Although she may have kick-started her career as one half of the R&B sister duo Chlöe X Halle, Chlöe proved she is ready to work it, work it, work it as an artist in her own right with her jaw-dropping, hip-shaking first performance of her debut solo single “Have Mercy” at Barclays Center during the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday (September 12).
After a heartfelt introduction by younger sister Halle Bailey, Chlöe stood confidently on stage underneath a single spotlight while dressed in a floor-length vibrant pink cape. Backed by full orchestral accompaniment, the performance soared to operatic heights as Chlöe screamed and green lightning began to crackle behind her. Reveling in her newfound magical abilities, the 23-year-old ripped off her cape to reveal a glittering pink bodysuit and channeled the “modern-day Medusa” vibes from her music video by transporting audiences into a sweet, sinister garden of her own creation.
Backed by a group of dancers dressed like frat boys, Chlöe sang along to the track’s bootylicious lyrics and showcased her dance prowess with a sizzlingly choreographed interlude that featured her twerking and pelvic thrusting on the floor along to the song’s sensual beat. As she burned up the stage with her powerful moves, audiences traveled through a green mirror that transformed the once-beautiful garden into an eerie, fiery nightmare.
As green smoke began to swirl, one of the college boys dared to approach Chlöe after her knockout dance routine. The decision would be his downfall; when Chlöe placed her hands on both sides of his face, he quickly met his end with a look of pure bewilderment.
During the 2021 VMAs Pre-Show, Chlöe said the reaction to her single had left her “over the moon and excited.” She did, however, admit that it was strange to be performing without her sister by her side, but added that her performance would be “really special” in part because her sister would be in the audience. “I’m going to look right up and she’s going to be right there in her beautiful gown and I’m going to be like, ‘OK, I feel better, I can do this because she’s right there,’” she said.
“That’s my best friend right here,” she added.
The 2021 VMAs are airing live on MTV from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Find the full list of winners right here and keep up with all of the night’s biggest VMA moments!