Jack Harlow said he is “hungry” and “focused” ahead of the MTV VMAs where he is vying for some of the top prizes.
The 24-year-old Kentucky rapper was among the first on the red carpet outside the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
He also presents the show, which celebrates the best music videos with his coveted astronaut trophies “Moonman”, along with hip hop stars Nicki Minaj and LL Cool J.
During the official live stream, he said: “I’m feeling love. I’m in a good mood. I’m hungry, I’m focused.”
Of his eight nominations at the event, Harlow added: “It means the world. I haven’t won many awards yet. Hope to clean up tonight and take it all home to Kentucky. “
Asked to describe his next performance at the event in one word, he replied: “Unforgettable”.
Italian rock group Maneskin, who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021, were among the first winners after winning the award for best off-screen alternative.
Speaking on the mat, frontman Damiano David was asked if this got them under pressure and joked: “It makes everything easier!”
Bassist Victoria De Angelis added: “I think the most important thing for us is obviously performance and giving it our all. A great performance is what we aim for. “
Taylor Swift also made a surprise appearance, posing for the cameras wearing a jewel-encrusted minidress.
His arrival was met with shouts and chants of “Taylor, Taylor, Taylor!” from the crowd.
Brazilian singer and actress Anitta said her entire home country was talking about the event.
Speaking of his performance during the main show, he added: “I feel it was a World Cup and I’m about to play a game.”
On the mat, Snoop Dogg, who performs alongside Eminem, said: “I feel good to be here and still be appreciated and loved after so many years, to have a proper presentation on stage, to be able to perform.
“To be able to go out here and enjoy the evening, as a fan and artist.”
Harlow walked the carpet wearing a Hermes suit while LL Cool J seemed to take inspiration from motorcycle culture with a leather jacket.
Lizzo walked in wearing a blue-black Jean Paul Gaultier dress and numerous gold jewels including a large lip ring.
Other stars who made an appearance before the ceremony included female K-pop group Blackpink, R&B singer Khalid, and emerging music star Tate McRae.
Harry Styles, Adele and Ed Sheeran are among the British stars vying for the highest accolades.
They face off against US heavyweight competition including Billie Eilish, Harlow and Lil Nas X at the annual ceremony.
Styles, Harlow and Doja Cat are the three stars of this year’s event, with eight nominations each, closely followed by Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Lil Nas X, with seven.
The former One Direction Styles star is vying for top awards including Artist of the Year, Best Album for his latest Harry’s House release and Video of the Year for As It Was.
The 28-year-old megastar takes on fellow British Sheeran as Artist of the Year, in an American-dominated category that also includes Drake, Bad Bunny and Lizzo.
Harry’s House collides with Eilish’s Happier Than Ever, Drake’s Certified Lover Boy and Adele’s highly anticipated 30th album of the year.
Also vying for the coveted video of the year are Doja Cat, for Woman, Harlow and Lil Nas X, for Industry Baby, Olivia Rodrigo, for Brutal, and Taylor Swift, for All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version).
The latter, which stars Stranger Things star Sadie Sink, went viral earlier this year after fans speculated that the song was based on Swift’s breakup with actor Jake Gyllenhaal.
Honorary awards will go to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, who are expected to receive the global icon award, and Minaj, who are expected to receive the Video Vanguard Award.