The Most Viral Moments from the 2019 VMA Nominees

Diane J. Cho

The roster for this year’s VMAs is teeming with megastars who’ve each had a killer year.

Between Ariana Grande inspiring us to say “thank u, next” and Lil Nas X taking over country music with his chart-topping hit, “Old Town Road,” the awards show is about to be epic, especially since the star-studded lineup of performers includes sweet new couple Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes, Lizzo, Bad Bunny, J Balvin and Taylor Swift. It is the VMAs, after all — the same show that’s given us Britney and Madonna’s famous kiss, Miley Cyrus’ twerk-tastic performance with Robin Thicke and Lady Gaga’s infamous meat dress.

Let’s take a look back at this year’s nominees and their most viral moments ahead of Monday night’s show, which will surely produce plenty more Internet gold.

Lizzo Shoots the Shoot with Sasha Flute

The pop sensation, who is up for this year’s Best New Artist honor, had a breakthrough year thanks to her many talents. Not only can she sing and dance, Lizzo can also play the flute while doing both. Press play on this mind-blowing clip that shows the classically trained flautist playing a snippet of her song, “BYE Bitch,” on her flute (which she named Sasha Flute) while smashing the viral dance, the shoot.

Taylor Swift Breaks the Internet with Cryptic Palm Trees

While scrolling through Instagram, casual fans may have paused to admire this whimsical post from February and thought, “Palm trees and stars… how nice,” while die-hard Swifties stopped to strap on their investigative hard hats to decode clues about Swift’s new album Lover. At the time, the singer, who is famous for dropping hints about upcoming music, had to have known that posting the landscape shot with seven palm tree emojis as the caption would cause chaos — and it did. Once the photo hit the ‘net, all hell broke loose as fan theories about the singer’s then-mysterious upcoming seventh studio album flooded Twitter.

“My theory: Okay so in this picture there are 4 palm trees on the left (4 country albums). There are two palm trees on the right (2 pop albums). There is one large palm tree in the middle. This represents her new album. It’s gonna be a diff genre than anything she’s ever done,” one user tweeted.

“Her latest photos have a colour scheme you guys!! I think we’re on to something!!!!!” another added.

The palm tree post became the first of many clues, which eventually led to Swift announcing that Lover will be released on Aug. 23, and the track list includes her current singles, “Me!” and “You Need to Calm Down.”

Billie Eilish’s “bad guy” Inspires Famous Figures to Bust a Move

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of the name Billie Eilish. The 17-year-old is currently taking over the music industry with her soft, sultry voice and horror-inspired videos. The star, whose A-list fans include Julia Roberts, Melissa McCarthy and Dave Grohl, released the video for her song “bad guy,” which now has more than 474 million views and has become the No. 1 song in the country.

The viral single inspired a ton of hilarious memes featuring dance breaks from:

Captain America

Posh Spice

Darth Vader

Lil Nas X’s Record-Breaking Hit Becomes a Kid-Approved Anthem

No one has taken over country music quite like Lil Nas X, since he released his viral single, “Old Town Road.” The song even surpassed Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s “One Sweet Day” as the longest-running No. 1 song in music history.

The catchy track, which was remixed by Billy Ray Cyrus, even caught the attention of North West.

Soon after, the song continued to explode once the rapper posted this performance he gave to an auditorium full of fifth graders, who sang along to every lyric, word for word.

Ariana Grande Makes Heartbreak Feel Totally Fetch

Following her engagement-then-split from Pete Davidson, Grande released this year’s breakup anthem, “thank u, next.” The single and its Mean Girls-inspired video, featuring cool mom Kris Jenner, has reached more than 414 million YouTube views and produced a ton of hilarious memes that truly capture how unpredictable love can be.

One minute, you can feel head-over-heels about a person (insert Grande’s 2018 album, Sweetener), and then the next moment, you can find yourself extremely single but loving yourself anyway (cue Grande’s followup 2019 album, thank u, next).

We Pretend Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper Fell in Love in Front of Our Eyes

A Star Is Born spurred a steady stream of romance rumors between costars Gaga and Cooper, but the rumor mill spun out of control once the two performed their hit, “Shallow,” during the 2019 Oscars. The undeniable onstage chemistry had viewers almost convinced that the on-screen couple had to be a real-life one (although that was never the case), and the Internet immediately went to work creating these hysterical memes.

Normani’s Latest Single ‘Motivates’ the Internet to Stan

Fifth Harmony’s breakout solo star Normani has solidified her spot as music’s artist to watch. Once the singer released the video for her latest single, “Motivation,” fans became vocal about how in awe they were of the star’s ability to sing and dance her butt off.

A few of her video highlights include this shot of her magically completing two pirouettes while seamlessly showing off her basketball skills.

Basketball Normani GIF by swerk - Find & Share on GIPHY

This insane group shot of her and her dancers twerking in unison on a chain-link fence…

Normani Motivation GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

… and, this jaw-dropping scene where she lands in a split after holding a headstand while wearing heels in the pouring rain.

Normani Motivation GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Fans immediately rushed to Twitter to process their thoughts.

The 2019 MTV Video Music Awards air live from Newark, New Jersey, on Monday, Aug. 26, at 8 p.m. ET.