The song, which also became the subject of a viral TikTok dance challenge, was performed by The Weeknd as the show’s opening number, from the roof of Edge NYC, in New York.
While hundreds of fans praised the performance itself, earlier some VMAs viewers had been confused by The Weeknd’s appearance.
A promotional picture showed him with a bloodied nose, cut lip and black eyes.
“Why does the weeknd look like he’s been punched in the face??? can someone explain?” one viewer tweeted.
“What the hell happened to The Weeknd’s face?” another wrote.
For those who weren’t aware, The Weeknd’s appearance is the result of makeup, which he first used for the visuals accompanying his latest album, After Hours.
In the official, now-award-winning video for “Blinding Lights”, he appears bruised and bloodied while staggering around a virtually empty Las Vegas.
Also at the virtual MTV VMAs, Lady Gaga took home five awards, including Best Song, Artist of the Year, and Best Collaboration.
Read The Independent’s review of After Hours here.
The Weeknd used his award acceptance speech to highlight police brutality against black people in the US, commenting: “It's really hard for me to celebrate right now and enjoy this moment, so, I'm just going to say, justice for Jacob Blake and justice for Breonna Taylor.”
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