TGJ Roundtable: 2019 MTV Video Music Awards Review

Published: Tuesday 27th Aug 2019 by Sam

Welcome to the latest TGJ Roundtable!

Over the years, That Grape Juice has established a distinguished voice that – whether loved or loathed – sparks discussion, debate, and on occasion drama!

Though comprised of seasoned writers who share a similar outlook on Urban Pop culture, the idiosyncrasies of the TGJ team members often lend for quite heated debates “behind the scenes” about the hottest topics.

Now, we give you a front row seat to the show. In a format similar to ‘The View’ or ‘The Real’, TGJ editors – Sam, David, Rashad, and Joe – get real in a very candid way.

Today’s roundtable topic asks each anchor their thoughts on the…

2019 MTV VMAs 


This year’s VMAs watched like a graduation ceremony, in that it very much felt like the New School stepping up to the plate and cementing their place.

While missing the megawattage of the Beyonce’s, Rihanna’s, and Gaga’s of the world, the show held its own being driven by the fresh faces of todays industry. And none stood out more than Normani.

Easily my most anticipated performance of the night, the Fifth Harmony flamethrower delivered dynamite with her live recreation of the ‘Motivation’ video.

In many ways, she serves as an amalgamation of several icons who came before her; taking the best of what they brought to the game and putting her own unique spin on it. Her performance was an adrenaline ride of killer choreography, powerful presentation, and a seasoned slickness that’s well beyond her 23 years. I envisage this showing making her a staple on the award-show circuit  in the months and years ahead.

Elsewhere, Lizzo lit up the stage and re-affirmed why she is such a breath of fresh air. She brings a fun factor that doesn’t compromise her talent – it enhances it. While H.E.R never disappoints and Megan Thee Stallion stung the pre-show with the heat of many a Hot Girl Summer. Again, if these are the newest names of today and tomorrow, exciting times await.

Speaking of excitement, I’d been eagerly awaiting Missy Elliott’s long-overdue Michael Jackson Video Vanguard moment and it delivered in earnest. A whimsical and theatrical masterclass in the magic of Missy, it was a reminder to even the most promising acts of today that there still are levels to this ish. And Missy sits at the top.

This year’s toilet breaks for me came courtesy of Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, the Jonas Brothers, as well as Taylor Swift. Because, while I imagine they did enough to appease their respective audiences, the VMAs have long been about “moments” and theirs struggled to match others on the bill.

Still, holistically, an enjoyable show.

Special salute to Lil Nas X too. I’m still trying to ascertain his angle (Singer? Rapper? Talker?). But he most definitely delivered spectacle and a confidence that many of his more talented contemporaries.




Though it isn’t always obvious, the industry is returning to what I’d call “the age of the superstar” (see Normani, Cardi B, Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello) following a drought which may to be blame for some of the VMA’s “drier” years.

As a result, last night’s ceremony was packed with unforgettable moments which I’m sure ticked boxes for all of its viewers.

Highlights? Missy Elliott’s stellar performance and acceptance speech, Normani’s electric delivery of ‘Motivation’, Lil Nas’ futuristic serving of ‘Old Town Road’ and Shawn Mendes’ duet with Camila Cabello. Their chemistry was palpable.

Any criticism? None of this end. For, this year’s organisers did great job at spotlighting the year’s biggest and brightest stars which is why I’m hoping its ratings reflect their effort.

Here’s hoping next year is just as awesome…and that security does a better job at keeping crazed fans away from the talent.

On a random note, anyone else see that guy harassing Lil Nas X? Wild.




From where I stood the show would’ve been better billed as the “VMAs: Black Girl Magic Edition” as black girls rocked all up and through that show from its beginning (Megan Thee Stallion) until its close.

First, giving honor to Missy who was the head of the night, the Rap diva reminded a whole generation of us who grew up with her why she was our generation’s preeminent visual artist. Bringing to life on stage some of her most iconic videos during her Vanguard performance, my only gripes were a) there was so much of a spectacle that sometimes the viewer lost Missy in the action and b) the likes of ‘Hot Boys’ and ‘All in My Grill’ were not included in the set list. Their absences, however, by no means took away from her epic performance and it’s so good to see Miss get her roses!

