Why Best New Artist Winner Billie Eilish Skipped the 2019 MTV VMAs

Billie Eilish also accepted the PUSH artist of the year VMA via pre-recorded video

Billie Eilish already won PUSH artist of the year before the 2019 VMAs officially started, and netted nine other nominations ahead of the show. Yet when past winner Hayley Kiyoko gave the award on MTV’s pre-show, Eilish was nowhere to be seen, instead accepting via pre-recorded video.

“I just wanted to thank you guys so much for making me MTV’s PUSH artist of the year,” Eilish told fans in the video. “Love you.”

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Later in the night, she also beat out Lizzo in the fan-voted award for best new artist.

“Unfortunately I’m on tour right now, actually in Russia, so I cannot come, which breaks my heart,” Eilish, 17 explained over prerecorded video of her absence from the ceremony. Added the star, “I want to thank my fans because you guys are the reason that anybody cares about me at all. So thank you, thank you thank you, I love you guys.”

The breakout “Bad Guy” singer previously posted to her Instagram Story that she is en route to Moscow, where she is due to play an Aug. 27 show at the 14,000-person capacity Megasport Arena. In the middle of a summer European tour, Eilish played back-to-back sets at Reading Festival and Leeds Festival in England on Aug. 24 and 25.

Eilish posted a video to her Story showing herself boarding an airplane, with the location captioned “Russia.” She followed up the post with a selfie aboard the plane and a photo of the sticky notes heralding her just-announced Sept. 28 Saturday Night Live season-premiere appearance as musical guest.

Eilish returns to the U.S. for a string of festivals and headlining dates starting Sept. 14.

PUSH artist of the year, awarded for just the second year, recognizes an emerging artist. Along with that and best new artist, Eilish also won best editing for her self-edited “Bad Guy” video. She was also nominated for artist of the year, video of the year, best pop, best direction, best visual effects, best cinematography and song of the summer.

Billie Eilish

“Bad Guy,” which garnered Eilish many of her nominations, recently knocked Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” off its record-setting 19-week run atop the Billboard Hot 100.

The 2019 MTV Video Music Awards are airing live from Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center on Monday, Aug. 26, at 8 p.m. ET.

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