Selena Gomez Looked Really Scared When Olivia Rodrigo Suffered a Fake VMAs Malfunction—But Don't Try to Make It a Viral Meme

Poor Sel.

Selena Gomez and Rema attend the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards at Prudential Center on September 12, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Olivia Rodrigo staged a fake malfunction during her performance of "get him back" at the VMAs on Tuesday.

The audience had no idea that the audio bugging and the general chaos on stage was intentional—and even Selena Gomez fell for the subterfuge.

The "Calm Down" singer was filmed in the audience looking kinda terrified and shocked about what was happening on stage in front of her eyes, with many fans noticing the sweet/traumatizing moment.

"olivia rodrigo really traumatized selena gomez with her fake stage malfunction during her performance… selena ain’t ever going to an awards show again," one fan wrote on Twitter.

"olivia rodrigo about to give selena a heart attack i’m crying," quipped someone else.

A third person wrote, "selena was in DISTRESS thinking olivia was having an actual stage malfunction IM CRYING"

After the awards show, Gomez took to Instagram Stories to sum up the night, and—though we don't know whether she was referring to this moment specifically—she wrote a pretty telling warning to her fans.

"I will never be a meme again," Gomez said. "I'd rather sit still than be dragged for being myself. Much love"

Selena Gomez

(Image credit: Courtesy of Selena Gomez / Instagram)

This comes weeks after the Only Murders in the Building star became a meme because a photo of her wrapped up in a blanket and staring into the distance was shared online.

Though Gomez herself participated in that trend, she then became a meme again last week, so perhaps it's just all getting a bit old for her.

I guess it makes sense: If your face is always getting plastered everywhere, it might be tempting to, like, stop having facial expressions altogether. Still, I for one will be mourning the golden age of Selena Gomez memes.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.