Next, Normani – despite the devil in the sound booth trying to sabotage her debut VMA performance – popped, locked, and dropped her way through the difficulty to deliver an inaugural showing that certainly met the hype! Again, in the spirit of fairness however, I couldn’t help but be jarred by how much her physical energy was not matched by her vocal energy. I’m hoping this is not a consistent feature of her live performances and that – even with pre-records given the intensity of her movement – she masters matching her vocals to the moment.

And, lastly (among our girls), Lizzo shut it all the way down and almost took us to church by the end of her booty-ful performance. Elsewhere, Camila was a bore, Taylor was cute but quite the snore, and – to my surprise – Miley left me wanting more. It’s sad her vocal prowess continues to be outshone by her image for, quiet as it’s kept, the girl has chops (as evidenced by last night’s performance). Lil Nas X’s grand performance could and should’ve been one of the biggest of the night, but the forced and uncomfortable choreo took away from it.

All-in-all this year’s show was arguably the best it’s seen in years. The staging – although distracting and unnecessarily busy at times – was still amazing. Now that I think about it, the last time the VMAs was worthy of this much praise was…well..when Black Girls rocked it in 2016!



The new generation showed up and showed out!

Rosalia killed, H.E.R. slayed, and Lizzo took us to church.

Although it was intelligent for Lil Nas X to plug his single ‘Panini,’ I wished he would have given us the ultimate ´Old Town Road’ performance and be done with it. From my vantage point, he just missed on a true VMA “moment.” Still, he gets an “A” for the effort that was put into  his Power Ranger-flavored performance. Come through choreography!

Franky, can somebody help me figure out what that Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello’s performance was all about? Not only was it seemingly leading to a kiss that never occurred, but in hindsight not much else actually…happened. So much for the #1 song in the world…

Missy Elliott and her troop of dancers did a fantastic job reminding the audience of her multi decade-spanning brilliance and gave a stellar speech.

Old pals Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift and the Jonas Brothers did fine with their respective showings. It was cool seeing that they are still as hype as they were when they were the newcomers a decade or so ago.

Without much surprise, the homerun of the evening was scored by the amazing Normani.

After breaking the internet with her energetic video for breakthrough single ‘Motivation’, she was a repeat offender when she took the stage and delivered a unique mixture of vocals, choreography and gymnastics, leaving the audience AND Twitter alike completely floored.

The birth of a star, indeed.

Nothing too controversial nor unexpected regarding the winners list, I just wished Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande were present to receive her awards as they have been the undeniable leading pop ladies of the year so far.

Overall, a fun-filled, vibrant and youth driven show. I had fun.


Do you agree with our picks? Who was spot on? Let us know your thoughts on the latest TGJ Roundtable and your thoughts on the 2019 MTV VMAs.

Your thoughts?

[Photo credit: Getty / MTV]

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  1. pat August 27, 2019

    i see they took notes from the BET awards by incorporating all the nostalgic black artists
    Lizzo always eats
    I’m ok with Normani, not being a belter, but I agree with stepping up the live vocal aspect. Killing the choreo even with a skipping track was impressive tho.
    I always enjoy when Miley actually sings
    Missy let the youngn’s know that she will always be the innovator.
    Overall this new generation showed a lot of promise

    • gina August 27, 2019

      I agree about normani, her track was skipping and they all still stayed on beat, that was really impressive.

    • Granville August 27, 2019

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  2. The Truth August 27, 2019

    Normani was the obvious star of the evening 🙂

    • The Truth August 27, 2019

      And Missy also!!

