The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards are this Sunday, and they’ll be one of the first live events since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Originally scheduled to be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the show will go on, but the ceremony will be scattered around outdoor locations across New York City.
With a plethora of top stars scheduled to perform and fierce competition in many of the biggest categories (and new ones), this year’s VMAs will be an entertaining and much-needed escape amid the wildness of the world right now. Read on for a breakdown what to expect at this year’s event, which will air live on MTV this Sunday, Aug. 30, at 8pm ET.
Honoring of NYC
With the performances spread across the Big Apple, MTV has made it a point to pay homage to the city and deliberately include locations from all five boroughs. The performer list is impressive, with everyone from K-Pop superstars BTS to Ariana Grande to The Weekend to the Black Eyed Peas (in their first ever VMA performance) taking the stage(s). MTV hasn't revealed the locations of each set, but I’m guessing Lady Gaga — the only performer actually from New York City — could be performing in Manhattan, seeing as she grew up in the Upper West Side. For a complete list of performers, click here.
Video of the Year
The biggest category of the VMAs is going to be an epic battle. While I absolutely loved and was empowered by Taylor Swift’s timely “The Man” video, I don’t think it has the power to beat out the super catchy and Tik Tok viral hit “Blinding Lights” by the Weeknd or the double iconic Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s “Rain on Me”. With Billie Eilish (“Everything I Wanted”), Eminem ft. Juice WRLD (“Godzilla”), and Future ft. Drake (“Life is Good”) the remaining nominees, I don’t think anyone truly knows who will come out on top. Don’t forget, though, the VMAs are fan-voted, so it might come down to who has the biggest stans (which could end up securing T-Swift a victory, even though Eminem coined the term "Stan" itself). For a complete list of VMA nominees, click here.
Artist of the Year (and its snubbery)
Another immensely stacked category, Artist of the Year is filled with talent. The six nominees are Da Baby, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Megan Thee Stallion, Post Malone, and the Weeknd. All are impressive, but where is Dua Lipa? In what I think is the biggest snub of the year, Dua was left out of this category along with all others except technical/directing ones. “Don’t Start Now,” “Physical,” and “Break My Heart” are three of the biggest videos of the year, so I’m left wondering what went wrong. Back to the actual category, I’m hoping the Weeknd wins, but again, with fans ultimately picking, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Biebs takes it home.
There are two new COVID awards this year: Best Music Video from Home and Best Quarantine Performance. I dig MTV’s creativity with these two new categories, and, unsurprisingly, they’re stacked with star power. My money is on superstars Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande for their “Stuck with U” in the Music Video from Home category. For the Best Quarantine Performance, it’s anyone’s game but I’m favoring Posty for his Nirvana tribute. The livestreamed concert, held at his home in April, raised over $500K for COVID-19 relief.
With J Balvin and Roddy Rich dropping out of performances, MTV is likely scrambling to fill the spots. Who could take their place, if anyone? Taylor Swift is a huge NYC aficionado and seeing as she surprise-released her brand new 2020 album folklore, it sure would be cool if she also surprise-performed a song from it (looking at you “cardigan”). With all of the uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought to our world, I’m sure there will be some fun surprises along the way during the VMAs. Regardless, it’s bound to be a good time.
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