MTV VMAs: Emotional Ariana Grande, Madonna's Aretha tribute and Jennifer Lopez honoured with Michael Jackson award

Ariana Grande won the Best Pop prize at the MTV Video Music Awards. Credit: AP

Ariana Grande appeared emotional as she won the Best Pop prize at the MTV Video Music Awards.

No Tears Left To Cry was the American singer’s first single after a suicide bomber killed 22 people at her concert in Manchester in May last year.

Accepting the award for the song on stage at the Radio City Music Hall in New York on Monday, Grande, 25, thanked her family, fans and fiance Pete Davidson, who was in the audience.

Grande won the award over Camila Cabello, Demi Lovato, Ed Sheeran, Pink and Shawn Mendes.

The VMAs, which has gender neutral categories, was opened by rapper Cardi B who appeared on stage cradling an object wrapped in a towel.

Cardi B opened the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards. Credit: AP

The new mother, who led the way in nominations with 10, welcomed daughter Kulture in July, her first child with Migos rapper boyfriend Offset.

But fans anxious to get a first glimpse of the little girl were disappointed when she revealed she was carrying a Moonman, the statue awarded to VMA winners.

Cardi B, who debuted a new shorter hairstyle, then introduced Canadian singer Shawn Mendes on to the stage, who performed his hit single In My Blood.

Shawn Mendes performs 'In My Blood' onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Monday. Credit: AP

Madonna paid tribute to the late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin at the VMAs.

In her five-minute speech, she thanked Aretha for "empowering us all".

Madonna spoke about an audition at the start of her career when she sang Franklin's (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.

She told the audience about how she auditioned for "two very large French record producers" who "did not take me seriously".

She added: "And why should they? Some skinny ass white girl is going to come up here and belt out a song by one of the greatest soul singers that ever lived, a capella?"

Madonna paid tribute to Aretha Franklin at the MTV VMAs. Credit: AP

The Queen of Pop continued: "She led me to where I am today, and I know she influenced so many people in this house tonight, and I want to thank you Aretha for empowering all of us. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Long live the queen."

Madonna has since faced a backlash on social media over her Aretha tribute speech.

The first prize of the night was Best Hip-Hop. It was won by Nicki Minaj for her song Chun-Li.

She beat out competition from Cardi B, the Carters, Drake, J Cole and Migos.

An emotional Minaj thanked Grande during her acceptance speech. The award for Song Of The Year went to Post Malone.

Nicki Minaj won the first prize of the night for Best Hip-Hop. Credit: AP

So who were the biggest winners of the night? Childish Gambino, Jay Z and Beyonce and Camila Cabelo dominated the MTV VMAs 2018.

  • Video of the Year: Camila Cabello - 'Havana' [ft. Young Thug]

  • Best Collaboration: Jennifer Lopez - ‘Dinero’ [ft. DJ Khaled & Cardi B]

  • Best New Artist: Cardi B

  • Artist of the Year: Camila Cabello

  • Song of the Year: Post Malone - ‘rockstar’ [ft. 21 Savage]

  • Best Pop Video: Ariana Grande - 'No Tears Left To Cry'

  • Best Latin Video: J Balvin 'Mi Gente' [ft. Willy William]

  • Best Hip Hop Video: Nicki Minaj - 'Chun Li'

  • Best Rock Video: Imagine Dragons 'Whatever It Takes'

  • Best Dance Video: Avicii ft. Rita Ora - 'Lonely Together'

  • Push Artist of the Year: Hayley Kiyoko

  • Song of the Summer: Cardi Bad Bunny, J Balvin - 'I Like It'

  • Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award: Jennifer Lopez

  • Video With A Message: Childish Gambino - 'This Is America'

  • Best Cinematography: The Carters - 'APES**T'

  • Best Direction: Childish Gambino - 'This Is America'

  • Best Art Direction: The Carters - 'APES**T'

  • Best Visual Effects: Kendrick Lamar & SZA - 'All The Stars'

  • Best Choreography: Childish Gambino - 'This Is America'

  • Best Editing: N.E.R.D - 'Lemon' [ft. Rihanna]