By Hayden Wright
The 2017 MTV Video Music Awards opened with a fiery set from Kendrick Lamar, who performed his hit “DNA” on a stage packed with pyrotechnics. One stunt gave way to another until it seemed the whole stage was engulfed in fire—a dramatic invocation to kick off the show.
Kendrick began the set on a raised stage and worked his way to the ground level, where a circle of karate fighters stood around a stuntman in a flaming jumpsuit. That’s literal flames—his suit was on fire. As backup dancers doused the performer with a fire extinguisher, Lamar transitioned to “Humble.” A chain-link backdrop burst into a blaze as the audience cheered Kendrick’s stagecraft.
Kendrick Lamar leads this year’s VMA nominations with eight nods in total, including Video of the Year and Artist of the Year. His visuals for “Humble” earned nominations for best cinematography, direction, visual effects and art direction.
Katy Perry is hosting the show at Inglewood, CA’s The Forum arena. Plenty of surprises, premieres and unscripted moments can be expected from music’s liveliest award show.