The 2018 MTV Video Music Awards airs live on Monday, August 20 (at 9 p.m. ET) on MTV

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August 20, 2018 06:35 PM

The 2018 MTV Video Music Awards are back in the Big Apple.

After last year’s trip to Los Angeles, the annual event — celebrating the best of music and videos — has returned to the place where it all began: New York City’s Radio City Music Hall, where the first-ever VMAs aired back in 1984.

This year’s show, airing live on Monday, Aug. 20, comes with the theme of “Everything Might Happen” — meaning surprises aren’t just a possibility, they’re a guarantee.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2018 MTV VMAs;

Who’s Hosting?

Cardi B
John Parra/Telemundo/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

Well here’s the first surprise… there isn’t a host! While Katy Perry took on the emcee reins last year, this year the show is going host-less.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be someone to kick things off. Rapper Cardi B will open the 2018 show, in what will be her first public appearance since welcoming daughter Kulture Kiari less than two months ago.

Cardi, born Belcalis Marlenis Almanzar, shared the news on Wednesday, clarifying on her Instagram Stories that her appearance won’t be a performance.

Still, it’ll be a big night out for the new mom. Weeks earlier, she backed out of Bruno Mars‘ fall 24K Magic Tour to spend more time with her newborn daughter and recover from her labor and delivery.

“I thought that after giving birth to my daughter that 6 weeks would be enough time for me to recover mentally and physically,” she wrote. “I also thought that I’d be able to bring her with me on tour, but I think I underestimated this whole mommy thing.”

Who’s nominated? 

Childish Gambino's "This is America"

Cardi’s appearance at the show makes sense, considering she’s leading the nominees with ten nominations. The Carters — Beyoncé and JAY-Z — follow with eight nods for their collaboration, “APES—” while Childish Gambino and Drake are tied for seven nominations each.

The night’s biggest category is video of the year. It’ll be a battle between Ariana Grande (for “No Tears Left to Cry”), Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B (for the remix to “Finesse”), Camila Cabello ft. Young Thug (for “Havana”), The Carters (for “APES**T”), Childish Gambino (for “This Is America”), and Drake (for “God’s Plan”).

As a reminder, in an effort for inclusion, the “Moonman” trophy is now a “Moon Person,” while all gendered categories (best male video, best female video, etc) have been dropped. An artist of the year is now in place. Grande, Cardi, Drake, Cabello, and Mars are all up for artist of the year as well, alongside Post Malone.

For a full list of nominees, click here.

Who’s performing?

Ariana Grande
Kevin Mazur/Getty

Most of the major nominees will take the stage, including Grande, who will perform her latest single “God Is a Woman.” Shawn Mendes (singing “”In My Blood”), Panic! At the Disco (doing “High Hopes”), Logic with Ryan Tedder (doing “One Day”), Maluma and Malone are all on the schedule too.

Travis Scott will also be making his first solo VMA performance with songs from his newly released album Astroworld.

Meanwhile, Nicki Minaj will be performing too, but not from Radio City. The Trinidadian-American rapper, who grew up in Queens, will perform on the VMAs for the seventh time, but from a remote New York location.

The night’s most anticipated performance might just be Jennifer Lopez, though — who is receiving MTV’s biggest honor, the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.

And if that weren’t enough, a selection of MTV’s Push Artists from the past year will be showcased on their very own stage. Look for sets from Jessie Reyez, PRETTYMUCH, Hayley Kiyoko, Juice WRLD, and Bazzi.

Who’s presenting? 

Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart
Milla Cochran/startraks

In place of the host, a slew of celebrity talent will help guide the show.

Names announced so far include Tiffany Haddish, Kevin Hart, Blake LivelyLiam PayneDJ Khaled, the Backstreet Boys, Millie Bobby BrownKeegan-Michael Key, Common, Lenny KravitzOlivia Munn, Bebe Rexha, Rita Ora, Teyana Taylor, Zedd, Gucci Mane, G-Eazy, Lil Uzi Vert, Amandla Stenberg, and Shay Mitchell.

When does it all start? 

The show airs live on Monday, Aug. 20 (at 9 p.m. ET) on MTV.

Is there a preshow? 

Yes! PEOPLE will be livestreaming from the red carpet, beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET.

MTV will also have their own red carpet pre-show, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET on Twitter and 8 p.m ET on the network itself.

Jersey Shore‘s Paul “Pauly D” DelVecchio, and Vinny Guadagnino will be hosting the show alongside Terrence J., Nessa, with performances from The Backstreet Boys, Bazzi and Bryce Vince.

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