Lil Nas X won video of the year at Sundays MTV VMAs on a night that Justin Bieber triumphantly returned to the stage as a performer and as winner of the artist of the year, the AP reports. “I do not take this for granted,” Lil Nas X said while accepting the night’s final award for the music video for his song, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” Much of the early show belonged to Bieber, who for his first VMAs performance in six years rappelled from the ceiling of the Barclays Center at the start of the show for an energetic performance of “Stay” with Kid LAROI and then his single “Ghost.” The VMAs celebrated MTV's 40th anniversary, mixing moments between early network stars like Cyndi Lauper and show opener Madonna with high-octane performances by newer stars like Olivia Rodrigo, Lil Nas X, Camila Cabello, and Chloe.
Bieber was the leading nominee going into the ceremony. He took home the best pop honor for “Peaches,” a song that featured Daniel Caesar and Giveon—who accompanied him onstage. Sporting baggy clothes and a hoodie, Bieber showed his appreciation for the awards being in-person and thanked his wife, Hailey, for supporting him. Moments after Olivia Rodrigo performed her hit “good 4 u,” she collected the night's first award for her massive hit song “Drivers License.” She later won best new artist. Jennifer Lopez, who three days earlier made her re-kindled romance with Ben Affleck official on the red carpet of his new film The Last Duel at the Venice International Film Festival, presented Rodrigo her trophy. (See the complete list of winners here, or read more about the show here.)