Pink blasted the quality of the music featured on the show, writing on, "I felt embarrassed and sad. And old... I felt sad because music is supposed to inspire. It saved my life. This trash won't save any kid's life... Let down by my industry peers. Beside MACklemore and Pharrell (Williams) and (Justin) Bieber (pre-sob fest) and The Weeknd, Tori Kelly was dope too...The rest was gross and embarrassing and hard for this ageing pop star to believe."

Many fans assumed she was criticising the remaining performers, including Lovato, Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj, but Pink later denied starting "a feud", tweeting that she has "no issue with Demi Lovato or anyone else" but adding, "I stand by what I said".

Lovato has now defended her single, writing, "Cool For The Summer may not 'save kid's lives' or 'inspire' but I'd say (my other singles) Skyscraper & Warrior have done a pretty good job of helping people... cope with mental illness. VMAs are sexy and fun. There's a time and place for everything... I'm excited for you all to hear the inspirational/honest/soulful songs on this album."

Following Lovato's comments, Pink wrote, "You know, this is part of why I'm sad about the VMAs and the world in general. Everyone is so nasty and waiting for a fight. I never said... anything about Demi Lovato or called out anyone. I was talking to a friend in response to his disappointment about the show. I agree w (with) him.... You can make this into whatever you like, cause that's who we are now, I guess. I'm out."