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Taylor Swift Opens VMAs 2019 With Colorful, Pro-LGBTQ Performance

No one does it like her. Taylor Swift opened the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards with her new songs “You Need to Calm Down” and “Lover.”

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The performance, which happened at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on Monday, August 26, started with Swift, 29, recreating her pro-LGBTQ “Calm Down” music video, complete with rainbows and a choreographed routine. She then pulled out her acoustic guitar and serenaded the crowd with her latest ballad.

Taylor Swift performs at the MTV Video Music Awards 2019. Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

The opening number comes three days after the release of the Pennsylvania native’s seventh album, Lover. The 18-track record is Swift’s first with Republic Records, to which she signed in 2018 before Scooter Braun purchased her previous label, Big Machine Label Group, giving him ownership of her past discography.

Related: The Wildest, Most Iconic MTV VMAs Moments of All Time

In a Sunday, August 25, interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Swift said that she would “absolutely” re-record her music after Braun’s deal. She told Good Morning America on Thursday, August 22, that she plans to remake her first six albums with Big Machine, though she cannot release them until November 2020. 

“Next year, I can record one through five all over again,” she said. “I just think that artists deserve to own their own work.”

Taylor Swift You Need To Calm Down MTV VMAs 2019
Taylor Swift performing at the MTV Video Music Awards 2019. MTV

The seven-time VMA winner is nominated in 12 categories this year, including Video of the Year and Song of the Year for her music video for “You Need to Calm Down,” which features several LGBT activists and stars such as Laverne Cox, Hayley Kiyoko and RuPaul. The singer is also nominated for the music video for “Me!,” the lead single off Lover and her duet with Panic! at the Disco’s Brendon Urie. 

In 2009, Swift was involved in a viral VMAs moment when Kanye West ambushed the stage as she accepted the award for Best Female Video for “You Belong With Me.” After he took Swift’s microphone, West, now 42, declared that Beyoncé, now 37, should have won the award instead for her “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” video. 

Related: Taylor Swift’s Song Lyrics Decoded: Celebrities Featured in Her Songs

Billboard recently reported that Beyoncé was seen crying backstage after the incident, while Pink was spotted scolding and giving West the middle finger for his behavior. 

“During the commercial break, [West] went back down to his seat and Pink walked up to him and got in his face,” former MTV News correspondent James Montgomery told the magazine. “I wasn’t close enough to hear the conversation, but she was pointing in his face and nodding her head back and forth, and giving him her two cents about how f–ked up this was and then stormed off.”

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