Selena Gomez is seemingly setting the record straight after a facial expression she made during Olivia Rodrigo’s performance at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards became a viral meme. 

On Wednesday, September 13, Selena, 31, took to her Instagram Stories with a cryptic statement. “I will never be a meme again,” the “Single Soon” hitmaker wrote over a black background. “I’d rather sit still than be dragged for being myself. Much love.”

Though Selena did not specify what “meme” she was referring to, the statement came just hours after her viral moment at the VMAs on Tuesday, September 12. Early on in the awards show, Olivia, 20, took to the stage to perform a medley of songs, including singles from her recently released album Guts. The performance included a concerning moment where there appeared to be a stage malfunction, with Olivia herself looking confused as fireworks went wild behind her and a curtain suddenly dropped in front of her. The singer was escorted off stage as the audio track seemingly skipped, but she quickly returned to finish her set. 

It’s unclear if the “malfunction” was real or staged. However, while many fans wondered what happened, others zeroed in on Selena’s reaction in the audience. The Only Murders in the Building star put a hand over her ear and gave a look that some fans interpreted as disgust or concern. 

Selena Gomez VMAs meme statement
Selena Gomez/Instagram

Photos and GIFs of the moment circulated on social media as fans speculated why Selena reacted that way. Some thought it was a response to Olivia reaching a near-screaming high note, while others thought Selena was startled by the possible stage malfunction. 

Thankfully, Selena didn’t leave fans guessing for too long. BuzzFeed Celebs shared a post on Instagram about the incident, teasing a possible explanation for Selena’s look. She took to the comments to clear things up. 

“I heard a loud noise and it scared me,” Selena wrote. 

Selena turned heads earlier that evening on the pink carpet when she arrived in a gorgeous red beaded lace dress by Oscar de la Renta. The singer was nominated for three VMAs — Song of the Year, Best Collaboration and Best Afrobeats — for her song “Calm Down” with Rema, ultimately taking home the Best Afrobeats win. Elsewhere at the show, Selena met up with best friend Taylor Swift to take photos together. 

While Selena is tired of others misinterpreting her looks, she’s not afraid to poke fun at herself. She shared one of her photos with Taylor on Instagram Stories after the show on Tuesday, featuring the singers leaning back and looking at each other. 

“She looks stunning, I look constipated,” Selena wrote. “Typical.”