Taylor Swift made her grand return to the red carpet on Sunday at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards. But, according to fans, not everyone was excited to see her. When the 28-year-old singer won the award for “Best Female Artist,” fans couldn’t help but pay attention to one celebrity audience member (and fellow nominee) who was making a face that some suspect was shade.
In the middle of Swift’s minute-and-a-half-long speech, the cameras panned to Demi Lovato, one of Swift’s five competitors in the category, who was sitting in the front row, giving a stern face and blank stare as Swift shouted out the abundance of new female artists in the music industry. “All the new artists, the new female artists who are killing it right now, we’re so inspired by you,” Swift said.
Immediately, fans took to Twitter, suspecting that Lovato wasn’t happy with seeing Swift, a on-again, off-again frenemy, giving a speech for an award that she was also nominated for.
As Swifties might remember, Lovato shaded Swift after the “Look What You Made Me Do” singer made a silent donation of $250,000 to Kesha amid her legal battle with Dr. Luke in 2016. After the donation made news, Lovato subtweeted Swift, suggesting that her money means nothing if she doesn’t also campaign for political action. “Take something to Capitol Hill or actually speak out about something and then I’ll be impressed,” Lovato tweeted.
When fans claimed that Lovato was making the situation about herself, the singer clapped back, shading Swift for making a silent donation but not talking about Kesha’s experience with sexual assault. “How the f**k am I making this about myself? At least I’m talking about it,” she tweeted. “Not everyone has 250k to just give to people. Would love to but I didn’t grow up with money and def haven’t made as much as her. At least I speak up about shit that’s uncomfortable to talk about rather than trying to be politically correct 24/7.”
This isn’t the first time that Lovato has expressed her dislike of Swift. In a 2010 video, Lovato was asked about her childhood best friend, Selena Gomez. She replied with, “Ask Taylor!,” a nod at Gomez and Swift’s growing friendship at the time.
Whether Lovato was trying to shade Swift or not (as some fans note, her face also looked like she was trying to concentrate on Swift’s speech), there’s no denying that the two have a long history of bad blood.