Among the faces missing at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards in New Jersey on September 12, 2023, were some big names. Mom of three Beyonce, in the midst of her Renaissance World Tour, was nowhere to be seen. Nor was Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, whose wife Kourtney Kardashian recently underwent urgent fetal surgery during her pregnancy — a development that necessitated the musician temporarily abandoning his European tour with the band.
Embattled hitmaker Lizzo was nowhere to be found at the shindig, amid an increasingly volatile legal battle with dancers who accused her of sexual harassment — an accusation she’s called “outrageous.” And Machine Gun Kelly (nee MGK, nee Colson Baker) also seems to have ditched the festivities, as he continues to work on his relationship with Transformers star Megan Fox after a near breakup earlier this year. Justin Bieber was also noticeably absent, leaving a red carpet gap where his wife Hailey Bieber would normally dazzle in a high fashion look.
Despite a very big year with her massive hit “Flowers” and the recent drop of “Used to be Young,” Miley Cyrus seemed like a shoo in for the show. However, the former Hannah Montana star didn’t show, despite the appearance of her pal Selena Gomez making an unexpected appearance on the iconic red carpet in a skintight red floral dress with a deep slit.
And finally, Ariana Grande didn’t show up — not surprising, since her controversial split from Dalton Gomez and subsequent alleged relationship with her Wicked co-star Ethan Slater. SZA skipped out on the show, as well.
Still, the show was notable for who DID show up. Olivia Rodrigo wowed in an old-Hollywood style silver gown, and Shakira showed up with her sons in an eye-popping golden goddess look. Jared Leto made a gawk-worthy, gothic appearance as well, and Taylor Swift swept onto the red carpet in a stunning black dress with a thigh high slit.
So while we missed a few stars, there was still a galaxy of them to gaze upon.