MTV VMAs, Music News, News

2021 MTV VMAs Preview: What to Expect

The 2021 MTV VMAs will be taking place Sunday, September 12 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York and air 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on MTV.

The VMAs, now in its 38th year, will celebrate the artists, songs and music videos viewers have been enjoying over the past year. Fans have cast their votes over the past month, (don't worry, voting for Best New Artist is still open!) and the winners will be revealed over live television - and receive swanky Moonperson trophies.

The VMAs will work with New York state and local officials to prioritize attendees' health and safety amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. MTV is also partnering with the nonprofit organization 9/11 Day for a series of service-oriented activities leading up to the VMAs to "promote awareness and positive action" in observance of 9/11's 20th anniversary.

Here is all you need to know about the biggest night for music videos!

Host & Presenters:

Doja Cat, who won the Moonperson for Best New Artist last year, will be hosting the event. This is the artist's first time hosting the show. She's also nominated for six awards - including Artist of the Year and Video of the Year for the sci-fi visual "Kiss Me More."

A number of actors, musicians, models, and athletes will be presenting. The lineup includes AJ McLean, Ashanti, Avril Lavigne, Billie Eilish, Billy Porter, Conor McGregor, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Fat Joe, Hailey Bieber, Halle Bailey, Ja Rule, Lance Bass, Megan Fox, Nick Lachey, Rita Ora, Simone Biles and Travis Barker.


The VMAs has a star-studded lineup this year. Camila Cabello, Chlöe, Doja Cat, Jack Harlow, Kacey Musgraves, Lil Nas X, Normani, Olivia Rodrigo, Ozuna, Shawn Mendes, Tainy and Twenty One Pilots will all take the stage.

Justin Bieber will also be performing at the VMAs for the first time since 2015. He'll be singing "Stay" with Best New Artist nominee The Kid Laroi. Foo Fighters will return to the VMAs for the first time in 14 years. They're performing in addition to receiving the ceremony's special MTV VMAs Global Icon Award. It will be the first time the honor will be rewarded in the history of the ceremony.

But wait...there's more! Collaborators Travis Barker and Machine Gun Kelly will rock out to their new single "papercuts," and Alicia Keys and Swae Lee will perform their recently released song "Lala."


Justin Bieber leads the pack with a total of seven nominations. Megan Thee Stallion follows closely behind with six nods. Billie Eilish, BTS, Doja Cat, Drake, Giveon, Lil Nas X and teen newcomer Olivia Rodrigo enter the evening with five apiece.

Here are the nominees for the show's top categories:

Video of the Year
“WAP” – Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion
“Popstar” (Starring Justin Bieber) – DJ Khaled ft. Drake
“Kiss Me More” – Doja Cat ft. SZA
“Bad Habits” - Ed Sheeran
“Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” - Lil Nas X
“Save Your Tears” – The Weeknd

Artist of the Year
Ariana Grande
Doja Cat
Justin Bieber
Megan Thee Stallion
Olivia Rodrigo
Taylor Swift

Song of the Year
“Mood” – 24kGoldn ft. Iann Dior
“Leave the Door Open” – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic
“Dynamite” - BTS
“WAP” – Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion
“Levitating” – Dua Lipa
“Drivers License” – Olivia Rodrigo

Best New Artist
The Kid Laroi
Olivia Rodrigo
Polo G

How to Watch:

Besides watching directly on MTV, the awards show will simulcast across CMT, Comedy Central, The CW Network, Logo, MTV2, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, Pop, TV Land and VH1. And of course, the show will also be available to stream on MTV's digital platforms.

Pre-Show & After-Show:

Hosted by Nessa Diab and Jamila Mustafa, the VMAs pre-show kicks off at 6:15 p.m. EST on Twitter, where it will be livestreamed. It will also begin 6:30 p.m. EST/PST on MTV. Kim Petras, Polo G and Swedish House Mafia will perform, and Tinashe will make an appearance as a celebrity correspondent.

MTV News will also be returning with its After-show available for streaming on MTV News’ Twitter, Facebook and YouTube following the main ceremony. It will be hosted by commentator Ryan Mitchell and feature three guest panelists: Gia Peppers, Jay Jurden, and Alex Abad-Santos.

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Article Image: The MTV VMAs 2021 logo with a moonperson silhoutte over a yellow background. (MTV, Viacom [Available through Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons.)

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About Kathryn Milewski

  • New Jersey