With most of music industry's top acts absent, the two-hour MTV Video Music Awards lacked star power and felt flat — and it was up to a pop veteran to bring the house down.
Jennifer Lopez, who earned the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award for lifetime achievement, provided the night's most energetic performance as she gave a lengthy performance of her hit songs.
She started off slow — Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott's unamused faces perfectly captured the vibe — but she hit a strong stride when she sang old smashes like Jenny from the Block, I'm Real — where Ja Rule joined her onstage — and All I Have, which showed the skilled dancer's vocal range.
But Lopez's speech was more stirring than her powerful performance: She was emotional as she thanked her children and beau Alex Rodriguez onstage at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
She was teary-eyed and looked at her "two little angels," as she called them, and said, "I stand here stronger and better than ever ... so thank you Max and Emme." She called Rodriguez, who filmed her performance with his phone, "my twin soul."
"My life is sweeter and better with you in it," she said.
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