How Britney Spears won the 2022 VMAs without setting foot on stage

Britney Spears and the MTV Video Music Awards go way back. Everyone remembers how Spears shocked audiences when she appeared onstage during the 2001 MTV VMAs wearing a slinky green number and a snake around her shoulders as she sang “I’m A Slave 4 U.” It was an iconic moment that will most likely go down as one of the most memorable performances in MTV history, according to the New York Daily News. Not only that, she proved herself to be the ultimate comeback kid by singing “Gimme Moore” during the 2007 MTV VMAs despite perhaps having one of the most tragic years of her life involving a very public breakdown and a shaved head.

And while Spears has certainly brought MTV plenty of viral moments, who can forget that kiss with Madonna during the 2003 MTV Movie Awards? — it looks like she just did it again without stepping foot on stage at this year’s awards. And yes, that was more than just an “Oops” moment.

Britney Spears just stole the thunder from MTV

Talk about stealing someone’s thunder! While all eyes are usually on red carpet fashion at the MTV Video Music Awards, Britney Spears managed to bring the focus to her without even being there. That’s because she posted a bombastic 22-minute clip detailing some of the things she went through during her conservatorship, per Page Six. Spears admitted she was offered a handsome amount of money for an interview with Oprah Winfrey, but said, “I don’t want any of it. For me it’s more than a real seated interview.”

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Of course, Twitter buzzed with the news that Spears dropped another truth bomb in what would otherwise have belonged to the artists at the MTV VMAs. One person commented, “F*** the VMAs Britney posted a 22 minute video,” while another said, “Britney really is a genius. Not only is she posting her story on social media as the 2022 MTV VMAs begin, but she’s proving that her family and Kevin are the ones who will do ANYTHING for money, while she just won’t. She would rather use her story to empower others.” In other words, the friend has a platform and she knows how to use it—with or without the snake.

Nicki Minaj gave Britney Spears her props

Britney Spears still managed to win the 2022 VMAs without stepping foot on stage because she’s Britney B***h! Spears might not have been there in person, but she was still there in spirit and name thanks to Nicki Minaj, who said she will never forget the rise in the industry Spears gave her.

Minaj was the winner of the 2022 Video Vanguard Award, which celebrates the impact of artists on the music world. “I just want to briefly touch on all of the key people who have inspired me and who I think have inspired my flow,” Minaj announced, reviewing the names of her chosen Raptivators. “And [the people] who gave me tremendous opportunities that I will never forget,” she continued, praising Spears.

Per MTV, Minaj and Spears have long histories and have been staunch supporters of each other over the years. Minaj and Spears teamed up for their 2011 Femme Fatale tour. Meanwhile, Minaj proved why she’s the undeniable queen of rap during her VMA performance. The singer went all out with a stage pride, thigh raises, lap dance, twerking, candy-colored bondage-twisted barbie of a crowd-pleasing medley of her best beats.

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Britney Spears won the VMAs with a little help from Elton John

Britney Spears couldn’t attend the VMAs in person because she was busy filming her new music video with Elton John for “Hold Me Closer,” according to TMZ. But Spears still managed to win the night by taking the show to the stage after turning the tone of the collaboration track on August 26. It became particularly special and headline-grabbing because it is the first song Spears has made since her conservatorship ended in November 2021.

“She’s been gone for so long — there’s a lot of anxiety because she’s been cheated on so many times and hasn’t really been officially in the public eye for so long,” John told The Guardian. He said he was excited to be working with the singer because he wanted to help boost her self-esteem and help her “realize that people really love and care about her and want her to be happy.”