When Lizzo arrived surprisingly early to the VMAs — I swear I saw pictures of her at 2:15, which is bonkers — I settled in for a star-studded parade. What ensued was more like a drought. For two hours, very few boldface names came through, and the risks they took weren’t as gleefully big and weird as we usually hope. And then Lil Nas X appeared, and it was like finding a vat of Evian after crawling through the Mojave.

[Photos: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock, Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock]