Olivia Rodrigo showed up the the VMAs in a dress older than she is. Her strapless mermaid gown is from Atelier Versace’s Spring/Summer 2001 Haute Couture collection. I love this girl’s style. Everything is a reference the 90s or early aughts. There’s nothing modern about an 18-year-old wearing a steel-boned corset, but it doesn’t feel out of place among her peers. She says she has a Pinterest board where she saves inspiration pictures and loves having freedom to explore after years of Disney controlling her image. I wish I had a team who could turn my Pinterest dreams into reality.
After Justin Bieber opened the show, Olivia launched into her performance of “Good 4 U”. You could hear the audience at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn singing every lyric and dancing along to the music, but the coolest moment was when she smashed the camera lens with her mic. She’s that girl.
This marked one of Olivia’s first big TV performances. I think she’s only done SNL and a stripped-down performance of “Driver’s License” on the Brit Awards. She brought energy and life to the start of the Video Music Awards and for somebody so new, she had the stage presence to pull it off — interacting with fans and working the entire stage. Had it not been COVID-era, we would have probably seen a stage dive. I think the magic of Olivia is her relatability. She jumps around the stage singing exactly like her fans would lip-sync along to her records in front of the mirror at home. Maybe I’m just not used to seeing a rock’n’roll girl become this much of a popstar since… Avril Lavigne?
She won three of the six awards she was nominated for this year, including Best New Artist. And rightfully so. Accepting the Moon Person for Song of The Year, Olivia dedicated the award to “all of the other girls who write songs on their bedroom floor”. She said people will try and dim your light but speaking your mind is the most beautiful thing you can do. This girl feels so Disney but at the same time her perfect words feel weirdly authentic coming from her. And it’s weirdly repetitive because again we have a Disney star turned mega popstar making a VMAs debut. I can’t wait to see how her career and personality unfold as she moves into her 20s.