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2021 MTV Video Music Awards Cheat Sheet: Everything You Need To Know

everything you need to know about the 2021 VMAs!

When are they? Sunday, September 12 at 8PM ET/PT.

Where do I watch? You have lots of options: MTV, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV2, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, Pop, TV Land, VH1, and The CW Network across 180 countries globally, reaching 400 million households in nearly 30 different languages

Who’s hosting, who’s performing, who’s presenting, who’s nominated, and who’s getting special awards? Well, you’ll have to keep scrolling for that!

The VMAs will be one of the first award shows with fans filling the audience at Barclays Center in New York City since the city reopened. Voting is open now until September 3 on VMA.MTV.com.

Who is the host? Doja Cat! The triple threat (host + performer + nominee) will take on her first hosting gig at the VMAs this year.

Who is receiving the Video Vanguard Award? There will not be a Video Vanguard Award recipient this year for the second year in a row.

Who is receiving the Global Icon Award? Foo Fighters. This is going to be first year that MTV has handed this award out, and it celebrates an artist/band whose unparalleled career and continued impact & influence has maintained a unique level of global success in music and beyond.

Who is performing?

  • Olivia Rodrigo – “good 4 u”
  • Lil Nas X + Jack Harlow – “INDUSTRY BABY” (world premiere performance)
  • Camila Cabello – “Don’t Go Yet”
  • Machine Gun Kelly + Travis Barker – “papercuts” (world premiere performance)
  • Foo Fighters – TBA
  • Doja Cat – “Been Like This” + “You Right (Extended)” + surprise third song (also hosting)
  • Shawn Mendes + Tainy – “Summer of Love” (world premiere performance)
  • Chlöe – “Have Mercy” (world premiere performance)
  • twenty one pilots – “Saturday”
  • Kacey Musgraves – “star-crossed” (world premiere performance)
  • The Kid LAROI + Justin Bieber – “STAY”
  • Ozuna – “La Funka” (world premiere performance)
  • Alicia Keys + Swae Lee – “LALA” (world premiere performance)
  • Normani – “Wild Side” (world premiere performance)
  • Ed Sheeran: “Shivers”
  • Anitta: TBA (special performance)
  • Latto: TBA (from the Coors Light Extended Play Stage)
  • SAINt JHN: TBA (from the Coors Light Extended Play Stage)

Is there a pre-show? Yes! A 90-minute pre-show will air at 6:30PM ET on MTV.

Who is hosting the VMA Pre-Show? Tinashe, Nessa, and Jamila Mustafa

Who is performing on the VMA Pre-Show?

  • Kim Petras: “Future Starts Now”
  • Polo G: “RAPSTAR”
  • Swedish House Mafia: “Lifetime” + “It Gets Better” medley

Who are the presenters?

  • AJ McLean
  • Ashanti
  • Avril Lavigne
  • Billie Eilish
  • Billy Porter
  • Ciara
  • Conor McGregor
  • Cyndi Lauper
  • David Lee Roth
  • Fat Joe
  • Hailey Bieber
  • Halle Bailey
  • Ja Rule
  • Lance Bass
  • Leslie Grace
  • Madison Beer
  • Megan Fox
  • Nick Lachey
  • Rita Ora
  • Simone Biles
  • SZA
  • Tommy Lee
  • Travis Barker
  • Wyclef Jean

Who is nominated this year? Read on for the nominees…

VIDEO OF THE YEAR 

Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”

DJ Khaled ft. Drake – “POPSTAR” (Starring Justin Bieber)

Doja Cat ft. SZA – “Kiss Me More”

Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits”

Lil Nas X – “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)”

The Weeknd – “Save Your Tears”

ARTIST OF THE YEAR 

Ariana Grande

Doja Cat

Justin Bieber

Megan Thee Stallion

Olivia Rodrigo

Taylor Swift

SONG OF THE YEAR 

24kGoldn ft. iann dior – “Mood”

Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open”

BTS – “Dynamite”

Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”

Dua Lipa – “Levitating”

Olivia Rodrigo – “drivers license”

BEST NEW ARTIST, Presented by Facebook 

24kGoldn

Giveon

The Kid LAROI

Olivia Rodrigo

Polo G

Saweetie

PUSH PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR

September 2020: Wallows – “Are You Bored Yet?”

