2017 MTV Video Music Awards Twitter Trends

MTV’s Video Music Awards held August 27, 2017 live from Inglewood, California’s The Forum continued its annual year-to-year decline in television ratings, drawing 1.36 adults 18-49 rating (down from 1.78 last year) and averaging 2.66 million overall viewers (down from 3.27 million) according to live+same-day data posted by Showbuzz. The decline is particularly troubling for MTV given last year’s ratings were already a steep decline from 2015, in turn down from 2014. What’s more, concurrently aired simulcasts across multiple Viacom stations were also down: VH1 ratings were down 0.71 million viewers from 0.89 million last year, Comedy Central down 0.42 million viewers from 0.48 million last year, Spike down 0.43 million from 0.44 million, BET down 0.47 million from 0.49 million. Only TV Land and MTV 2 rose in viewership (respectively 0.39 million from 0.31 million last year, and  0.29 million from 0.20 million last year).

For several years MTV has been shifting its focus towards twitter and online viewing, and in that regard the 2017 VMAs were a success. The VMAs trended globally for 13 hours on twitter. From Sunday 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET the show was the number-one trending topic in the U.S. and held eight of Twitter’s top twelve U.S. trending topics at its peak Sunday night. It remains to be seen if MTV’s real time sharing of monetized videos from the award show on social media will net significant profits or be emulated by other award shows with similarly declining TV ratings. Links to watch all of the 2017’s VMA performances are at the bottom of this post.

So what exactly were people tweeting? Below are word clouds of the tweets with trending hashtags related to VMAs (via WordHashtagUS) along with top tweet examples of each (followed by the full list of nominees/winners and the aforementioned links to watch all of the night’s performances):



Video of the Year

Kendrick Lamar — “Humble”

  • Bruno Mars — “24K Magic”
  • Alessia Cara — “Scars to Your Beautiful”
  • DJ Khaled (featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller) — “Wild Thoughts”
  • The Weeknd — “Reminder”

Artist of the Year

Ed Sheeran

  • Bruno Mars
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Ariana Grande
  • Lorde
  • The Weeknd

Best New Artist


  • Kodak Black
  • Young M.A
  • Julia Michaels
  • Noah Cyrus
  • SZA

Best Collaboration

Zayn and Taylor Swift — “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever”

  • Charlie Puth (featuring Selena Gomez) — “We Don’t Talk Anymore”
  • DJ Khaled (featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller) — “Wild Thoughts”
  • D.R.A.M. (featuring Lil Yachty) — “Broccoli”
  • The Chainsmokers (featuring Halsey) — “Closer”
  • Calvin Harris (featuring Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry and Big Sean) — “Feels”

Best Pop

Fifth Harmony (featuring Gucci Mane) — “Down”

  • Shawn Mendes — “Treat You Better”
  • Ed Sheeran — “Shape of You”
  • Harry Styles — “Sign of the Times”
  • Katy Perry (featuring Skip Marley) – “Chained to the Rhythm”
  • Miley Cyrus — “Malibu”

Best Hip Hop

Kendrick Lamar — “Humble”

  • Big Sean — “Bounce Back”
  • Chance the Rapper — “Same Drugs”
  • DJ Khaled (featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne) — “I’m the One”
  • D.R.A.M. (featuring Lil Yachty) — “Broccoli”
  • Migos (featuring Lil Uzi Vert) — “Bad and Boujee”

Best Dance

Zedd and Alessia Cara — “Stay”

  • Kygo and Selena Gomez — “It Ain’t Me”
  • Calvin Harris — “My Way”
  • Major Lazer (featuring Justin Bieber and MØ) — “Cold Water”
  • Afrojack (featuring Ty Dolla $ign) — “Gone”

Best Rock

Twenty One Pilots — “Heavydirtysoul”

  • Coldplay — “A Head Full of Dreams”
  • Fall Out Boy — “Young and Menace”
  • Green Day — “Bang Bang”
  • Foo Fighters — “Run”

Best Fight Against the System

  • Alessia Cara — “Scars to Your Beautiful”
  • Logic (featuring Damian Lemar Hudson) – “Black Spiderman”
  • The Hamilton Mixtape – “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)”
  • Big Sean — “Light”
  • Taboo (featuring Shailene Woodley) – “Stand Up / Stand N Rock #NoDAPL”
  • John Legend — “Surefire”

Best Cinematography

Kendrick Lamar — “Humble.” (Director of Photography: Scott Cunningham)

