Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande hit MTV VMAs 2020 stage with 'Rain on Me' duet

The performance was really more about Lady Gaga, who told the audience, "Be kind. Mask up."
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/ Source: TODAY
By Randee Dawn

Let it rain!

At least, when it comes to the 2020 MTV VMAs Sunday night, where Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga took the stage for a joint performance of their smash duet, "Rain on Me," just moments after they won the best collaboration and song of the year prizes.

The house-meets-dance-pop song debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart at the start of June, making it Gaga's fifth and Grande's fourth U.S. No. 1 tune. It appears on Gaga's album "Chromatica," and it was her first time at the VMAs since 2013; Grande performed last in 2018.

Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga performing (however briefly) at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards.Kevin Winter / Getty Images for MTV

But since "Rain on Me" was released in the middle of the COVID-19 quarantine, we haven't had a chance to see them perform it together ... until Sunday night's show. (The futuristic, pink-tastic video was at least something.)

It actually turned out to be more of a Lady Gaga medley/celebration than it was a true duet, though the two divas did share the stage for a few moments.

The Lady Gaga medley kicked off with a partial performance of "911."Kevin Winter / Getty Images for MTV

The extended segment started out cold with Gaga, done up in a video-reminiscent bustier-studded leather outfit and a mask worthy of Bane hanging out in a bedroom set. She then slid down a pole into a room of mannequins and onto a stage set for a performance among masked dancers in outfits that shouted back to 1980s apocalyptic videos like, well, "Thriller." But the song? Well, it wasn't "Rain on Me" — it was another recent track, "911."

Lady Gaga was a woman of many outfits and many masks at the awards.Kevin Winter / Getty Images for MTV

But then, Gaga spoke to us all, calling out, "What's Up, MTV?" which turned out to be the introduction for "Rain." Gaga joined a newly costumed slew of masked singers, less apocalyptic than pink and "Rain"-music-video themed, which gave the other main lady of the hour, Ariana Grande, a chance to sashay onstage in a shiny tulip skirt and thick white platforms for the duet.

Were we done? We were not! Grande and Gaga disappeared into a rotating tower and only Gaga emerged: in a whole new slinky pink-and-black outfit. She strode up a flight of stairs to a piano shaped like ... well, a brain to lead us all into another performance of a new tune, "Stupid Love."

Is that a piano disguised as a brain? We think so!Kevin Winter / Getty Images for MTV

"I want you to love yourself tonight and every night," Gaga said once the performances were done. "Celebrate yourself ... Be kind, mask up. Be brave."

Now, we're never going to totally understand how they pulled all of that off — but it's safe to say that the whole thing has left us even more gaga for Gaga (who went on shortly after the performance to accept the artist of the year award). A totally Grande performance, all around.