Though there were plenty of incidents that made me groan or gasp in surprise during last night’s VMAs, the worst moment of all came when the programmers decided to cut off Julia Michaels’ effervescent live performance of her hit single “Issues” and head directly into a commercial break. I screamed at the TV and almost threw my laptop to the ground. How were they going to play her like this? Last night should’ve been her big TV moment.
While Michaels didn’t take home the coveted Best New Artist award that came down to the wire, but eventually went to Khalid, she did beat out SZA, Young MA, Noah Cyrus and even Kodak Black to vie with the American Teen star for the crown. Besides, it doesn’t take winning an arbitrary award category like that one to prove that Michaels has been quietly blowing up the pop world.
She comes from a long line of behind-the-scenes songwriters turned stars in their own right, and released her debut solo EP Nervous System at the end of July. Ever since then, it seems like everyone has been spotlighting her breakout. Michaels has written hits for the likes of Demi Lovato, Fifth Harmony, Hailee Steinfeld, and Gwen Stefani, but her solo hit “Issues” reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart all on its own.
Here’s the full clip of her performing it at the VMAs that MTV cut off last night: