"Due to COVID compliance issues at the last minute we had to call off the performance," Roddy Ricch said

By Eric Todisco
August 23, 2020 02:00 PM
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Roddy Ricch, J Balvin
| Credit: Randy Shropshire/Getty Images; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

J Balvin and Roddy Ricch will no longer be performing at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards.

Both artists have opted out of the lineup for this year's socially distanced Aug. 30 ceremony, according to Variety.

Ricch, 21, confirmed the news with a statement on his Instagram Story Saturday.

"Unfortunately, I won't be performing at this year's VMAs as announced. My team and I did everything in our power to make this work, due to COVID compliance issues at the last minute we had to call off the performance," the rapper said. "My team and I are safe and everyone's health is a main priority, as well as giving a quality performance. I appreciate MTV for the opportunity to perform and I hope I can see y'all next year. STAY SAFE."

Roddy Ricch Instagram Story
| Credit: Roddy Ricch/Instagram

Balvin, who has yet to publicly confirm the news, said earlier this month that he was recovering from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

"At this moment, I'm just getting better from COVID-19. These have been very difficult days, very complicated. Sometimes we won't think that we'll get it, but I got it and I got it bad," said Balvin in Spanish, speaking in a recorded message from Colombia, Billboard reported.

The "Mi Gente" singer also urged his fans to take the virus seriously. "My message to those that follow me, young fans and people in general is to take care. This isn't a joke. The virus is real and it's dangerous," he said.

Currently, the 2020 VMAs lineup includes Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, The Weeknd, BTS (the K-pop band's TV debut of their English-only single "Dynamite"), the Black Eyed Peas, DaBaby, Doja Cat, Maluma and CNCO.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 VMAs will not be held indoors at New York's Barclays Center as previously planned. Instead, the annual event will feature live outdoor performances throughout the city with limited or no audiences — adhering to New York’s health guidelines put forth amid the pandemic.

MTV decided outdoor performances "would be more feasible and safer."

"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."

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Along with the usual categories — including video of the year, artist of the year, song of the year, best collaboration and more — MTV has added two new categories aimed at honoring music created during the pandemic: best music video from home, and best quarantine performance.

This year's show will be hosted by Keke Palmer. In a statement, Bruce Gillmer, president of music, music talent, programming and events for ViacomCBS Media Networks, said, "We're thrilled to have the multi-talented Keke Palmer as this year's VMAs host. Keke is an energetic force and a quadruple threat with unmatched comedic wit who will make this year's show truly unforgettable."

The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards airs live on Aug. 30, at 8 p.m. ET.

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