Rihanna VMAs Video Vanguard Award: Watch MTV Video Music Awards Opening Performance!

Truth rating: 10
Rihanna VMAs Opening Video

By Shari Weiss

VIDEO

Rihanna VMAs Opening Video

(MTV)

Rihanna, the 2016 VMAs Video Vanguard Award recipient, opened Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards with a stunning performance. Watch below!

Rihanna kicked off the show dancing to “Don’t Stop The Music,” before singing parts of “Only Girl (In The World)” and “We Found Love.” From there she went into “Where Have You Been.” About an hour later, Rihanna returned to the stage with “Rude Boy” and “What’s My Name,” before singing “Work.”

Then an hour after that, she performed “Needed Me,” “Pour It Up,” and “Bitch Better Have My Money.” For her fourth and final performance, Rihanna closed the show with “Stay,” “Diamonds,” and “Love On The Brain.” But before it all wrapped up, Drake came out to formally present her with the Video Vanguard Award, giving an adoring speech. “She’s someone I’ve been in love with since I was 22 years old,” he admitted (see clip below).

In the days leading up to the show, executive producer Jesse Ignjatovic teased that Rihanna would do a medley with the “biggest tracks of her career,” and make “one of those holy crap VMA moments.” Touting the star’s “creativity,” he further said, “If we’re talking on Monday the 29th or after the show Sunday, everyone will be surprised with what she’s done to make this honor her own and something that’s extremely impactful.”

It was announced earlier this month that Rihanna would receive MTV’s highest honor at this year’s ceremony. Also known as the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award, it recognizes an artist whose career has greatly contributed to MTV and pop culture. Rihanna follows in the footsteps of Kanye West (2015), Beyonce (2014), Justin Timberlake (2013), and Britney Spears (2011).

Tonight, Rihanna was up for Best Collaboration Video for “This Is What You Came For” with Calvin Harris, a clip that also scored him a Best Male Video nod. The track was also one of the Song Of Summer contenders. In addition, Rihanna was competing against herself in the Collaboration category, as “Work,” featuring Drake, is also a nominee.

That one also earned her a Best Female Video nomination. Drake, the singer’s on-and-off boyfriend, celebrated her big accomplishment by making a billboard with the message, “Congratulations to Rihanna from Drake and Everyone at Ovo.” Watch video of Rihanna’s VMAs performances below!

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