How to watch, who's performing, and who could take home a Moon Person.

By Christopher Luu
Updated Aug 24, 2020 @ 2:06 pm
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The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards are set to be one of the very first awards shows to hit the airwaves since the world was rocked by the coronavirus pandemic.

While it won't be the show that we've all come to know (it's tough to pull shenanigans when the event might not have a live audience), the network promises live performances from huge names (BTS, anyone?) and even new categories, like Best Quarantine Performance. Here's what you need to know if you want to tune in.

Credit: ANGELA WEISS / Contributor

When is the 2020 MTV VMAs ceremony?

The 2020 MTV VMAs will air live from New York City on Sunday, August 30, at 8 P.M. Naturally, MTV will air the event on TV, on MTV.com, and through its mobile app. According to Entertainment Weekly, "the show will feature performances taking place across all five boroughs." That's new — which means nobody really knows what to expect. The show was originally set to take place at the Barclays Center, but MTV confirmed that it would be moving the show outdoors "with limited or no audience."

"The 2020 VMAs will be held on Sunday, August 30th, and pay homage to the incredible resiliency of New York with several outdoor performances around the City with limited or no audience, adhering to all state and city guidelines," MTV reps said in a statement. "In close consultation with state and local health officials‎, it became clear at this time that outdoor performances with limited or no audience would be more feasible and safer than an indoor event. The VMAs will highlight the boroughs in an exciting show and return to Barclays Center in 2021. MTV will continue to work closely with the Department of Health, state and local officials, the medical community, and key stakeholders to ensure the safety of all involved."

Who is performing? 

The 2020 event marks BTS's first-ever VMA performance and it'll also be the TV debut of the group's new English-language track, "Dynamite." Lady Gaga will make her VMAs return — her last performance was back in 2013 — and join Ariana Grande for "Rain on Me."

Lady Gaga even posted a photo of her VMAs prep: a gigantic ice bath.

Outside of this performance, MTV announced that the Weeknd, Maluma, CNCO, and Doja Cat would also take the stage. Miley Cyrus, who just released the song "Midnight Sky" was a late addition to the lineup.

On August 24, J Balvin and Roddy Ricch announced that they would not be performing at the show due to COVID-19-related issues, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed. Balvin didn't provide any details as to why he dropped out. When he appeared at the Premios Juventud 2020 to accept an award, he said: "This is not a joke. ... It's very dangerous. Take a lot of care of yourselves."

"My team and I did everything in our power to make this work, due to COVID compliance issues at the last minute we had to call off the performance," Richh said during an Instagram Live stream. "My team and I are safe and everyone's health is a main priority, as well as giving a quality performance," Ricch said. "I appreciate MTV for the opportunity to perform and I hope I can see y'all next year. STAY SAFE."

Who is hosting?

This year, Keke Palmer will be emceeing the event. How she manages to juggle the show with its remote performances remains to be seen, but something tells us that the pro will manage just fine. 

"We're thrilled to have the multi-talented Keke Palmer as this year's VMAs host," Bruce Gillmer, president of music, music talent, programming, and events for ViacomCBS Media Networks said. "Keke is an energetic force and a quadruple threat with unmatched comedic wit who will make this year's show truly unforgettable."

Who is nominated?

Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga are the ones to beat, with nine nominations each. "Rain on Me" is up for seven awards, including Video and Song of the Year. Billie Eilish and the Weeknd each have six nominations each, and Taylor Swift has five.

The 2020 ceremony added two new categories thanks to the specific circumstances that artists are facing with COVID-19: Best Music Video From Home and Best Quarantine Performance. 

Gaga is up for Best Quarantine Performance with her take on Nat King Cole's "Smile" on the One World: Together at Home special. John Legend is also nominated for his #TogetherAtHome Concert Series. MTV has the full list of nominees — and fans can vote for their favorites before the big show.

This post was updated on August 24, 2020.