Then-upstart cable channel MTV threw its first Video Tune Awards, a splashy party of the community’s reinvention of dad tune that includes a career-making efficiency through a wedding-dress-clad Madonna, 35 years in the past at Radio Town Tune Corridor. This Monday, the channel, now infamous for now not appearing tune movies, hosts its newest iteration of that tune video-celebrating awards display; it is happening at a hockey area in New Jersey and hosted through a 46-year-old comic whose schtick is that he does not have a clue about any of the nominated artists.
Are the VMAs — which air from Newark’s Prudential Heart at eight p.m. ET on Monday — in a midlife disaster? That existential query has plagued the channel’s centerpiece award display for far of this decade, when it is been plagued through uninspired reserving, strained makes an attempt to deliver in combination the previous and new generations of dad (British lad-turned-dad rocker Rod Stewart, who used to be at the first display’s invoice, teamed up with the Jonas Brothers in 2017, whilst hip-hop legends Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee and Grandmaster Kaz joined Macklemore in 2015) and cursory nods towards internet-borne developments (Absolute best Lyric Video and Maximum Percentage-Worthy Video, we rarely knew ye).
In some way, those issues are on account of the totally arbitrary nature of the awards, and the totally promotional nature of early MTV itself. The channel, in any case, started as a 24-hour feed of commercials that simply took place to be promoting the soundtracks for the sometimes-corny, sometimes-sexy, infrequently spectacular movies. Likewise, the awards began out as some way for a channel to indicate the inventive achievements of its personal programming — awards for course, cinematography, artwork course and modifying had been a part of the nominations slate because the starting.
However MTV has, within the identify of rankings, slowly drifted clear of the industry of selling document firms’ audio-visual wares, with tech firms selecting up the slack by way of their very own streaming platforms. Which makes one ponder whether, like its flagship truth display, the channel’s signature award rite would not be extra suitable for broadcast on some outlet like YouTube.
Early press for this 12 months’s VMAs hasn’t been nice. Ponytailed belter Ariana Grande, who is tied with the pop commander Taylor Swift for essentially the most nominations (with 12), has mentioned she would possibly not be on the display on account of scheduling conflicts, whilst consternation over preserving its lifetime-achievement honor the Video Leading edge Award (which, this 12 months, is going to hip-hop alchemist Missy Elliott) named in honor of Michael Jackson has popped up on Twitter. Billie Eilish, the teenage weirdo whose “unhealthy man” recently holds the highest spot at the Scorching 100 and has been the most well liked bumper tune for MTV’s incessant advertisements for the display, may be no longer at the invoice as of press time.
Plus, it is in New Jersey.
Wipe apart the ones considerations — and it would not be out of personality for the display to on the ultimate minute flip the reported Grande and Eilish no-shows right into a fake-out — and what emerges is a roster of performers who mirror the chaotic nature of dad’s 2019 panorama higher than maximum awards displays, aided through Elliott, who, all through her two-plus a long time in making data, blazed a path for oddballs with glitchy, future-minded tune and eye-popping movies.
To begin, there are a few megastars at the invoice. Taylor Swift, whose heart-eyed 7th album “Lover” got here out Friday, tops the invoice and can open the display with a efficiency that’ll without a doubt be splashy and stuffed with Easter eggs for her lovers to decode. The lately reunited Jonas Brothers, who hail from the Lawn State and who had one in all this 12 months’s maximum commercially well-received comebacks, can be broadcast from Asbury Park rock mecca The Stone Pony and at the town’s boardwalk, which filmed on Sunday.
This 12 months’s VMAs also are nodding towards the megapopularity of Latin pop, which dominated ultimate 12 months’s YouTube Tune charts whilst being held at a distance — most often with an Anglophone singer or MC in tow — through American radio. Puerto Rican trap-popper Unhealthy Bunny and reggaetón singer Ozuna are at the major display’s invoice, whilst Colombian urbano artist J Balvin will carry out with Spain’s flamenco revivalist Rosalia. CNCO, a boy band assembled on Univision’s making a song pageant “Los angeles Banda,” can be at the pre-show.
Different artists have transparent pop attraction that may totally flower within the coming years. Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes has come some distance since his earliest days at the now-defunct video-sharing app Vine, making knotty songs that borrow from drony rock and sophistipop. Lil Nas X, who broke data as “Previous The city Highway” hung directly to the Scorching 100’s No. 1 for 19 weeks this 12 months, got here up at the Vine successor TikTok and has proven allure in addition to a knack for writing forever loopable hooks. And Lizzo, whose Elliott collab “Pace” sizzles with swagger, has one of the crucial best possible reside displays going, and merits to take the plunge from 2016 pre-show performer to featured artist.
Will the VMAs be asymmetric? It is a reside display, so… most certainly. However whilst writing them off looked like the article to do on first look, a better have a look at the various, unpredictable lineup displays numerous doable for starmaking and hitmaking performances — similar to the display did 3 and a part a long time in the past.