Selena Gomez’s audience reactions went viral during the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards — and she has some thoughts.
“I will never be a meme again,” Gomez, 31, wrote via her Instagram Story after the Tuesday, September 12, awards show. “I’d rather sit still than be dragged for being myself. Much love.”
During the ceremony — which was held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey — fans spotted Gomez making funny faces in response to some of the night’s performances and nominees. At the start of the show, she was one of many attendees who appeared confused by Olivia Rodrigo’s intentional stage malfunction during her performance of “Vampire.”
“Selena’s face while Olivia’s performance says it all,” one fan captioned photos of Gomez’s shocked face via X (formerly known as Twitter) on Tuesday. Another wrote, “Not Selena Gomez covering her ears during Olivia Rodrigo’s performance.”
Gomez, for her part, clarified in the comments section of a BuzzFeed Celeb Instagram post that she “heard a loud noise and it scared me” while Rodrigo, 20, was singing.
The Only Murders in the Building star also scrunched her nose as Chris Brown’s name was read as one of the Best R&B nominees. “The stank face? She’s so real for that,” one fan tweeted on Tuesday, while another noted, “At least she’s honest.”
Gomez once again took to the comments section of an iHeartRadio AU Instagram post to address her reaction, writing, “Who cares lol.”
Brown, 34, has made headlines over the years for multiple controversies. He was arrested in 2009 for physically assaulting Rihanna, his then-girlfriend, and was sentenced to five years of probation. Brown was also required to complete community service and to undergo domestic violence counseling. (The now-exes called it quits in the wake of the scandal, briefly rekindling their romance in 2013.)
Reactions aside, Gomez also celebrated a big win. She took home the VMA trophy for Best Afrobeats for the song “Calm Down” with Rema. “Thank you so much, Rema, for believing in me, and thank you for choosing me to be a part of such an incredible song that’s been able to break records,” she said on Tuesday after being prompted to speak by Rema, 23. “Thank you to all of you for listening, for streaming. I could not be more honored, and I want to send all my love to Nigeria. Thank you.”
The award marked Gomez’s second VMAs win, having previously accepted Best Pop Video for her song “Come and Get It” in 2013.
Gomez — who wore a ruby red beaded floral gown at this year’s awards show — also poked fun at herself and bestie Taylor Swift via her Instagram Story. Sharing a snap taken inside the venue, she wrote, “She looks stunning I look constipated. Typical.”
Swift, 33, channeled her Reputation era on Tuesday in a black Versace dress with gold accents. She scored a total of nine awards, including her fourth Video of the Year award for her song “Anti-Hero.” Swift broke her own VMAs record with the victory.