Following Rihanna’s four (yes, FOUR!) medley performances throughout the evening, Drake sauntered onstage wearing a dapper tuxedo, ready to sing his boo’s praises. Calling her an “iconic being,” he praised her music, her style, and her authenticity.
“What’s most impressive is the person... she succeeds by being herself,” he said. “Most of all, we love the woman who hasn’t changed since day one.
“She’s someone I’ve been in love with since I was 22 years old,” he continued. “She’s one of my best friends in the world. All my adult life, I’ve looked up to her.”
After Drake’s sweet intro (and a semi-awkward kiss on the cheek), Rihanna accepted her golden Moonman, calling it an “amazing moment in my career.” All in all, a stunning, love-filled end to her VMA domination, which began with an iconic career-spanning medley.
Rih — looking pretty in pink in rose-colored sunnies and thigh-high boots — kicked off the festivities earlier in the evening with a dance-centric medley of “Don’t Stop the Music,” “Only Girl (In the World),” “We Found Love,” and “Where Have You Been.” It was the kind of pulse-pounding performance that got all of Madison Square Garden rumbling — Britney, Kim, Kanye... everyone was on their feet.
But wait ... you thought Rih was done after that killer opening number? NOPE, one VMA performance wasn’t enough for tonight’s guest of honor. Supermodel Naomi Campbell introduced Rih’s reggae-focused second act, highlighting her “unapologetic, unifying” music. With a giant squad of twerking dancers behind her, Rihanna launched into “Rude Boy,” followed by “What’s My Name?” and “Work.” Even without Drake — who features on the latter two hits — she brought the island heat all on her own ... and it didn't stop there.
The temperature kept rising when BadGalRiRi emerged in full force during her third, trap-themed segment. The electric act kicked of with ANTI slow-burner “Needed Me,” then segued into “Pour It Up” and “Bitch Better Have My Money.” But Rih saved the best for last, opting to focus on her powerhouse vocals for her fourth and final mini medley of the night. After a heartfelt intro from Mary J. Blige, she launched into a trio of her most stunning ballads: the raw “Stay,” shimmering “Diamonds,” and her current single, “Love On The Brain.” You've heard it before and we'll say it again: Lightning strikes every time she moves.