Everything You Didn't See on TV at the 2021 MTV VMAs

E! News is inside the star-studded 2021 MTV VMAs, bringing you all exclusive details the cameras miss. Find out what's going really down behind-the-scenes of music's hottest night.

By Jess Cohen, Jamie Blynn, Brody Brown Sep 13, 2021 12:52 AMTags
Watch: Necessary Realness: VMAs Fashion Flashback

Music's hottest night is about to serve us, well, the hottest fashion and performances

Yep, you guessed it: The 2021 MTV VMAs are officially here. Expect to see Olivia Rodrigo make her debut at the star-studded show and Justin Bieber making his grand return to the stage for the first time in six years. Plus, Ed Sheeran, Camila Cabello and Kacey Musgraves will perform—and the Foo Fighters will accept the first-ever MTV VMAs Global Icon Award. As for the red carpet? We can only hope someone will find a way to include meat in their look. (OK, maybe we won't hold our breath on that one.)

Now, as the star-studded event, hosted by Doja Cat, kicks off, we've got a special treat for you: An exclusive, backstage pass that will make you feel like you're actually at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. How? Well, E! is on the red carpet and inside, offering you behind-the-scenes details in real time.

So, keep scrolling for moment that cameras don't catch...

The Most OMG VMA Performances We're Still Talking About

7:52 p.m. EST Good 4 U! Olivia Rodrigo is led out to her position on the VMAs stage and the crowd cheers.

8:00 p.m. Surprise, Madonna is here. Madonna stands in place backstage, center of stage ready to walk out.

8:14 p.m. JLo! Jennifer Lopez is spotted touching audience members' hands after she introduces Video of the Year.

ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

8:16 p.m. Talk about star-crossed! Kacey Musgraves is on stage already as Olivia Rodrigo accepts her award.

8:20 p.m. During a commercial break, Doja Cat is on the stage, dancing to The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy" after getting some direction from a stage manager and waving to the audience.

8:26 p.m. At the end of her performance, Kacey puts both arms above her head, with her back turned the audience and does an excited little dance, hopping around.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for MTV/ ViacomCBS

9:00 p.m. Alicia Keys salutes in the direction of Billie Eilish when Billie said "Alicia Keys just kissed me on the cheek."

9:03 p.m. Shawn Mendes already on darkened side of stage across from Camila Cabello's performance and dancing and bobbing his head as Camila is singing. He's continuing to clap his mic, swing his arms, dance and spin around. Bobs his head until the end of her song. 

9:08 p.m. Alicia pumps her hand in the air in response to Shawn, then bobs her head to his song.


Matt Baron/Shutterstock

9:30 p.m. Billie Eilish claps with her hands above her head after Chloe Bailey's performance. 

9:45 p.m. Teyana Taylor hugs Normani and they stay hugging as they walked and twirled their way to the back of the stage and walked off.

10:02 p.m. Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters is warming up on the drums throughout the commercial break. Dave Grohl waves to audience then goes with his guitar to squat in front of Alicia Keys and talk to her briefly.

10:06 p.m. During a commercial break, Avril Lavigne and Mod Sun have their heads together, talking. He puts his arm around Avril.

10:13 p.m. Olivia Rodrigo is standing and dancing to the Foo Fighters performance.

10:20 p.m. PDA! Megan Fox is spotted rubbing Machine Gun Kelly's arm and they later share a kiss.

11:03 p.m. MGK lays on floor post-performance until Travis Barker comes over and touches his chest. Travis helps MGK up and they hug.

10:47 p.m. Lil Nas X up on his feet dancing and rapping along with Busta Rhymes' performance.


11:05 p.m. Goodnight! Doja Cat blows a kiss to audience and leaves stage.

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