MTV VMAs 2022: Taylor Swift wins top prize and Johnny Depp makes surprise appearance

The ceremony was held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Credit: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP/ johnnydepp/mtv/Instagram

Johnny Depp made a surprise cameo at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) – telling the audience he "needed the work", in a night which saw Taylor Swift win the evening's top award and announce a new album.

The VMA show was interspersed with strange appearances from the actor who was projected onscreen as the ceremony’s famous mascot, the Moon Man.

Floating above the stage, he was heard to say “I needed the work” as the ceremony was opened, later adding that he was available for “birthdays… weddings… any old thing you need”.

It marks the latest appearance by the actor in an apparent comeback into the public sphere, following his victory in the multimillion-dollar lawsuit against former partner Amber Heard.

Meanwhile, Swift took home several awards on the night, including the coveted best video and best longform video, for All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version).

Swift made her bombshell announcement of the new album in the final moments of the show, which was hosted by Nicki Minaj, Jack Harlow and LL Cool J at the Prudential Centre in Newark, New Jersey.

Taking to the stage for the second time in the evening, the pop megastar said: “I’m so honoured to have been recognised alongside such amazing artists and directors.

“For the first time in VMA history, four of the directors in the video of the year category are women.

“You guys, I’m just so proud of what we made and with every second of this moment and we wouldn’t have been able to make this short film if it wasn’t for the fans.

“I wouldn’t be able to re record my albums if it wasn’t for you… you emboldened me to do that.

She continued: “Because you’ve been so generous I thought it might be a fun moment to tell you that my brand new album comes out on October 21.”

The video for All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) features Stranger Things star Sadie Sink and Teen Wolf star Dylan O’Brien, and went viral earlier this year after fans speculated the song was based on Swift’s break-up with actor Jake Gyllenhaal.

Big British names largely lost out to US counterparts at this year’s awards, with only Harry Styles taking home a major prize with album of the year.

The 28-year-old apologised to fans for his absence at the show despite being “just down the road” performing at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The show was opened with a surprise performance from music superstar Fergie, who sang her hit song Glamourous and First Class with rapper Jack Harlow.

The former Black Eyed Peas singer wore a sparkling silver top reading “first class” in red lettering, as other music legends including Swift looked on from the audience.

Moments later Harlow was handed the first award of the night, best collaboration, alongside Lil Nas X for their track Industry Baby.

He was also presenting the show, which celebrates the best music videos with its coveted “Moon Man” astronaut trophies, alongside hip hop stars Nicki Minaj and LL Cool J.

Minaj, who received the video vanguard award, performed an explosive medley of her songs as she made her entrance.

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The US rapper said she had “never ever written a speech in her life”, but went offstage to retrieve her phone to read her notes as she accepted the award from members of her fan club, the Barbz.

Later, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were presented with the global icon by US comedy-stoner duo Cheech and Chong.

Flea accepts the award for best rock for 'Black Summer' at the VMAs. Credit: AP

The band’s bassist Flea dedicated the band’s award to the late drummer of the Foo Fighters, Taylor Hawkins.

“There’s another musical legend and his name is Taylor Hawkins… I miss him every day,” he told the audience.

“Fly on brother.”

Minaj received the video vanguard award and performed an explosive medley of her songs as she made her entrance at the ceremony Credit: Charles Sykes/AP

The band also went on to win the best rock award, with lead singer Anthony Kiedis and Flea engaging in a “thank-off” to members of their entourage.

Further performances were given by rap legends Eminem and Snoop Dogg who gave a trippy “metaverse” rendition of their collaborative track From The D 2 The LBC.