    • Queen ?? Missy August 27, 2019

      After Missy. VMA = Video Missy Awards

      • Andrew August 27, 2019


  3. The Truth August 27, 2019

    And is it me or did Camila display ZERO stage presence last night? She is so boring to me, and doesn’t have the look of a superstar. And I didn’t like that they allowed Shawn to perform TWICE! Nobody else was granted that option. He could’ve performed both of his songs within ONE time slot.

    And WTF was Camila wearing?

    • Clarkson August 27, 2019

      Zero stage presence? Who?
      The crowd almost lost their mind when Camila nearly kissed shawn Mendes. go to YouTube and watch reaction clips of Taylor swift, Joe jonas and his wife, bebe rexha freaking out when shawn Mendes nearly kissed Camila while they performed their number 1 song, something Normani will never have

      • Lanafan1 August 27, 2019

        The crowd losing their minds doesn’t mean anything. She’s trash lol

      • Lanafan1 August 27, 2019

        The song hit #1 because of Shawn. Not Camila.

  4. Gee August 27, 2019

    Missy put it down she was definitely the star of the evening. I truly believe that Normani can definitely compete in today’s market, however she needs better material and she needs to find herself and stop trying to be her influences just a younger version. Everybody else was cool while others were subpar at best. Overall this year’s show was a good showing.

    • Shayla Queen August 27, 2019

      I agree. Waves was definitely better than Motivation and I’d love more music like that from her.

      • Meme August 27, 2019

        I agree about waves. It was so new and fresh sounding but ppl didn’t support. No label will keep finding something that doesn’t work.!

  5. stan August 27, 2019

    so the sound was indeed a bit off during normani’s set. she still did a great job though.

  6. #TeamTinashe Stan August 27, 2019

    The show was very awkward and dictated that the future in music needs a facelift, BIG TIME!

    I like Lizzo but all she really does is Yell tbh n show ass.
    HER was nice to hear and see.
    Lil Nas X…. wtf was that? Lol
    Missy was good but felt like something was missing.
    Normani all I saw tbh was a good dancer. I don’t get real artist from her as she was one of the few who relied on prerecorded vocals throughout their performances.

    Show was a 2.5/10 just keeping it honest.

    • The Truth August 27, 2019

      lol “Normani all I saw tbh was a good dancer. I don’t get real artist from her”…coming from a Tinashe fan? The jokes write themselves, respectfully.

      • #TeamTinashe Stan August 27, 2019

        Lets not even bring up Tinashe ok boo boo.
        Normani is good but there is no vocal chops nor does she own a sound that sets her apart from her former group or what radio is playing.
        Tinashe can say otherwise as her mixtapes display who she is as a real artist who can actually sing LIVE.

      • The Truth August 27, 2019

        And yes, how many years has Tinashe been in the game and she STILL hasn’t popped? lol. PLEASEEEE let’s talk about Tinashe, BOO BOO!

        You’re ill prepared for this debate, hun.

      • The Truth August 27, 2019

        ASKING THE GENERAL PUBLIC: Is this individual REALLY insinuating that TINASHE has her own sound? Her ONE HIT was a hit because DJ Mustard produced it in 2014….that was when every song on urban radio was produced by DJ Mustard and sounded the EXACT SAME!


      • #TeamTinashe Stan August 27, 2019

        You done sucking below me? Im tired of you sucking my balls quite frankly with your essay of love dedicated to me and my fave.
        Thanks for agreeing with me on Normani not having a distinctive sound.
        She betta SERVE with that Kidz Bop realness.

        Discussion is now closed ?❤❤

    • The Truth August 27, 2019

      Get back to me when Tinashe does one of the following:

      1) Has a song on the radio
      2) Performs at ANY awards show
      3) Has a HIT song
      4) Signs a record deal (that’s not an independent label)

      Nobody in the world takes Tinashe serious. SHE has no sound at all. Every project she releases is all over the place. Tinashe had ONE hit…FIVE years ago. Times up boo. She’s DONE.

    • The Truth August 27, 2019

      Ha! Tinashe, I know that’s you behind the keyboard. Pissed that Normani is signed to the same label that dropped you…and now you’re bitter because she’s getting the shine you wanted to terribly! POOR THING!

