If the MTV Video Music Awards have a main character, it is indisputably The Ass. From Prince’s bare-it-all canary yellow ensemble in 1991 and Lizzo’s inflatable booty guest star at the 2019 ceremony to Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” choreo in 2014 and Miley Cyrus’s self-identified “twerking” the year before that, the VMAs always find a way to be all about butts — and tonight was no different.
TikTok phenom Saucy Santana carried on that tradition during the 2022 VMA pre-show, performing new single “Booty” with some lyrically appropriate dance moves. And then over on the main stage, J Balvin did as well, thanks to some help from some literally larger-than-life backup dancers.
In the world premiere live performance of “Nivel de Perreo,” Balvin and fellow Colombian artist Ryan Castro — in their zebra-striped overcoat and furry red hoodie, respectively — were joined onstage by a giant, milky white, 3-D animated woman twerking in a variety of positions. As the song reached its climax, another super-huge, ass-shaking, digital lady popped up on the screen behind them.
Tonight marked Balvin’s first time performing on the VMA stage since making his performance debut at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, also hosted at Newark’s Prudential Center, where he sang worldwide No. 1 smash hit “Qué Pretendes” alongside frequent collaborator Bad Bunny.
The best-selling Colombian superstar, whom many have dubbed “the Prince of Reggaetón,” is up for Best Latin at tonight’s ceremony — his 13th overall nomination since 2018. This nom could very well end up being his sixth VMA win, if “In da Getto,” his Skrillex collab off of 2021 album Jose, takes home the category’s coveted silver Moon Person. He has swept Best Latin three times in the past (2018 for “Mi Gente” with Willy William; 2019 for “I Can’t Get Enough” with Benny Blanco, Tainy, and Selena Gomez; 2020 for “Qué Pena” with Maluma) and also won Song of the Summer in 2018 for “I Like It” with Cardi B and Bad Bunny and Best Choreography in 2019 for “Con Altura” with Rosalía and El Guincho.
The 2022 VMAs aired live on MTV from Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Find the complete list of winners right here and keep up with all of the night's biggest VMA moments.