Tonight is one of my favorite nights of the year. The holiday weekend has ended. My fridge only has the Thanksgiving leftovers I’m least enthused about (dark meat turkey and soggy vegetables). I’m back to work and wearing my slightly more forgiving (bigger) pants. I’m thinking really deeply and thoughtfully about possibly going to the gym. New gymgoers tend to make January 2 their day to finally get into that workout routine they’ve been Pinteresting about. Those dreamers don’t have my secret: nothing gets me back on that elliptical and sweating with intention/anxiety quite like the Victoria Secret Fashion Show. It’s on CBS tonight at 10 p.m., 9 central.
The show promises to be… muddled. A lot of the top models, like Gigi Hadid, three Russian models (Julia Belyakova, Kate Grigorieva and Irina Sharipova) and one from the Ukraine (Dasha Khlystun) had their visas denied. Katy Perry was also slated to be the lead performer and she’s apparently been banned from Mainland China because of scandalous outfits and comments she made in support of Taiwan. As I said, it’s messy. But VS wanted to court the Chinese market and Hong Kong just wouldn’t do, so Shanghai it is. Harry Styles is now the top billed singer. He’s handsome and well liked, but I don’t think he brings the same level of cheeky fun as a Katy Perry. And imagine the outfits they would have put her in. Oh well. Also there’s Miguel who’s another handsome, well liked singer. Leslie Odom Jr. is performing too. I like this choice because I’m a theatre nerd, but for those who’ve lived in a cave, he originated the role of Aaron Burr in Hamilton. I mean he won a Tony. I’m sure he’ll have fun up on stage. Then there’s Jane Zhang, a Chinese pop star who has a bizarre and infinitely watchable music video for her English language song “Dust Off My Shoulders” where she jumps into different paintings in an art gallery—in the video Mike Tyson bites off van Gogh’s ear (skip to 0:43).
But if you can’t work out to tonight’s show live (I would like to meet the person who can procrastinate then execute working out at 10 p.m.), do what I do and watch old YouYube videos of past Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows. Here are some past performances sure to make you do the handles on the elliptical along with the feet… not that I don’t do both all the time.
Victoria’s Secret 2016 Show: The Weeknd’s “Starboy” Performance
Not only was this the season of impossible to wear over-the-knee socks and pleather boots but if you think running into an ex is awkward, imagine being in your underwear while your ex is singing to you and an audience (ex. The Weeknd and Bella Hadid).
Victoria’s Secret 2015 Show
Lily Aldridge wears the “fantasy bra” – that super expensive bra that’s basically just a bunch of huge, pricy jewels, over 65,000 to be exact. She rocks it while The Weeknd sings “I Can’t Feel My Face” along with wings—such heavy lifting. The woman also gave birth to a human being. Just a fully aspirational experience.
Victoria’s Secret 2014 Show
This one is my favorite show and truly iconic. Taylor Swift is the headliner and she’s tall and statuesque enough to fit right in with her Angel besties. She dons lingerie and you can see her building her squad as she sings her 1989 hits.
Victoria’s Secret 2013 Show
Taylor Swift performed her first show this year, but the real highlight is that it’s in London and REALLY leans into that fact with so many Union Jacks. So many. Only thing this one could have used is a Spice Girls reunion.
Victoria’s Secret 2012 Show
I mean it’s Rihanna. It’s epic. And it’s just fun to watch how excited the models get over Justin Bieber, who is a child.
Victoria’s Secret 2011 Show
Though I love 2014, this year might be the most aspirational. Not only does Nicki Minaj perform, Jay Z and Kanye headline. Those two guys dominate the stage so hard that the models have to strut twice as fierce just to keep up. Also I love this one because Maroon 5 performs and Adam Levine was dating Anne V. at the time, but his now wife also strutted in the same show with Anne. I’m just imagining all the backstage intrigue.
The lingerie might be the least important factor of the show. I love the costume-y portions of the show and I just think about how heavy those wings must be. Just walking with those in heels may be the ultimate workout. There may be no better workout buddy than the VS Show: great music, celebrity gossip, and oh, super in shape women too. And the hope that one of the models might just trip.