When Beyoncé came to MTV’s Video Music Awards on Sunday night, she came to slay. In an extensive live performance—16 full minutes—the Queen herself sang and danced to a seamless medley of five of her songs from Lemonade, interspersed with excerpts of powerful poetry from Warsan Shire. The flawless performance earned her a standing ovation from the crowd, and hosts Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele were left speechless.
Starting off slow with an emotional rendition of “Pray You Catch Me,” a radiant Beyoncé owned the stage in a voluminous white cape—and then segued into an energetic version of “Hold Up,” accompanied by her troupe of dancers. They ran through “Sorry” and “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” saving “Formation” to finish it off, Beyoncé standing and smiling triumphantly in the center of a circle of backup dancers lying on the ground.
As expected, the crowd—and the internet—went wild for her unexpected performance. The comedians Key and Peele, who have been anchoring the awards show as chatty Twitter personalities, said they were both, for all intents and purposes, deceased.
“I’d give you a eulogy, but I’m also dead,” Key apologized to Peele.
Just a few minutes later, Beyoncé then won the award for “Best Female Video,” presented to her by four of the Final Five Olympic gymnasts: Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez, and Madison Kocian.
- Volodymyr Zelensky and the Spirit of Ukraine: TIME's 2022 Person of the Year
- Mickey Guyton Is TIME's 2022 Breakthrough Artist of the Year
- The 10 Best Nonfiction Books of 2022
- Column: What Elon Musk Gets Wrong About Free Speech
- The Forgotten Story of One of the First U.S. Soldiers Killed Overseas After Pearl Harbor
- Why You're More Likely to Get Sick in the Winter, According to New Research
- Column: What the Protests Tell Us About China's Future
- 18 Last-Minute Gifts for Everyone on Your List