October 2020: Ashnikko – “Daisy”

November 2020: SAINt JHN – “Gorgeous”

December 2020: 24kGoldn – “Coco”

January 2021: JC Stewart – “Break My Heart”

February 2021: Latto – “Sex Lies”

March 2021: Madison Beer – “Selfish”

April 2021: The Kid LAROI – “WITHOUT YOU”

May 2021: Olivia Rodrigo – “drivers license”

June 2021: girl in red “Serotonin”

July 2021: Fousheé – “my slime”

August 2021: jxdn – “Think About Me”

BEST COLLABORATION

24kGoldn ft. iann dior – “Mood”

Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”

Doja Cat ft. SZA – “Kiss Me More”

Drake ft. Lil Durk – “Laugh Now Cry Later”

Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon – “Peaches”

Miley Cyrus ft. Dua Lipa – “Prisoner”

BEST POP

Ariana Grande – “positions”

Billie Eilish – “Therefore I Am”

BTS – “Butter”

Harry Styles – “Treat People With Kindness”

Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon – “Peaches”

Olivia Rodrigo – “good 4 u”

Shawn Mendes – “Wonder”

Taylor Swift – “willow”

BEST HIP-HOP

Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”

Drake ft. Lil Durk – “Laugh Now Cry Later”

Lil Baby ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “On Me (remix)”

Moneybagg Yo – “Said Sum”

Polo G – “RAPSTAR”

Travis Scott ft. Young Thug & M.I.A. – “FRANCHISE”

BEST ROCK

Evanescence – “Use My Voice”

Foo Fighters – “Shame Shame”

John Mayer – “Last Train Home”

The Killers – “My Own Soul’s Warning”

Kings Of Leon – “The Bandit”

Lenny Kravitz – “Raise Vibration”

BEST ALTERNATIVE

Bleachers – “Stop Making This Hurt”

Glass Animals – “Heat Waves”

Imagine Dragons – “Follow You”

Machine Gun Kelly ft. blackbear – “my ex’s best friend”

twenty one pilots – “Shy Away”

WILLOW ft. Travis Barker – “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l”

BEST LATIN

Bad Bunny x Jhay Cortez – “Dákiti”

Billie Eilish & ROSALÍA – “Lo Vas A Olvidar”

Black Eyed Peas and Shakira – “GIRL LIKE ME”

Balvin, Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny, Tainy – “UN DIA (ONE DAY)”

Karol G – “Bichota”

Maluma – “Hawái”

BEST R&B

Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, WizKid – “BROWN SKIN GIRL”

Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open”

Chris Brown and Young Thug – “Go Crazy”

Giveon – “HEARTBREAK ANNIVERSARY”

H.E.R. ft. Chris Brown – “Come Through”

SZA – “Good Days”

BEST K-POP

(G)I-DLE – “DUMDi DUMDi”

BLACKPINK and Selena Gomez – “Ice Cream”

BTS – “Butter” – BIGHIT MUSIC Monsta X – “Gambler”

SEVENTEEN – “Ready to love”

TWICE – “Alcohol-Free”

VIDEO FOR GOOD 

Billie Eilish – “Your Power”

Demi Lovato – “Dancing With The Devil”

H.E.R. – “Fight For You”

Kane Brown – “Worldwide Beautiful”

Lil Nas X – “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)”

Pharrell Williams ft. JAY-Z – “Entrepreneur”

BEST DIRECTION

Billie Eilish – “Your Power” – Directed by: Billie Eilish

DJ Khaled ft. Drake – “POPSTAR (Starring Justin Bieber)” – Directed by: Julien Christian Lutz aka Director X

Lil Nas X – “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” – Directed by: Lil Nas X and Tanu Muino

Taylor Swift – “willow” – Directed by: Taylor Swift

Travis Scott ft. Young Thug & M.I.A – “Franchise” – Directed by: Travis Scott

Tyler, The Creator – “LUMBERJACK” – Directed by: Wolf Haley

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, WizKid – “BROWN SKIN GIRL” – Cinematography by: Benoit Soler, Malik H. Sayeed, MOHAMMAED ATTA AHMED, Santiago Gonzalez, Ryan Helfant