      RCA put you with all of the best producers, gave you COUNTLESS big budget videos, and NOTHING popped off! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Bitter better.

      Nobody is checking for Tinashe in 2019, boo boo.

  7. The Real Princess Jasmine August 27, 2019

    Taylor Swift was the Only A Lister at the Awards like I didn’t see any A listers their not even the Kardashian-Jenner Klan was in attendance all washed ups, has been and Reality Stars showed up looking cheap

  8. Clarkson August 27, 2019

    Be truthful yall, normani performance was a let down

    Doing splits , kicks, dancing aggressive, back bends, etc doesnt make u a good musician. This is 2019, nobody is into that sort of thing anymore.
    she looked like an amateur at a high school talent show
    Even her costume looked cheap.
    Don’t even get me started on her vocals.
    Normani u are going to end up like tinashe.

    • Oh plz August 27, 2019

      STFU…no one cares what a racist, misogynistic, uneducated POS has a to say.

    • The Truth August 27, 2019

      The only cheap costume I saw was Camilla’s…

    • Nicky August 27, 2019


      You act as if doing all that choreo is a walk in the park. Lmao @dancing aggressive. She’s as feminine as they come.

      She’s an entertainer. Can Camicky even do it? Lmao!! She has limited performance abilities.

      Camicky relies on vocals and lets be clear, there’s a reason why her nickname is Camicky Mouse. Squeak!!! Can’t sing!!!!!

      Isnt it amazing that Normani won her first VMA with no album out lmfaooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!

      • The Truth August 27, 2019

        @NICKI YESSS! Get Clarkson together!! Facts!

      • Clarkson August 27, 2019

        Normani won a vma for a song that did not chat. Lol. Stop mocking yourself.

        Camila has won video of the year, this is something Normani will never win.

      • The Truth August 27, 2019

        @CLARKSON since you’re throwing shade at “Waves” not charting (but winning a VMA), lets talk about Camilla’s EARLY solo music that FLOPPED and got NO awards (see: “Crying in the club”, “OMG”). Nothing to say, b***h?

        What don’t you understand about Camilla NEVER getting another “Havanna” sized hit! Epic will do her exactly how they did Megan Trainor. Megan had “All About That Bass” and then a handful of additional hits, then POOF! She’s gone from the charts and her album is shelved. Everyone knows Camilla has NO staying power. AND IT’S KNOWN IN THE INDUSTRY THAT EPIC RECORDS IS STRUGGLING FINANCIALLY! So, she won’t have a big budge for album #2…that’s why she’s doing these features (See: Mark Ronson collab). She’s trying to scrape together money for a budget because Epic has none.


      • Clarkson August 27, 2019

        Camila already has a huge hit the equivalent of Havana, that hit is called seniorita which is the number 1 song in the country right now, something normani will never have

        Crying in the club was a buzz single. It didnt appear on her debut album.
        Camila has 38 million followers while Normani has 4 million.
        Motivation flopping what’s ur excuse?

    • Lanafan1 August 27, 2019

      And yet your girl Camila can’t do anything. And can barely carry a tune.

  9. Clarkson August 27, 2019

    Camila showed maturity in her performance. It was a stripped back toned down performance. Less is more.
    Seniorita is going to stay number one for another week thanks to this performance

    • The Truth August 27, 2019

      You realize her performance is being highlighted as a letdown and it’s becoming more and more evident that Shawn’s relationship with her is fake. If they’re truly dating, why did they “act” like they were going to kiss, rather than kissing? Face it, Camilla is “cute” but she’s no movie star, icon, etc. Ain’t nobody checking for that h*e…and nobody is calling that performance a highlight of the night either lol.

      • Nicky August 27, 2019


        Camicky thinks she’s a star!! Lmfaooooooooooooooooo

        No need to stripped version when her vocal tone strips my eardrums.

