By Raisa Bruner
August 28, 2017

Pink took viewers on a trip through her long, hit-laden song history on Sunday night during MTV’s Video Music Awards. It was a wild, impressive ride. From the classic 2001 hit “Get The Party Started” to her emotional new single “What About Us,” the star singer managed to fit many of her most memorable tracks into an ambitious, old-school—and fun—medley.

Pink performed: on top of a floating Cadillac, while driving a lawnmower across the stage, kicking it in front of a giant TV and, naturally, dancing to “What About Us.” Then, she ventured down into the crowd for an audience walk-through. All the while serving her signature powerhouse vocals. In short, Pink proved the VMAs can still deliver impressive musical spectacle, emphasis on the music.

Introduced by Ellen DeGeneres, Pink took home the night’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award for her decades-spanning career in the spotlight. (Last year’s winner was Rihanna.) “Recently I was driving my daughter to school and she said to me ‘Mama, I’m the ugliest girl I know,'” Pink said in her acceptance speech.

“I went home and I made a Powerpoint presentation for her. And in that presentation were androgynous rock stars and artists that live their truth and are probably made fun of every day of their life,” she said, naming greats like Michael Jackson, Prince and Janis Joplin. She also reminded her daughter—and the audience—that she has often been called out for her own looks.

“So, baby girl, we don’t change,” Pink concluded. “We take the gravel out of the shell, and we make a pearl. And we help other people to change, so we can see more kinds of beauty.”

Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com.

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