Everything You Need to Know About the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards
On Sunday, the biggest names in pop will take over New York City’s Madison Square Garden for the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards.
Here’s everything you need to know about MTV’s big night.
Let’s start with the big one – who’s performing?
It’s Britney, bitch!
The 34-year-old singer will return to the VMA stage for the first time in almost a decade. VMA executive producer Jesse Ignjatovic told EW that fans can expect the unexpected with her comeback performance – which will include “Make Me” collaborator G-Eazy.
“It’s going to be something you’ve not seen her do before,” he said. It’s going to separate her from other performances.”
Spears is not the only one back, of course. Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj are returning too, after opening the show in 2014. The “Bang Bang” duo will take on their new collaboration “Side by Side” this time – the next single from Grande’s latest album, Dangerous Woman.
In one of the most highly-anticipated moments of the night, Rihanna will follow in the footsteps of Kanye West, Beyoncé, and Justin Timberlake when she accepts the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award and takes the stage for a medley of her hits.
“She’s not playing. She’s bringing it,” Ignjatovic told EW.
Then there’s DJ duo The Chainsmokers teaming up with Halsey for their single “Closer.” And let’s not forget Future, making his first ever VMA performance.
Nick Jonas is upgrading to the big stage, after leading the 2015 VMA pre-show. He’ll be joined by Ty Dolla $ign, for their single “Bacon.”
Wait, is there a pre-show this year too?
Duh! Snapchat superstar DJ Khaled will host the hour-long annual pre-show, alongside Charlamagne Tha God and Lizzo. Bless up!
No host this year. BUT – in lieu of a traditional host – Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele will serve as the evening’s masters of ceremonies, giving play-by-play commentary throughout the night as their alter-egos, The Shamester and Lizard Sheeple.
They won’t be alone. DJ Khaled, Nicole Byer, and Jay Pharoah will lend a hand, too. They’ll be planted throughout the venue, interacting with guests and throwing their own parties.
Is there a list of presenters yet?
You bet. Let’s start with the big ones: the Final Five! Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez, and Madison Kocian will all bring the gold to the VMA stage. They’ll be joined by another Olympic gold medalist – Michael Phelps.
And it wouldn’t be a VMAs without Kim Kardashian West.
Is Kanye coming too?
Yup. The 39-year-old rapper is nominated for Video of the Year for the controversial clip to his song “Famous.” TMZ reports that MTV is giving him four minutes of free stage time in which to run wild. Will there be a performance or just a lengthy speech? It’s anybody’s guess.
OMG what about Taylor Swift?
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No. Although she’s currently spending time in New York City, a source close to the VMAs and Swift confirms to PEOPLE the 1989 singer won’t stop by. So don’t expect a big confrontation with the Wests over that taped conversation.
Who are the nominees?
Ahhh yes. This is an awards show, after all.
Beyoncé‘s visual album Lemonade leads the pack with 11 nominations – her most at a single show. Close behind her is Adele, with eight.
Both will compete in the coveted Video of the Year category for their respective videos for “Hello” and “Formation,” against Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and West’s aforementioned “Famous.”
Will the VMAs declare the Song of Summer?
Good question! For the third year in a row, MTV is letting fans vote to pick the ultimate Song of Summer. Presented by Verizon, this year’s list includes Drake’s “One Dance,” Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Harris and Rihanna’s “This Is What You Came For,” and Sia’s “Cheap Thrills.”
Head to musical.ly to learn more about voting. The winner will be announced during the pre-show.
The 2016 MTV Video Music Awards air live on Sunday, with a pre-show beginning at 8 p.m. ET and the big show at 9 p.m. ET.