  • Imagine Dragons — “Thunder” (Director of Photography: Matthew Wise)
  • Ed Sheeran — “Castle on the Hill” (Director of Photography: Steve Annis)
  • DJ Shadow (featuring Run the Jewels) — “Nobody Speak” (Director of Photography: David Proctor)
  • Halsey — “Now or Never” (Director of Photography: Kristof Brandl)

Best Direction

Kendrick Lamar — “Humble.” (Directors: Dave Meyers and The Little Homies)

  • Katy Perry (featuring Skip Marley) — “Chained to the Rhythm” (Director: Mathew Cullen)
  • Bruno Mars — “24K Magic” (Directors: Cameron Duddy and Bruno Mars)
  • Alessia Cara — “Scars to Your Beautiful” (Director: Aaron A)
  • The Weeknd — “Reminder” (Director: Glenn Michael)

Best Art Direction

Kendrick Lamar — “Humble.” (Art Director: Spencer Graves)

  • Bruno Mars — “24K Magic” (Art Director: Alex Delgado)
  • Katy Perry (featuring Migos) — “Bon Appétit” (Art Director: Natalie Groce)
  • DJ Khaled (featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller) — “Wild Thoughts” (Art Director: Damian Fyffe)
  • The Weeknd — “Reminder” (Art Directors: Lamar C Taylor and KID. STUDIO)

Best Visual Effects

Kendrick Lamar — “Humble.” (Visual Effects: Jonah Hall of Timber)

  • A Tribe Called Quest — “Dis Generation” (Visual Effects: Brandon Hirzel of Bemo)
  • Kyle (featuring Lil Yachty) — “iSpy” (Visual Effects: Max Colt and Tomash Kuzmytskyi of GloriaFX)
  • Katy Perry (featuring Skip Marley) — “Chained to the Rhythm” (Visual Effects: MIRADA)
  • Harry Styles — “Sign of the Times” (Visual Effects: Cédric Nivoliez of ONE MORE)

Best Choreography

Kanye West — “Fade” (Choreographers: Teyana Taylor, Guapo, Matthew Pasterisa, Jae Blaze and Derek Watkins)

  • Ariana Grande (featuring Nicki Minaj) — “Side to Side” (Choreographers: Brian and Scott Nicholson)
  • Kendrick Lamar — “Humble.” (Choreographer: Dave Meyers)
  • Sia — “The Greatest” (Choreographer: Ryan Heffington)
  • Fifth Harmony (featuring Gucci Mane) — “Down” (Choreographer: Sean Bankhead)

Best Editing

Young Thug — “Wyclef Jean” (Editors: Ryan Staake and Eric Degliomini)

  • Future — “Mask Off” (Editor: Vinnie Hobbs of VHPost)
  • Lorde — “Green Light” (Editor: Nate Gross of Exile Edit)
  • The Chainsmokers (featuring Halsey) — “Closer” (Editor: Jennifer Kennedy)
  • The Weeknd — “Reminder” (Editor: Red Barbaza)

Song of the Summer

Lil Uzi Vert — “XO Tour Llif3”

  • Ed Sheeran — “Shape of You”
  • Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee (featuring Justin Bieber) — “Despacito (Remix)”
  • Shawn Mendes — “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”
  • Fifth Harmony (featuring Gucci Mane) — “Down”
  • Camila Cabello (featuring Quavo) — “OMG”
  • DJ Khaled (featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller) — “Wild Thoughts”
  • Demi Lovato — “Sorry Not Sorry”

Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award



Artist Songs (Click link to watch)
Cardi B “Bodak Yellow”
Bleachers “Don’t Take the Money”
Khalid “Location”
“Young Dumb & Broke”
Main show
Kendrick Lamar “DNA”
Ed Sheeran
Lil Uzi Vert
“Shape of You”
“XO Tour Llif3”
Julia Michaels “Issues”
Shawn Mendes “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”
Lorde “Homemade Dynamite”
Fifth Harmony
Gucci Mane
Miley Cyrus “Younger Now”
Demi Lovato “Sorry Not Sorry”
Pink Medley:

Kyle “iSpy”
James Arthur “Say You Won’t Let Go”
Alessia Cara “Scars to Your Beautiful”
Alessia Cara
Thirty Seconds to Mars
Travis Scott
“Walk on Water”
“Butterfly Effect”
Rod Stewart
“Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?”
Katy Perry
Nicki Minaj
“Swish Swish”

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