Since it quickly became a foregone conclusion that One Direction would sweep tonight’s MTV Video Music Awards, attention quickly turned toward the ladies of the evening. Rihanna winning Video of the Year for “We Found Love” gave way to thunderous applause, and the MTV cameras spared us the awkwardness of panning over to her abusive ex Chris Brown (a fellow winner) to see his reaction. Even though we really, really wanted to see how he responds to her video about suffering at the hands of a Chris lookalike. (And now we know that Chris kissed her! Blech.)
The other lady VMA audiences were eagerly looking forward to was Taylor Swift, who debuted the first live performance of her new single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Hers was one of the more involved performances, with an entire set piece where she’s in the recording studio, then basically leading a flash mob down the stage, all while wearing red stripes that bring to mind a sexy Where’s Waldo.
It’s a dancey song and combined with Rihanna’s win had everyone in a “you go, girl!” mood—especially considering the very end of the song. As you can see from the two .gifs above, the camera lingers on Taylor standing tall and proud, then cuts over to her ex Taylor Lautner. It almost looks as if he nods approvingly at her; at the very least, he’s smiling and not looking uncomfortable at her dubsteppy break-up ballad.
It’s most likely that “Never Ever” isn’t about Lautner, since he and Swift broke up in 2009 after three months of dating and there didn’t seem to be hard feelings involved. Joe Jonas has already denied that the song is about him, so current bets seem to be on Jake Gyllenhaal since Taylor yells at a Jake lookalike in her music video.
And yet, with all this goodwill, you get the impression that MTV was trying to force an awkward confrontation with their tricky camera work. Instead, they captured a respectful mind meld between two one-time lovers. Lautner seems really supportive of Swift, who herself held the stage proudly and without all of those fake “oh, are you paying attention to me?” reaction faces. Not that this is one of my favorite Swift songs at all, but she certainly owned it.
I’m proud of you, Taylor-squared.
.gifs: incomparablyme on Tumblr