MTV’s VMAs are about more than the awards


First-timer Cardi B leads the nominees in annual event
Ed Sheeran

Some nominees are veterans, such as Bruno Mars, Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran.

Others are relative newcomers, including Cardi B, Hayley Kiyoko and Lil Pump.

They have something in common, though: They all hope to go home with a Moon Person. All of the artists named are nominees in the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards – more commonly known now as the VMAs – and the often offbeat event with the astronaut-resembling trophies will be televised from New York’s Radio City Music Hall on Monday, Aug. 20. Cardi B makes a big debut in the competition, scoring the most nominations of any performer with 10.

If there’s any question that the VMAs are meant for fans as well as music stars, consider this: The public was able to vote in no less than 12 categories, including video of the year and artist of the year, until Aug 10 – and they still can vote (at vma.mtv.com) in one key contest, best new artist, right up to the time of the telecast.

The VMAs are known for much more than the honors that are handed out, though. Often, the show has been the subject of conversation for days afterward, and many viewers can remember reasons why: Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” performance at the inaugural edition in 1984; Andrew Dice Clay’s … well, dicey introduction of Cher that got him banned from MTV (1989); Pee-wee Herman’s (Paul Reubens) first public appearance after his lewd-conduct arrest (1991); Nirvana’s very off-the-page performance (1992); and the appearance of then-newly engaged Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley (1994).

But wait! There’s more! A Van Halen reunion (1996); alleged enemies Brandy and Monica performing together (1998); Eminem and 100 look-alikes making their way from outside the Music Hall to its stage (2000); Madonna as a groom supposedly “marrying” both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera (2003); and Kelly Clarkson getting doused with water – along with a good portion of the audience – while singing “Since U Been Gone” (2005).

And no, we’re not done yet: the aforementioned Spears seeming to be out of sync in every way in her 2007 VMA performance (only to make up for it the following year by winning three of the awards); Taylor Swift being interrupted by Kanye West during her acceptance speech, in the same year Lady Gaga supposedly bled for her art (2009); a newly pregnant Beyonce confirming the happy news after her typically energetic act (2011); Miley Cyrus’ “twerking” (2013); and Cyrus and Nicki Minaj’s war of words (2015).

The VMAs can’t be called dull, then … and while it remains to be seen what will have people talking this year, you can bet there will be something.


Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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