LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – An angry Taylor Swift took on her critics in the music video for her new single “Look What You Made Me Do,” but there was no sign of the singer making a personal appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) on Sunday.
Crawling out of a grave and declaring her old self dead, the satirical music video that got its world premiere at Sunday’s VMAs portrayed Swift as a hard-edged artist with nothing left to lose.
An hour into the live ceremony in Los Angeles however, Swift herself was a no show, even when she won the only category in which she was nominated — best collaboration for “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” with Zayn Malik.
Nevertheless, her new video quickly became one of the show’s most talked-about moments, largely overshadowing performances by Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus and Lorde.
The video ended with Swift, 27, reviving all the personas of her music career — from gawky, guitar playing 16-year old to poised Grammy winner — and having them call each other out for being fake, pretending to be nice and playing the victim.
The single, released late on Thursday, set a first day global record on Spotify of more than eight million streams, the music platform said. Within an hour of its premiere on Sunday, the music video had been viewed more than 470,000 times on YouTube.
Early winners in the fan-voted awards included girl group Fifth Harmony, for pop video “Down,” and Zedd and Alessia Cara for their dance hit “Stay.”
Rapper Lamar, who has a leading eight VMA nominations, kicked off the show with a fiery medley of hits “Humble” and “DNA,” that featured dancers in flames on the stage.
Lamar, The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Lorde, Sheeran and Ariana Grande are competing for one of the top awards – artist of the year.
Lamar’s video “Humble,” The Weeknd’s “Reminder,” Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic,” Alessia Cara’s “Scars to Your Beautiful,” and DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts,” featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller are the nominees for video of the year.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Andrew Hay and Sandra Maler