Taylor Swift Opens The 2019 VMAs By Performing ‘You Need To Calm Down’ And The Live Debut Of ‘Lover’

Before the VMAs began, Taylor Swift teased something exciting: Her show-opening performance would feature two songs, one of which she’s never played live before. She said in an Instagram story, “I have something VMAs related to tell you, and that thing is that I’m not just gonna be opening up with one song. I get to do two! One of the songs I’ll be performing is one that I’ve never performed live before, so wish me luck.”

Since then, Swift stans have been wondering what Swift is going to perform, and now the answers are here. She began with a colorful performance of “You Need To Calm Down,” which wasn’t terribly unlike the song’s vibrant video. She then took the stage by herself for a cool-down rendition of “Lover,” which had the crowd swaying along in a real lighters-in-the-sky moment. For the first time performing the song live, it was very on point.

In addition to performing, Swift is one of the most nominated artists at the VMAs: She and Ariana Grande each earned ten nods. Swift’s work is up for Video Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best Pop, Video For Good, Best Direction, Best Editing, and Best Art Direction (all for “You Need To Calm Down”), as well as Best Visual Effects, Best Collaboration, and Best Cinematography (all for “Me!” featuring Brendan Urie).

This performance comes during a particularly prosperous time for Swift. It was just revealed that Lover is already the best-selling album of the year in the US despite only being out for two days. Additionally, it was also revealed that she will be one of the first musical guests on the upcoming season of Saturday Night Live.

Watch clips of Swift’s performance above, and find the full list of this year’s nominees here.