Taylor Swift fangirled all night at the MTV Video Music Awards on Tuesday as her “Anti-Hero” swept the awards.
Swift entered the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., with 11 nominations, the most of any artist up for moonperson trophies this year, and walked away with nine wins. She now has three more more VMAs than Madonna, who has 20.
On Tuesday, Swift became the reigning champion in the video of the year category. She won the award last year for her “All Too Well: The Short Film” and this year for the largely self-directed “Anti-Hero” music video. She also took home wins for artist of the year, best direction for “Anti-Hero,” show of the summer and album of the year for “Midnights.”
Besides sweeping the awards, Swift spent the night perfectly on-brand, shake-shake-shaking to all her peers’ performances, gasping with wide-eyed glee each time she was announced as a winner and completely losing it over her presenters.
During Doja Cat’s stellar mashup performance of “Attention” / “Paint the Town Red” / “Demons,” the audience-cam caught Swift leaning over to the person next to her and emphatically saying, “It’s giving movie. It’s giving cinematography.” During Shakira’s performance, which fit a look at her decades-long career into an exhilarating 10 minutes, Swift’s hip couldn’t lie.
When ‘NSYNC took the stage together again, to announce the winner for pop video, Joey Fatone, Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Lance Bass and Chris Kirkpatrick appeared on the VMA stage and the audience-cam caught the “unstoppable” Taylor Swift jumping to her feet, cheering and gasping — before she’d even been announced as the winner.
Bass slipped the “Lover” singer some beaded friendship bracelets, a nod to her Eras tour tradition, when he passed Swift her silver moonperson award for pop song, for “Anti-Hero.” Swift sang ‘NSYNC‘s praises in her acceptance speech.
“I’m not doing well pivoting from this,” she said — pointing first to the ‘NSYNC members, then looking down at her trophy — “to this.”
“I had your dolls,” she continued, before excitedly asking the former boy band if they had something planned together in the near future. “You are pop personified, so to receive this from your golden pop hands is really, it’s too much.”
And when Swift accepted the award for song of the year for “Anti-Hero” from Timbaland and Nelly Furtado, she joked, “I’m very millennial-triggered by my choice of presenters tonight.”
She went on to praise writing partner Jack Antonoff, saying, “I’m really really lucky that I get to write songs with one of my best friends in the world. … He is so talented, it’s incomprehensible, and I’m so lucky I’ve been making music with him since we worked on an album called ‘1989.’
“We will continue working together till 2089,” she joked, adding, “The math doesn’t math.”
Swift then described the magic of writing songs that her fans connect with.
“I am so so happy because this is validating my favorite part of what I get to do. … And it always starts with a very isolated emotion, like a very, very specific type of insecurity or self-loathing that I feel like I’m the only one who is feeling in that moment,” she said.
“But then, when I go out on tour, and I’ve got a stadium singing the words back to me. It brings me to this very relaxing feeling of maybe we all have the same issues.”