The Weeknd is nominated for artist of the year and his song "Blinding Lights" is up for video of the year

By Tomás Mier
Updated August 30, 2020 08:15 PM
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The Weeknd
| Credit: Kevin Mazur/MTV VMAs 2020/Getty Images for MTV

We're blinded by the lights!

The Weeknd just released his inner Joker as he opened the show at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards on an N.Y.C. rooftop, performing his hit song "Blinding Lights."

Sporting the red suit, black gloves and bloodied face from the After Hours cover (and "Blinding Lights" video), the 30-year-old rocked the first outdoor performance of the night.

The Weeknd

The performance, which kicked off with a passed-out The Weeknd in a selfie-style recorded clip, was later filled with massive fireworks and a helicopter following the star around at the Edge at Hudson Yards. The Weeknd filmed his opening performance on Thursday, Page Six reported.

"#VMAs in less than 20 minutes," tweeted the star ahead of the show with a photo of his look.

The Weeknd

Check out PEOPLE's full MTV VMAs coverage to get the latest news on one of music's biggest nights.

It's a big night for the Canada-born star, who's up for six awards — only trailing behind Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga who each have nine. The "In Your Eyes" crooner is up for both artist of the year and best video for his smash hit "Blinding Lights."

The song's video is also up for best R&B, direction, cinematography, editing and song of the summer.

The track is the Starboy's fifth number one single on the Billboard Hot 100, following in the footsteps of hit tracks "Can't Feel My Face," "The Hills" and "Heartless."

This isn't the first time the singer has performed at the VMAs. In 2015, he performed his song "Can't Feel My Face" and was introduced by Jared Leto. He didn't take home any Moonpeople that year, but has been nominated for a VMA 17 times.

Other artists performing on the VMAs stage include Gaga, Grande, BTS, Maluma, Miley Cyrus and the Black Eyed Peas. J Balvin, who's featured on Black Eyed Peas' "Ritmo," and Roddy Ricch were originally scheduled to perform, but dropped out citing coronavirus-related complications. Due to the pandemic, MTV decided to feature outdoor performances.

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"In close consultation with state and local health officials‎, it became clear at this time that outdoor performances with limited or no audience would be more feasible and safer than an indoor event," they said in a statement at the time. "The VMAs will highlight the boroughs in an exciting show and return to Barclays Center in 2021. MTV will continue to work closely with the Department of Health, state and local officials, the medical community, and key stakeholders to ensure the safety of all involved."

The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards are airing from New York City on Sunday, Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. ET.