Britney Spears' iconic 2001 VMAs performance, during which the pop superstar performed "I'm a Slave 4 U" while wrapped in a giant python, YouTube personality Tana Mongeau walked the red carpet wrapped in her own giant python. "We were feeling bold, we were feeling snakes, we were feeling VMAs," she told Insider of the decision, but quickly downplayed the comparisons to Spears. "Tribute — sure, yeah," she said. "I mean, I'm so bootleg and don't even deserve to compare myself to her so I feel bad saying that. But she's an icon, I love the snake moment."

Best New Artist nominee H.E.R. also showed up with the night's hottest, and most slithering, accessory around her shoulders. Understandably, while both ladies got their share of love, they also received plenty of hate, with one Twitter user noting, "Keep in mind pythons are actually very docile and shy snakes... they want to be left alone. In fact most reptiles hate being handled."

A Missy Elliott Museum caused frenzy

Not only was Missy Elliott honored with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award during the 2019 VMAs, but MTV actually built an entire museum in her honor. The pop-up, which was located in NYC, celebrated the 48-year-old icon by taking a look back at her 20-plus-year career and allowing fans to literally become a part of it. 

As Page Six learned, the pop-up gave Elliott's fans the chance to try on the "iconic garbage bag outfit" she sported for 1997's "The Rain" video, as well as take photos inside sets recreated from some of her most iconic vids, including "Gossip Folks," "Lose Control" and "Sock It 2 Me". There was also a manicure bar and lounge to kick back in. 

As her longtime manager, Mona Scott-Young, noted, "The fans deserve and the world is ready for a museum that celebrates Missy Elliott and her iconic, record-breaking career." Given that it was only open for two days — August 24 and 25 — it's no real surprise that it caused a frenzy among fans. Tickets sold out in — get this — just 60 seconds.