In recent months, Fergie’s 2007 hit song “Glamorous” made a viral comeback after rapper Harlow sampled part of the track for his single “First Class.” Harlow, 24, who is cohosting the event, was confirmed to perform, sparking rumors swirl that the two could hit the stage as a duo.
Speculation proved to be right when the 24-year-old performer opened the show with a performance of “First Class.” After rapping the first verse solo, the Kentucky native introduced Fergie, who came out to join Harlow for the rest of the song.
The Black Eyed Peas crooner donned a silver dress and matching mic, with the words “First Class” in red font carefully painted on in various areas. Harlow, for his part, wore an all-black ensemble with a sparkly black top to coincide with Fergie’s look. In the audience, A-list stars, including Taylor Swift, could be seen dancing and singing along.
Speculation that the California native would be performing began earlier on Sunday when the Daily Mail reported that the “Fergalicious” singer had been rehearsing at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey — where the awards show is held — the week prior the big event.
The Kentucky native, meanwhile, backed out of the Reading and Leeds Festival in order to sing at the VMAs, and played it coy to keep the surprise when asked about what his performance entailed during his pre-show interview.
The rapper is nominated for seven awards at this year’s show, tied with Lil Nas X and Kendrick Lamar for the most recognition, with Harlow and Lil Nas X, 23, taking home the award for Best Collaboration at the start of the night. The three hip-hop acts are followed closely by Doja Cat and Harry Styles who received six nods each.
The biggest honor of the night, however, will go to Nicki Minaj, who is set to receive the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, for their part, will receive the Global Icon Award.
In addition to Harlow and Fergie, Maneskin, Lizzo and Blackpink are also slated to sing, as well as Minaj, 39, who will perform a medley of her greatest hits.
While Fergie hasn’t taken the stage at the VMAs in recent years, her former group, the Black Eyed Peas, performed at the event in 2020. Will. I.Am, Taboo and Apl.De.Ap sang their song “Vida Loco” at the time, garnering attention after the male member’s genital regions began to glow on the beat while they thrust their hips.
In 2018, Fergie made headlines after performing the “Star Spangled Banner” at the NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles. Her rendition received backlash after viewers felt it was too altered from the original song.
“I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA,” she told Us Weekly in response to the criticism at the time. “I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best.”