The MTV VMAs are happening tonight. And there are several potentially big gossip storylines to watch out for. Nicki Minaj is hosting and performing. And Cardi B is also performing with Megan Thee Stallion. Nicki and Cardi in the same room? This beef has been going on a LONG time. And it’s the five year anniversary of the shoe throwing incident! Like pretty much exactly five years. Not much has changed either. They still don’t like each other. A LOT. So tonight… could be drama. Or, you know, maybe it’ll be chill. In the old days of MTV, the executives would almost encourage it. After all, VMAs were forged in scandal and controversy – from Madonna to Eminem to Howard Stern to Britney to Kanye and Beyoncé and Taylor and more…
Speaking of Taylor, she too is one of the storylines, and not just because she’s been nominated for so many awards. Taylor’s attendance at the VMAs has not been confirmed but the VMAs is where she announced Midnights last year. Midnights is up for multiple nominations this year. And we know she likes a full circle moment and we know even better that she LOOOOVES a trophy.
But Taylor, in addition to her prolific songwriting and her overwhelming success as an entertainer, is also known for beef. And her latest supposed beef has been making headlines these last few days, especially after the release of Olivia Rodrigo’s new album, GUTS. Here’s a quick recap, just in case some of you haven’t heard.
Olivia was Taylor’s biggest fan and when she broke through in 2020, she was always talking about how much she admired Taylor and the influence she had on her and the affection was mutual. Then there was an issue over songwriting credits - click here for a breakdown - so on the new album, when “Vampire” came out, people were speculating that Olivia was singing about Taylor. Now that the entire album has dropped, there’s another song called “The Grudge” that people are dissecting the lyrics to, and they’re now pointing again at Taylor.
Olivia covers the new issue of Rolling Stone, it was just posted today, on VMA day of all days.
And she was asked about the rumours. Her response:
When I ask Rodrigo about the alleged feud, she’s sipping on a bowl of Italian wedding soup. She goes quiet. “I don’t have beef with anyone,” she says calmly. “I’m very chill. I keep to myself. I have my four friends and my mom, and that’s really the only people I talk to, ever. There’s nothing to say.” She adds: “There’s so many Twitter conspiracy theories. I only look at alien-conspiracy theories.”
Not sure about you…but that doesn’t convince me.
And on top of that Taylor’s been hanging out with Sabrina Carpenter, Olivia’s apparent rival.
All this pettiness and mess? It’s Taylor’s legacy. Because when she was Olivia’s age, a decade ago, this was her life. And remember, Olivia grew up in that, she was raised in it. Olivia is a Taylor Swift disciple – her confessional songwriting, her ability to lyricise her young adult f-cksh-t and reach beyond her specific age group…this is an extension of what Taylor has been doing her entire career. It’s a game of chess between teacher and pupil.
With a small but significant difference. Olivia’s been much more undercover about her fame. During the Sour era, when she really broke through, she wasn’t right up in our faces. It was the pandemic, no doubt, but even after the world opened up, Olivia wasn’t all that accessible. And also, Olivia doesn’t have a squad.
At the height of all of Taylor’s public disputes, she surrounded herself with a crew for support, and the message, even if it was unintended, was that she had so many friends who love her, so many girlfriends in her orbit, how could she possibly be a meangirl when she is such a girls’ girl.
Olivia doesn’t project that. She doesn’t roll five deep wherever she goes with other famous people like it’s a mobile private club. We don’t associate her with a crowd of models and movie stars.
And on that note, here’s Taylor last night after dinner with Gigi Hadid, Zoë Kravitz, Channing Tatum, Cara Delevingne, Blake Lively, and Ryan Reynolds.
Like I said, there’s no confirmation that she’ll be at the VMAs tonight but if she is, and she’s seated in the audience, I hope that director is on it for the cutaways. We need a LOT of cutaways.
Update: discussion thread up for this post on The Squawk.