VMAs: All the Off-Camera Action Inside Radio City Music Hall and Backstage

Ariana and Pete canoodle, Madonna hugs Camilla, Post Malone chugs a lug and more...

Radio City Music Hall was the place to be on Monday night as the 2018 edition of MTV Video Music Awards touched down. Among the big winners to be awarded onstage were Nicki Minaj, Post Malone (for Song of the Year for “Rockstar”) and Ariana Grande (Best Pop for “No Tears Left to Cry), but there was plenty of action off stage — and out of camera-shot.

Read on for what you didn’t see (or hear) on TV…

Jennifer Lopez had a personal photographer in tow, boyfriend Alex Rodriguez. The retired New York Yankee whipped out his own iPhone to take pictures of his lady on the pink carpet. She then instructed him to get a shot of her shoes.

DJ Khaled arrived on the pink carpet with his permanent plus-one: son Asahd. Father and son shared a tender moment as the Hitmaker gave his “executive producer” a kiss.

Nicki Minaj makes her entrance with four bodyguards in tow, she crosses in front of the stage to get to her seat during Shawn Mendes’ performance.

Don’t shade on Fifth Harmony, said the collective crowd at Radio City, many of whom reacted with shock when Tiffany Haddish took a jab at the girl group that spawned Camila Cabello.

Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande only have eyes for each other, sharing several cutesy moments in the audience and chatting amongst themselves.

Camila Cabello sings along to every word of Bazzi’s performance of “Beautiful,” a song on which she is featured though it’s unclear why she didn’t join him on stage. The two are tight as Bazzi opened for Cabello’s “Never Be the Same” tour.

Say the words Shawn Mendes and you’ll immediately incite deafening screams, we learned the hard way.

A half-hour into the show and the lobby to Radio City suddenly empties and Logic appears. The rapper delivers the start to “One Day” and is immediately surrounded by his fellow critics of President Trump’s immigration policy. After the performance, several of the people who marched behind Logic corralled in the lobby afterward, one holding a Mexican flag.

Jessie Reyez has a last-minute teeth check before she goes onstage to sing her song “Gatekeeper.”

After Nicki Minaj wins Best Hip-Hop for “Chun-Li”out (yes, she did say c—sucker on TV, but it was bleeped), she heads to the press room where she kisses her moon man.

Demi Lovato received a rousing cheer when her name was read out loud. Nominated for her song “Sorry Not Sorry,” the singer is currently in rehab following a drug overdose.

Amber Rose, who described her fire engine-red one-piece as “intergalactic space slut” and gave credit to Madonna for bust inspiration, parades through the lobby complete with S&M-appropriate whip and mask.

Post Malone celebrates his VMA win with a beer in the photo room. He then shared a moment with The Backstreet Boys, who congratulated Post on his moon man trophy.

Noah Cyrus and Lil Xan roll through the lobby with their crew during a commercial break, followed by a cloud of marijuana smoke.

Frankie Grande — and all his sequins — dances as J Balvin wins for Best Latin. Grande, who was sitting next to his sister, Ariana, and future brother-in-law Pete Davidson, is the only person standing in the celeb-filled section and was dancing his heart out to the winning song “Mi Gente.”

While Liam Payne presented on the main stage, Hayley Kiyoko is seen jumping up and down on her platform stage to warm up ahead of her performance.

Ariana Grande’s mother, grandmother and cousin rush out of the venue after her performance of “God Is a Woman” to get to Irving Plaza for her post-VMAs show.

DJ Khaled’s infant son, Asahd, might be the most popular person in the room as everyone hounds his parents for permission to selfie.

Pete Davidson and Frankie Grande are the first two to stand as soon as Ariana Grande’s name was called for her performance. The second her performance wrapped, the two leave the audience promptly with her manager Scooter Braun.

Jennifer Lopez’s daughter gives her mom a huge hug when she returns to her seat following her Video Vanguard performance.

Karlie Kloss is introduced to Jennifer Lopez during a commercial break.

Throughout the entire show, the Radio City lobby is loaded with cast members from MTV shows like “Jersey Shore” and “The Hills” trying desperately to make a spectacle of themselves.

Rita Ora and Bebe Rexha share a kiss backstage with their moon man trophy.

Kylie Jenner stands front and center for her beau Travis Scott’s performance, donning her new platinum blonde hair, which she debuted at her 21st birthday. After his performance, she takes selfies with fans and makes a quick exit.

Madonna puts her arm around Camila Cabello as the two walk off stage following Cabello’s “Video of the Year” win.

With reporting by Michele Amabile Angermiller, Jem Aswad, Marc Malkin and Elizabeth Wagmeister. 


More Music

  • Ric Ocasek House

    Now Separated, Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova Seek Sale of Manhattan Townhouse

    Almost a year after top-earning 1980s supermodel Paulina Porizkova announced, via social media, that she and veteran New Wave rock star Ric Ocasek of the Cars had “peacefully” split up a year earlier, following almost three decades of marriage, the erstwhile couple’s Manhattan home, a handsome townhouse on a pretty, tree-lined block in the Gramercy [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma' Companion Album to

    Alfonso Cuarón's New 'Roma' Album to Feature Beck, Patti Smith, El-P, T Bone Burnett

    Not to be outdone by Ariana Grande’s impending record news, filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón has announced the track list and release date for his new album, which, coincidentally, is also due Feb. 8. He’s the curator of “Music Inspired by the Film Roma,” which was already teased by a Billie Eilish track, and is now revealed [...]

  • cats logo

    As 'Cats' Starts Production, Downtown Lands Admin Deal for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Music (EXCLUSIVE)

    Downtown Music Publishing has entered into a multi-year publishing administration deal with Faber Music, which represents the musical repertoire from “Cats,” the beloved and long-running Broadway sensation currently being turned into a feature film starring Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, Idris Elba and Judi Dench, among others. The Universal picture, directed by Tom Hooper, recently [...]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs for Screens: Beyond 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 2018 Was a Record Sync Year for Queen

    As “Bohemian Rhapsody” approaches a landmark $800 million at the global box office, another Queen milestone quietly took place in 2018. With appearances in nationwide campaigns for Amazon, Ram Trucks, Google, Peloton, Silk Almondmilk and many more, Queen’s music was licensed by more blue-chip brands than any other calendar year. And in the first few [...]

  • Erykah Badu Gets in Twitter Fight

    Erykah Badu Gets in Twitter Fight With ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Executive Producer

    Three days after making a widely criticized statement that she was “praying for” R. Kelly, Erykah Badu got into a Twitter spat with Dream Hampton, executive producer of “Surviving R. Kelly,” the Lifetime docuseries that has rallied public outcry against the singer over longstanding sexual-misconduct accusations against him. It all began when a user named [...]

  • Kew Media Sells Beatles, Pendergrass, Hip-Hop

    NATPE: Kew Media Sells Beatles, Pendergrass, and Hip-Hop Shows into Latin America

    Kew Media Distribution has sold over 100 hours of programming to buyers in Latin America it announced at the ongoing NATPE programming market in Miami. Pay-TV platform operator DirecTV has bought a package from Kew that includes feature documentaries “Active Measures,” about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, and “Divide and Conquer: The Story [...]

  • Jimi Hendrix sound check Monterey Pop

    Film Constellation Adds ‘Show Me the Picture’ to Berlin Market Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    London-based sales and financing house Film Constellation has added Alfred George Bailey’s feature documentary “Show Me the Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall” to its Berlin market slate, ahead of the film’s SXSW premiere. Submarine Entertainment is handling distribution in North America. The film charts the life of American photographer James Joseph Marshall, whose work [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content