This will be the first VMAs performance for both BTS and Doja Cat, and the second year in a row that J Balvin has done the show. The Latin crossover star performed “Qué Pretendes” last year in tandem with Bad Bunny.
BTS will perform their new single, “Dynamite,” which is set for release on Aug. 21. BTS is seeking to defend its 2019 VMA win in the best K-pop category with “On.” In addition, it is nominated for best pop for the first time with that same hit.
Doja Cat is nominated for three awards, including song of the year for “Say So” and PUSH best new artist. Cat and Roddy Ricch are the only artists nominated in both of those high-profile categories.
Balvin has four nominations, including three nods for best Latin—a category he has won the past two years for “Con Altura” (a collab with Rosalía featuring El Guincho, 2019) and “Mi Gente” (a collab with Willy William, 2018).
Additional performers are to be announced soon.
Fans can vote for their favorites across 15 gender-neutral categories, including video of the year and artist of the year, by visiting vma.mtv.com through Aug. 23. Voting for PUSH best new artist, presented by Chime Banking (the full name of that award) will remain active until the show is in progress on Aug. 30.
It’s unclear at this point how much of the show will be broadcast from Barclays Center in Brooklyn and how much will be shot remotely. But even pre-pandemic, the VMAs have had a history of incorporating remote elements. The idea back then was to add a fresh element. The goal now is to get a show on the air that will safeguard artists and crews and satisfy city and state requirements.
Last year, Jonas Brothers performed “Sucker” and “Only Human” from The Stone Poney in Asbury Park, N.J.
In 2018, Nicki Minaj performed a medley live from the PATH World Trade Center station in lower Manhattan.
In 2015, three performances were taped live from outside the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and guest stars’ “Downtown,” Lovato and Iggy Azalea’s “Cool for the Summer” and Pharrell Williams’ “Freedom.”
In 2013, Katy Perry closed the show with a performance of “Roar” shot in Empire-Fulton Ferry Park in Brooklyn.
Bruce Gillmer and Den of Thieves co-founder Jesse Ignjatovic are executive producers of this year’s telecast. This is the third year in a row that they have shared that responsibility, but Ignjatovic has served in that capacity since 2007. Gillmer, who will turn 57 on Thursday (Aug. 6), got his start as a talent coordinator for MTV in 1987. He executive produced the MTV Europe Music Awards, often called the EMAs, for many years.
Barbara Bialkowski is co-executive producer of this year’s VMAs. Alicia Portugal and Jackie Barba are executives in charge of production. Lisa Lauricella is executive in charge of music talent. Wendy Plaut is executive in charge of celebrity talent.