Billie Eilish – “Therefore I Am” – Cinematography by: Rob Witt

Foo Fighters – “Shame Shame” – Cinematography by: Santiago Gonzalez

Justin Bieber ft. Chance The Rapper – “Holy” – Cinematography by: Elias Talbot

Lady Gaga – “911” – Cinematography by: Jeff Cronenweth

Lorde – “Solar Power” – Cinematography by: Andrew Stroud

BEST ART DIRECTION

Beyoncé, Shatta Wale, Major Lazer – “ALREADY” – Art Direction by: Susan Linns, Gerard Santos

Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits” – Art Direction by: Alison Dominitz

Lady Gaga – “911” – Art Direction by: Tom Foden, Peter Andrus

Lil Nas X – “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” – Art Direction by: John Richoux

Saweetie ft. Doja Cat – “Best Friend” – Art Direction by: Art Haynes

Taylor Swift – “willow” – Art Direction by: Ethan Tobman, Regina Fernandez

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Bella Poarch – “Build A Bitch” – Visual Effects by: Andrew Donoho, Denhov Visuals, Denis Strahhov, Rein Jakobson, Vahur Kuusk, Tatjana Pavlik, Yekaterina Vetrova

Coldplay – “Higher Power” – Visual Effects by: Mathematic

Doja Cat & The Weeknd – “You Right” – Visual Effects by: La Pac, Anthony Lestremau, Julien Missaire, Petr Shkolniy, Alexi Bailla, Micha Sher, Antoine Hache, Mikros MPC, Nicolas Huget, Guillaume Ho Tsong Fang, Benjamin Lenfant, Stephane Pivron, MPC Bangalore, Chanakya Chander, Raju Ganesh, David Rouxel

Glass Animals – “Tangerine” – Visual Effects by: Ronan Fourreau

Lil Nas X – “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” – Visual Effects by: Mathematic

P!NK – “All I Know So Far” – Visual Effects by: Dave Meyers, Freenjoy Inc

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

Ariana Grande – “34+35” – Choreography by: Brian Nicholson & Scott Nicholson

BTS – “Butter” – Choreography by: SON SUNG DEUK With BHM PERFORMANCE DIRECTING TEAM

Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits” – Choreography by: Natricia Bernard

Foo Fighters – “Shame Shame” – Choreography by: Nina McNeely

Harry Styles – “Treat People With Kindness” – Choreography by: Paul Roberts

Marshmello & Halsey – “Be Kind” – Choreography by: Dani Vitale

BEST EDITING

Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open” – Editing by: Troy Charbonnet

BTS – “Butter” – BIGHIT MUSIC – Editing by: Yong Seok Choi from Lumpens

Drake – “What’s Next” – Editing by: Noah Kendal

Harry Styles – “Treat People With Kindness” – Editing by: Claudia Wass

Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon – “Peaches” – Editing by: Mark Mayr, Vinnie Hobbs

Miley Cyrus ft. Dua Lipa – “Prisoner” – RCA Records

GROUP OF THE YEAR

BLACKPINK

BTS

CNCO

Foo Fighters

Jonas Brothers

Maroon 5

Silk Sonic

twenty one pilots

SONG OF THE SUMMER

Billie Eilish – “Happier Than Ever”

BTS – “Butter”

Camila Cabello – “Don’t Go Yet”

DJ Khaled ft. Lil Baby & Lil Durk – “Every Chance I Get”

Doja Cat – “Need To Know”

Dua Lipa – “Levitating”

Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits”

Giveon – “HEARTBREAK ANNIVERSARY”

Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar & Giveon – “Peaches”

The Kid LAROI with Justin Bieber – “Stay”

Lil Nas X ft. Jack Harlow – “Industry Baby”

Lizzo ft. Cardi B – “Rumors”

Megan Thee Stallion – “Thot Shit”

Normani ft. Cardi B – “Wild Side”

Olivia Rodrigo – “good 4 u”

Shawn Mendes & Tainy – “Summer Of Love”

Who are the most nominated artists this year?

Justin Bieber – 7 nominations

Megan Thee Stallion – 6 nominations

Billie Eilish, BTS, Doja Cat, Drake, Giveon, Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo – 5 nominations

24kGoldn, Cardi B, Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift – 4 nominations

Anderson .Paak, Ariana Grande, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, SZA – 3 nominations

How do I vote? From right now through September 3, you can vote in 14 different categories by visiting VMA.MTV.com.

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