If you had money on which 2020 MTV VMAs performer set off all those fireworks over the Hudson last week, hope you bet it all on the Weeknd. The singer kicked off Sunday’s awards show with a rooftop performance of his hit “Blinding Lights” on the observation deck at Edge at Hudson Yards, but, if you live on the West Side of Manhattan, you’ll notice a distinct lack of loud, festival explosions this evening. That’s because the Weeknd pretaped his set on Thursday, the night the city was treated to a confusing, annoying, sort of charming late-night firework show for seemingly no reason at all.
The city later confirmed to the New York Post that a VMAs set was to blame, pushed back from a planned 8 p.m. start due to inclement weather to the ire of sleepy residents, though officials refrained from identifying which artist required fireworks for their pre-filmed performance. If you’re watching the show tonight, you might be confused, annoyed, and sort of charmed by the fact everything is pretaped, aside from the evening’s CGI audience, who are, you know, simply not real. Real or not, they sure enjoyed the Weeknd’s set, which you can see in full above, and the night’s award winners, which you can check on our constantly updating VMAs winners list.