After high-profile performances this year at Coachella, Governors Ball, and more festivals, and a month before the kick-off of her Melodrama World Tour, Lorde took the stage at the VMAs Sunday night to perform “Homemade Dynamite” from her album released in June. Only, she didn’t sing the track.
Upon stepping on stage, Lorde placed a cassette in a boom box, mimed pressing play, and began an interpretive dance to the track, not even lip-syncing. At times, she was joined by other dancers who lifted her around the stage, but at no point did she make any attempt to sing.
Before the show began, the singer noted on Twitter well before the performance that she wasn’t well, so perhaps that explains why she didn’t sing. “You can’t tell in these pictures but i have the flu so bad i needed an IV #showgoeson #cutelilproppedupcorpse,” she wrote.
“We love you babe! Feel better (still slayed)!” the official VMAs Twitter account wrote in response.
Not surprisingly, the audience was confused, including Maroon 5’s Adam Levine.
Fans were quick to come to her defense on Twitter.
The New Zealand singer was awarded/nominated for Artist of the Year. The category was ungendered for the first time in history, pitting her against Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, and Bruno Mars, as well as fellow pop star Ariana Grande. Her video for “Green Light” also won/was nominated for Best Editing.
Melodrama, the singer’s second studio, debuted at no. 1 on the Billboard 200. Lorde kicks off her Melodrama tour next week, Sept. 2, at the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle, Wash., followed by two festival stops in Las Vegas before heading to Europe on Sept. 26.