Beyoncé paced the VMAs with 11 total nominations for Lemonade, and then played five tracks from the album during an epic performance during the ceremony.
After being introduced by Serena Williams, who said Beyoncé was there to “change this city,” the singer took the stage to recite the opening lines from Lemonade, before launching into album opener, “Pray You Catch Me.” She then picked up a bat and ran into “Hold Up,” before hitting “Sorry,” “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” and album closer “Formation.”
As the performance ended, Beyoncé and her dancers created the gender symbol for women. The crowd gave Beyoncé a standing ovation.
The showing was Beyoncé’s second at an awards show this summer. Back in June, the singer kicked off the BET Awards with an unannounced performance, where she sang “Freedom” alongside Kendrick Lamar.
Rumors that Beyoncé would appear on the VMAs kicked into high gear during the days leading up to the ceremony. On Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported Beyoncé was in “top-secret rehearsals” for the show. Just before the red carpet started on Sunday, MTV confirmed the news via Twitter.
Beyoncé has a long history with the VMAs. She went public with her pregnancy from the VMAs stage in 2011, and received the show’s Video Vanguard Award in 2014, performing a 20-minute medley of songs from her career.