From New Jersey Devils hockey player P.K. Subban to the actors from "The Sopranos," the Jersey references were overwhelming and tired, like Maniscalo's joke that Bruce Springsteen was the Garden State's only social media influencer.
But the show finally got beyond the cliches at the end of the show by recognizing the rap community that came out of Jersey with a medley of songs by Redman, Fetty Wap, Wyclef Jean, Naughty by Nature and Queen Latifah.
Billie Eilish has won best new artist at the MTV VMAs, but the breakout artist's demanding touring schedule kept her from accepting the award in person.
She was up against tough competition including Lil Nas X, Lizzo, Rosalia, H.E.R. and Ava Max.
Eilish said in a video acceptance speech that she wanted to attend, but she was touring in Russia.
Taylor Swift has shared the stage with her collaborator and co-executive producer Todrick Hall as she won two awards at Monday's Video Music Awards for her song "You Need to Calm Down."
Swift turned to Hall and mouthed a surprised response after her name was called as the winner of video of the year.
Swift brought up the cast of the music video to thank fans for supporting the message of the song, which she said was a world "where we are all treated equally under the law, regardless of who we love, regardless of how we identify."
She noted the video prompted a petition for the Equality Act, a legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation.
During an earlier win for the video for good award, Swift let Hall deliver the acceptance speech.
Missy Elliott has proven why she was one of the best and innovative rappers of all time with an incredible medley of her most famous songs and music video looks from the black puffy bag dress for "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)" to camouflage for "Get Ur Freak On."
The Grammy-winning rapper who made a triumphant return to the VMAs for the first time since 2003, was backed up by a talented group of dancers for songs like "Work It," and "Pass That Dutch" and "Lose Control."
Holding her Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, she said she would try to hold back the tears, but the award meant so much to her.
She thanked Janet Jackson, who she named as an inspiration for her music videos along with Madonna and Busta Rhymes, and said she missed singer Aaliyah, who died 18 years ago in a plane crash.
She dedicated the award to the dance community as her dancers erupted behind her, saying, "Ya'll are the icing on the cake, ya'll are the beat to the heart."
J Balvin and Rosalia have noted how important it was to perform on the MTV VMAs singing in Spanish as others during the ceremony commented on immigration in the United States.
The two won for best Latin music video for "Con Altura" and noted that they would later be performing on the broadcast in Spanish.
Presenters French Montana said that as an immigrant, he felt like immigrants "make this country." Actress and presenter Alison Brie added that the way immigrants were treated in this country was "unconstitutional and frankly disgusting."
Cardi B has picked up the first televised award of the MTV VMAs for best hip-hop video for "Money," but the screams of fans were so loud, she said, "I can't hear myself."
The rapper thanked her music video director, Jora Frantzis, and her glam team for making her look good in the video, including smoothing out her cellulite.
She ended her speech by thanking Jesus repeatedly. Cardi B is nominated for four total awards, including artist of the year.
Taylor Swift has opened the VMAs with a performance of her LGBT anthem "You Need To Calm Down" flanked by colorful dancers, then brought it back to her roots by bringing out her guitar to sing the title track of her new album "Lover."
Swift is tied with Ariana Grande as the most nominated act at Monday's VMAs with 10 each, including video of the year.
The words "Equality Act" were shown over her performance, a reference to her support of the Equality Act legislation that would prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
2019 is the year of Missy Elliott: The rap icon became the first female rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame earlier this year and she will also earn the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at Monday's MTV Video Music Awards.
Elliott, who has released colorful, eccentric and groundbreaking music videos throughout her career, will also perform during the show which kicks off at 8 p.m. Eastern at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Others performers include Taylor Swift, Lizzo, Normani, Bad Bunny, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, H.E.R., J Balvin, Lil Nas X, Rosalia, Big Sean, Ozuna, A$AP Ferg and Jonas Brothers. Megan Thee Stallion, Ava Max and CNCO will perform during the pre-show.
Swift and Ariana Grande are the top-nominated acts.