When Nicki Minaj called out Miley Cyrus and gave her the crazy eye while accepting her award for Best Hip Hop Video at the 2015 MTV VMAs on Sunday night, all our jaws collectively dropped.
Partly because we love a good dose of celebrity beef brewing in front of our very eyes, and partly because Nicki Minaj's facial expression was downright terrifying. Relive the show-stopping moment right here:
Since the moment it aired, fans all over the world have been questioning the legitimacy of this feud: Was it staged or was it real? Like with many things in life, the only way to really get to the bottom of this is to examine all of the evidence and come to a calculated, rational conclusion. Let's go!
Evidence that it WAS staged:
1. Nicki smiles
Just after she makes her "What's good?" remark, and just before the cameras flash frantically to Miley's reaction, you see Nicki flash a cheeky smile. You only see it for a split-second but it's there, suggesting that she's not actually that mad at all.
2. MTV News was prepared to roll out Miley/Nicki feud images as soon as it happened
The Instagram post went out super fast, indicating that either they had a lightening speed photo-shopper on-hand to whip up this colorful display, or that MTV knew it was going to happen, so had time to prepare. Perhaps it's the latter.
3. Nicki's post-VMA tweet
Either she's laughing at Miley in spite, or she's admitting that it was all a joke. The love hearts suggest that she's not taking it too seriously.
4. Nicki already had a make-up stint with T-Swift earlier on
Following their beef over race and women in the music industry, Nicki and Taylor Swift made-up by opening the show together. That was clearly a stunt (and kind of awkward in my eyes), so what's not to say she would have been totally up for another later?
5. MTV are the kings and queens of staged TV
Ummm... The Hills anyone? If any channel was to stage drama, it would be this one.
Evidence that it was NOT staged:
1. Nicki would never agree to a staged feud which let Miley have the last word
Think about it, would Nicki Minaj really let Miley make that "it's just an award" argument," making her look stupid in front of millions? After all, this is a woman who has been pretty outspoken about what the VMAs mean for herself and other artists of color. She wouldn't just let another artist have the last word.
2. MTV cut Nicki's mic
After Miley replied with her comment about the press and being a gracious loser at awards ceremonies, the camera cut back to Nicki who was clearly saying "don't play with me, bitch." But you can't hear it because MTV cut her mic, clearly afraid that she would say something that might get them in trouble with the FCC.
3. Why would Miley agree to a situation that would never be favorable to her?
Whichever way you look at it, the feud between the two was essentially about race - how women get nominated for the same things that the black artists do, yet the latter fails to get beyond the hip-hop category, while the white artists go on to win Video of the Year.
Would Miley, a white woman, agree to a publicity stunt that involves such incredibly sensitive issues? Absolutely not.
4. Miley was very taken a-back
And her response seemed very rushed. If the MTV producers knew this fight would occur, wouldn't they have helped Miley come up with a better response than "the media twists your words?" It's a bit weak, don't you think?
5. Miley's family looked pretty shocked!
They clearly weren't expecting Nicki to blow up in Miley's face either. Just look at her mom's expression!
6. Nicki's very public thank you to Taylor
Did Miley receive any kind of loving? Nope. Because Nicki is NOT. A. FAN.
7. MTV representative has allegedly confirmed that it was not staged
A journalist at Mashable has stated that a representative from MTV told him that the beef between Miley and Nicki was not staged. A similar report from US Weekly went as far as to say that Nicki was "livid" about what Miley said and that the "anger was very real."
So, the evidence is in!
There is an overwhelming amount of evidence to suggest that Miley wasn't expecting Nicki to throw epic shade on her in such a dramatic way in front of millions on Sunday. Her shocked reaction, her family's gasps, Nicki's muted mic and the confirmations of MTV representatives all point to the fact that the beef was very real.
Yet, we mustn't forget that this is MTV after all, and stars have a long history of staging feuds, especially at awards shows. For all we know, the joke could also be on us (see Nicki's "LMFAOOO!" tweet above!) and until we get an official statement from either star, we can only speculate.
What do YOU think?