      • Clarkson August 27, 2019

        them kissing on stage would have been tacky and too much. They were teasing the crowd. Go watch the reactions of Joe jonas, bebe rexha, Taylor swift when Camila and shawn were performing. Everybody were excited.

        I am not a liar so I will say the truth, camilla performance was not the highlight of the night, it was middle of the road and that is good. Stripped down, easy, soft etc. she is a musician and what do musicians do? They sing and that is what Camila did. She sang the number 1 song in the country right now.

        Compared to normani who danced like a drag queen. no artistic direction, poor lip syncing, cheap costume, over dancing, horrible flop song. She looked like a cheer leader.

        If normani doesnt change her style she will be thrown in the same pile with tinashe, Ciara, etc. Cause there is nothing normani is doing that we haven’t seen before.

    • The Truth August 27, 2019

      And what the f**k is Camilla doing that we haven’t seen before? *waits for you not to respond* lol. Camilla isn’t a damn innovator. That b***h and that bad wig she was wearing last night won’t be on the charts much longer…watch.

      • Dc August 27, 2019

        Camila currently sitting at number 1 billboard ??????

      • Clarkson August 27, 2019

        Camila is giving us her culture, her heritage.
        She is mixing her Latino roots with her music. Havana is a flamenco, latino flavoured jam with ethnic drum beats and sax. So organic. She was one of the first people to make latino music hot again around the world. She’s like the legendary selena
        There is no girl that is similar to Camila. Name a girl similar to Camila and Camila style of music today. None

        But there are thousands of girls similar to normani who have done what normani is doing. Dawn Richard, justin skye, natalie la rose, tinashe, Ciara, . Poor vocals excessive dancing.
        We see a normani type every year and they always flop, selling 3k copies first week.

      • The Truth August 27, 2019

        @CLARKSON the fact that you are so persistent with trying to make us like Camilla shows that you’re insecure about her stardom. You know she’s basic…and you hate to have anyone bring that to your attention. The only way you can make her look good is to put other artists down.

        The modern day Selena? Okay, girl. We’ll let you believe Camilla Cabello is the modern day version of the LEGENDARY Selena. LOL! Bless your heart.

      • Clarkson August 27, 2019

        @the truth

        U are talking in cirlces
        Camila has 38 million followers on Instagram. People already love her, that’s why she has 2 number 1 songs.

        It’s the public that buys the songs, it’s the public that stream the songs, the public love Camila, that’s why she has 1 billion streams for Havana, that’s why she’s currently number 1 on the charts right.

        Normani got free promo from 40 different celebrities but she still flopped at number 33. Nobody likes her. She has only 4 million Instagram followers, that is sad. Even insta thots have more followers than her. Lol

    • Nicky August 27, 2019

      Ciara has sold millions of albums. Something that Camicky will never achieve in life


      • Clarkson August 27, 2019

        Honey Camila debut album is certified platinum . The album debuted at number 1
        The album also gave her 2 Grammy nominations
        The lead single Havana has 1 billion streams

        Receipts dont lie.

    • Lanafan1 August 27, 2019

      None of those stats matter. She has one no. 1. People bought the album based off the fact that she broke out of fifth Harmony. All her songs besides Havana are like f****** warm

      • Lanafan1 August 27, 2019

        Camila still has a horrible voice. She can’t dance or do splits. She won’t last

  10. King of Kingz August 27, 2019

    I just didn’t understand why they wouldn’t have Timbland, Janet, Ciara, Pharrell, Ginuwine or even Lil Kim present Missy with he Micheal Jackson Vanguard Award. Normani is a great performer but needs better song material

    • High Price August 27, 2019

      Exactly! And idk, I think “Motivation” is a good but I also think it’s a pre-game single. I think she has more tricks in store. I don’t even think we getting started just yet.

      • Clarkson August 27, 2019

        Honey normani doesn’t have any more tricks in store she has shown us all she can do. Splits, kicks, back bends, twerking ,poor vocals, cheap costumes and that all she is.
        Motivation is her lead single from her debut album and the song flopped after all the hype and free promo from 40 different celebrities on Instagram and Twitter.

