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VMA 2017: Lorde had the flu. She performed anyway.

There’s a good reason Lorde didn’t even attempt to sing during her performance.

Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

In one of the stranger moments at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, Lorde graced us with a performance that consisted of her making faces and bopping around like a dizzy 2-year-old.

Granted, Lorde is already one of the music industry’s more unique performers, with a spastic style of dance that frequently looks like the marriage between a dark magician and a seizure, but the logic behind this silent, expressive performance was almost certainly not 100 percent artistic.

During Sunday’s VMAs ceremony, Lorde had the flu.

In a tweet earlier in the day, she said she was suffering from an illness and needed medical treatment:

Because she was so sick, it makes perfect sense that she didn’t even to attempt to sing. Instead, in order to honor her commitment to the awards show, she apparently decided to perform the interpretative dance.

At a show that saw Kendrick Lamar sing with someone who literally set themselves on fire, and Shawn Mendes turning on the charm in a rendition of his hit song “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back,” Lorde’s performance definitely stood out, and not really in a good way. It seemed odd and perhaps underwhelming, especially since her album Melodrama sparked so much excitement and garnered critical praise earlier this year.

But considering the circumstances, it’s impressive that Lorde performed at all.

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