Cardi B kicked off the awards show by pretending to be holding her newborn baby before displaying the VMA Moon Man trophy.
Cardi B would return later on as she accepted the award for Best New Artist. "A couple of months ago a lot of people were saying you're gambling your career, you're having a baby, what are you doing ... I carried a baby and I'm still winning awards. I want to thank all of my friends, my family that supported me," she said.
Other big winners of the night included Nicki Minaj winning the award for Best Hip-Hop video for "Chun-Li," Ariana Grande winning Best Pop video for "No Tears Left to Cry," Post Malone winning Song of the Year for "Rockstar," J. Balvin winning the award for Best Latin video for "Mi Gente," Camila Cabello winning the award for Artist of the Year, Childish Gambino winning the Video with a Message award for "This is America"
Jennifer Lopez took home the prestigious Video Vanguard Award after she performed onstage a number of hit songs from throughout her career including "Ain't Your Mama," "Love Don't Cost a Thing, "Get Right," "I'm Real" alongside rapper Ja Rule and "Jenny From the Block," among others.
Lopez also won Best Collaboration for "Dinero" featuring DJ Khaled and Cardi B.
Madonna presented the award for Video of the Year. She began by paying tribute to the recently deceased Aretha Franklin, whom she thanked for making her career possible after sharing how she got her start in music.
Cabello then won Video of the Year for "Havana." "This is a surreal moment," she said of winning the award and meeting Madonna.
Shawn Mendes was the first performance of the night after he was introduced by Cardi B. The pop star sang "In My Blood" from his self-titled third studio album. The performance featured Mendes getting drenched in water as rain dropped down from the ceiling.
Bazzi, Logic and Ryan Tedder, Panic! At the Disco, Jessie Reyez, Minaj, Hayley Kiyoko, Grande, boy band PRETTYMUCH, Travis Scott, Juice Wrld and Latin artist Maluma.
Malone and 21 Savage performed "Rockstar" followed by Aerosmith who took the stage as the final performance of the night.
Minaj's performance featured the rapper at a location outside the VMAs. The mini-concert was Egyptian-themed and featured Minaj and backup dancers dressed in gold as she unleashed "Majesty" and "Fefe" from her recently released fourth studio album, Queen.
Political moments from the night included Logic wearing a shirt that read "[Expletive] the wall" during his performance and awards presenter Kevin Hart comparing the VMAs to a sporting event where players can kneel.
"But at this game, you guys can kneel. You can do whatever the hell you want. There's no old white man that can stop you," the comedian said in reference to NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem.
"You never know what's going to happen at the VMAs. I mean beefs pop off, bad language, people sending out crazy tweets. It's basically like your typical day at the White House. In your face, Trump-suck it!" he said afterwards.