    • Paulo August 27, 2019

      Cardi is arguably the reigning queen of Rap at the moment and she just won Best Hip Hop in the same ceremony. So it was like the current queen acknowledging the original queen. I thought it made perfect sense.

    • biancacook August 27, 2019

      missy requested cardi.

  11. menudi August 27, 2019

    Ya’ll stay giving the people that lip sync the most love because they dance well! I just can’t with this generation.

  12. High Price August 27, 2019

    I agree lol! Lil nasX performance was awkward! But I like the song though! Normani slayed INDEED! NORMANI is here! Again, congratulations to Missy! Missy did her thing which we expected.

  13. Dc August 27, 2019

    Normani overrated that’s why her song doing average with all the free press

  14. Tyty August 27, 2019

    Apart from Normani the new generation of stars are beyond lame…. I have no idea how that havana chick bagged two number 1 singles nothing about her particularly stands, Lizzie is doing her thing but again somewhat mediocre in the grand scheme of things. Award shows that no longer draw A list star power. Just another example of the shambles that is the music industry. Missy Elliot was the only true highlight.

  15. Jhall August 27, 2019

    Ok I luv normani but she just needs some vocal help ! She doesn’t remind me of Beyonce she is more like Janet jackson and ciara

    • Pat August 27, 2019

      Hive wants to push that narrative so bad but gp will always compare her with bey

  16. Nicky August 27, 2019

    Lmfaoooo @clarksdaughter being upset that Camicky was upstaged!

    Crying In CLub was touted as the lead single and floppped after all the press as her being the lead, sob story of leaving group etc. lmfaooo. She performed it lmaooooooo. Once it flopped, it was scratched from the album. Camicky called on a rapper to give her a hit.



    • The Truth August 27, 2019

      FACTS!!! Camilla flopped TERRIBLY with Crying in the club. She performed the song 2 days after it was released at the Billboard awards lol. And don’t get me started on her releasing “OMG” lol.

      I give Camilla one more “successful” album, then she’ll be gone….just like Megan Trainor. Epic Records doesn’t have the funds to support a proper album campaign.

      I’ll pray for her though lol

      • Clarkson August 27, 2019

        Camila has solidified herself as a viable solo star
        2 number 1’s
        Crying in the club was a buzz single and it is even certified platinum, I million in sales. Lol
        Her second album will be fire. She’s about to release her teenage dream. 5 number 1’s from one album. Watch and see.

        Mention normani achievements. After all the hype and free promo from 40 different celebrities on Instagram and Twitter. 33 debut. Lol

    • The Truth August 27, 2019

      @Clarkson Camilla is about to release her version of Teenage Dream with 5 #1 songs? LOL! I hope she does and then her career can evaporate just like Katy Perry’s lol. You are the epitome of someone that is less than smart. I’ll pray for you and your favorite artist (aka the modern day Selena who is going to release the second coming of Teenage Dream with 5 #1 singles LMAO) You nerd.

  17. HavanaONana August 27, 2019

    Congrats Camila for winning 2 VMAs last night❤️❤️❤️ You are the real superstar, no explanation needed!!!! Camila is natural beauty and have the superstar aura.

    2 Billboard hot 100 #1

    5 US Pop #1
    I know what you did last summer
    Bad Things
    Never Be the Same

    To all her haters!!! Sit your hating assess down!!! I know there’s only 10 of you making multiple accounts here

    To all the million fans!!! Keep supporting her❤️❤️❤️

  18. Edward Norton August 27, 2019

    Is Lizzo being a star some sort of mind manipulation experiment. She cannot sing, dance, and is not attractive not on a monetary level at least. I have tried and i think this has got to be a prank, she is absolutely terrible. She sounds like a hurt cat and is very overweight, not thick but just sloppy overweight. Are you all really serious, when you big like that you gotta be able to blow like Kelly Price, I get. The Empress has no Talent , you are now free to say it too.

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