Taylor Swift Refused to Perform at the VMAs Unless Drag Queens in Her Music Video Got Awards Too | 22 Words

On Monday night, the world watched the biggest faces in the music industry hit the red-carpet and snag some pretty big awards at the annual MTV VMA's.

But one of the most highly-anticipated guests was pop sensation, Taylor Swift, who's recently made her musical comeback.

The star put on a rainbow-infused performance of her latest hit singles, "You Need To Calm Down" and "Lover," in a musical extravaganza complete with fireworks, drag queens, and dancers galore.

But the singer had one condition in order to take the stage - the drag queens featured in her "You Need To Calm Down" music video must get awards too, otherwise she said that she would refuse to perform at the event.


This week, it was the annual MTV VMAs.

The show, held in Newark, New Jersey, and, this year, hosted by comedian, Sebastian Maniscalco, celebrates the shining stars of the music industry.

This year's show strayed away from tradition.

Not only was this year the first time that the awards have ever been held in New Jersey but, unlike last year, when the show infamously went host-less, this time, we saw Sebastian Maniscalco cracking dad-jokes and tumbleweed-inducing "safe space" jibes while presenting the ceremony to us.

Many fans didn't think that he was right for the job.

Many viewers didn't understand why he was hosting the event, and, with several of his jokes branded "tasteless," it seems like people think that he simply didn't know his audience.

His opening monologue, in particular, came under fire.

Before wrapping up his opener, the comedian mocked the current social climate. "MTV noticed that we’re living in ultrasensitive times," Maniscalco said. "If you feel triggered or you feel offended by anything I'm saying here or anything the musical artists are doing, they’re providing a safe space backstage where you’ll get some stress balls and a blankie and also Lil Nas X brought his horse which will double as an emotional support animal. If you’d like to talk to your ushers they’ll send you back to where that’s happening." And, of course, the exact people that he was targeting took to Twitter to slam the host.

But, backlash aside, we had an exciting night ahead.

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We all wanted to know who would be taking home the top awards, as well as what our favorite stars would be wearing when they graced the red carpet.

On the red carpet, we were wowed by many of the top stars.

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There's no better place than the VMAs to sport a head-turning ensemble - there are zero fashion rules at this awards show. From stars such as Taylor Swift and Megan Thee Stallion rocking the blazer vibe, to Lizzo's head-turning red-number, the fashion looks certainly didn't disappoint this year.

Hailed as one of the best-dressed, Zara Larsson, stole the show.

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The Swedish pop powerhouse gave us major princess vibes in this floaty, pastel pink gown.

But, music-wise, it was a jam-packed evening.

With performances from long-standing talents like Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus, and musical newcomers including Lizzo, Lil Naz X, and Ava Max, we were in for an electrifying setlist.

And, of course, we got to find out who would be bagging an award.

There were some surprising wins, and well, some not so surprising.

It was a good night for seventeen-year-old Billie Eilish.

The genre-defying singer won "Best Newcomer," "Push Artist of the Year," and "Best Editing" for her hit song "Bad Guy."

The "Best Pop" award went to an unlikely winner.

Jonas Brothers beat the likes of pop princess, Ariana Grande; teen sensation, Billie Eilish; Taylor Swift, and Khalid for the sought after award for their single "Sucker."

Normani and Korean pop band, BTS, also won big.

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BTS, who've quickly risen to pop stardom, won "Best Band," and "Best K-Pop,"  with former Fifth Harmony member, Normani, bagging the prize for "Best R&B" for her hit single  “Waves" ft. 6LACK.

"Artist of the Year" is probably the one you've all been waiting for.

And it looks like Ariana Grande well and truly came out on top, beating the likes of Billie Eilish, Cardi B, and Shawn Mendes to be crowned artist of the year.

But it didn't stop there for the star.

It looks like the pop sensation was in for a huge winning streak last night, also taking home the awards for "Song of Summer" for her latest single, "Boyfriend," and "Best Art Direction," for her popular single "7 Rings."

Another of the night's top prizes went to Lil Naz X.

...And you probably know what for. The star won the award for "Song of the Year" for his chart-dominating "Old Town Road" Remix with Billy Ray Cyrus.

But Taylor Swift stole the show.

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Pop sensation, Taylor Swift, raced ahead, taking home the award for "Best Music Music Video" and "Video For Good" for her acclaimed "You Need to Calm Down" single - praised for its trailblazing LGBTQ+ representation. But it didn't end there for the star, who also bagged the "Best Visual Effects" award for her single “ME!" ft. Brendon Urie.

The star recently made her musical comeback.

Earlier this year, after weeks of vague teasers and endless clues, Taylor Swift made a return to the music scene with the single “Me!," featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco, her first release since 2017. But that's not the only thing...

There's one music video that's been turning heads.

The recent music video for Swift's single, "You Need to Calm Down," released in the middle of pride month this year, is the superstar's major LGBTQ+ rights statement.

We've lost count of the amount of LGBTQ+ representation in the video.

Featuring a whole host of queer celebs including the Fab Five from Netflix's Queer Eye, YouTuber, Hannah Hart, and, of course, an array of fabulous drag queens, the video has cemented the singer as a dedicated ally to the community.

But Taylor is trying to convey an important message...

This isn't just a catchy tune. If you listen carefully to the lyrics, they have a much deeper meaning. In the second verse, the pop powerhouse takes on homophobic demonstrators: “Sunshine on the street at the parade / But you would rather be in the dark ages." The music video also ends with a plug to sign a petition for the passage of the Equality Act, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity.

The song went down a treat.

So we aren't surprised that she took to the stage at the VMA's to perform it.

And true to her ally-status, Taylor made a very strict demand ahead of her VMA's performance.

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The star reportedly refused to perform at the awards show unless all of the drag queens who starred in her music video got awards too.

The news came after one of the queens posed with Taylor on Instagram.

Trinity K Bonet, who starred on the popular reality-competition show, RuPaul's Drag Race, took to her Instagram story to praise the superstar, revealing that she'd insisted that all the queen's got crowned too.

“I just want y’all to know that Taylor Swift made sure that each and every one of us gets two Moonmen for the awards she won tonight," she said.

“[Taylor said] that she would not perform unless we got awards too. So I’m going to have two Moonmen in my house with my name on it for Video of the Year at the VMAs!"

We need more people like Taylor flying the flag for equality.

Good on her. If you are still on the hunt for more VMA content, look no further. The event may be about the music but it's also about the fashion show that the celebs put on beforehand on the red carpet. And obviously, some of the ensembles are more well-executed than others. Keep scrolling as we reveal the best and the worst dressed of the night.