The VMAs By the Numbers: A Panoply of Hosts, a Medley of ‘Lemonade,’ A Bevy of Selfies


The VMAs ran close to three hours last night, long enough that numerous viewers around the country were reported to have begun experiencing a rare form of brain malfunction wherein one imagines Rihanna is performing endlessly in different outfits. Other odd hallucinations — such Britney Spears wearing a bedazzling onesie that, on second glance, looked somewhat similar to another bathing suit worn by a certain Borat, or, more disturbingly, Jimmy Fallon morphing into Ryan Lochte and attempting to coax chuckles from a tired audience — were also reported. And so, asa way of parsing the crazy, interminable spectacle, we’ve broken it up into relatively digestible numbers:

Number of best outfits: 1, and only 1 — Chance the Rapper’s overalls

Price of Blue Ivy’s Dress: $11,ooo

Number of times Adele’s “Hello” was nominated: 7

Number of times Adele’s “Hello” won: 0

Number of times that felt like a travesty: 0

Number of miles between Adele and person in her song, “Hello”: 1,000,000, according to the lyrics

How many VMAs worth of time it’d take to drive that distance (non-stop, if egregiously speeding): 5555.55 VMAs (not so bad)

Number of Rihanna performances she’d end up watching if she drove 5555.55 VMAs: 22222.2

Number of awards for Beyoncé videos: 8

Number of Lemonade songs Beyoncé performed: 5 (in medley form: “Pray You Catch Me,” “Hold Up,” “Sorry,” “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” “Formation”)

Number of backup dancers making a near-perfect woman power sign at the end of “Formation”: 42

Number of people who didn’t deem this the best performance of the evening: Probably around however many people are currently polling for Donald Trump, right?

Number of plays of the below video it takes induce a coma: 4

Number of times one should ever place Britney Spears after Beyoncé: 0

Hands trying to grab Britney Spears during her performance of “Make Me”: 12

Hands trying to grab Britney Spears but instead beginning to morph into shadow ducks: 4

Times Britney Spears fought the good fight to institute the “rimjob dance move”: only 1, sadly

Number of Hosts: 5 (Keegan-Michael Key & Jordan Peele, Jay Pharoah, Nicole Byer, and DJ Khaled)

Amount of time it took Drake to get to the point and admit to “being in love” with Rihanna, before attempting to kiss her with on-brand awkward desire: 3:23 minutes

Number of times Drake kissed/tried to kiss Rihanna: 2

Performances by Rihanna: 4

Number of songs from her back catalog: 13

Number of words uttered by Michael Phelps in one of the most enthusiastic responses I;ve ever seen to Jimmy Fallon: 3

Number of other times Harry S. Truman has ever, in history, been described as a pop cultural role model: 0, I’m guessing

Likelihood that Kanye was actually first-name dropping Truman Capote: 25%

Likelihood that Kanye was referencing the character from the thought-provoking Jim Carrey movie: 90%

Quantity of balloons dropped: 100,000

Number of celebrities appearing in “Fight Song” Video: 34

Number of times Bernie tried to kiss Hillary: 0

Number of times Hillary shouted out to Hamilton: 1

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