2020 MTV VMAs: Everything You Need to Know Before Watching the Big Show


The 2020 MTV VMAs are taking over New York City this evening, with segments from each of the Big Apple’s five boroughs beginning at 8PM ET on MTV.

While the VMAs are always iconic, this year’s will really have everyone talking for many reasons. The 2020 MTV VMAs will be the first non-virtual award show since the Coronavirus pandemic impacted the nation earlier this year, ultimately setting the precedent for future telecasts this upcoming awards season. Plus, artists like Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish and The Weekend are up for a ton of hardware this eveningand BTS will be performing their brand new single “Dynamite” for the first. time. ever. 

To make sure you are fully prepared for later, Celeb Secrets put together a cheat sheet on all things VMAs. From a complete list of celebs making appearances to where to watch and more, this list has got ya covered.

Give us a follow on Twitter at @celebsecrets and IG at @celebsecrets, as we’ll be live tweeting (and Instagramming) the best moments from both the pre-show and the main event.

When are the 2020 MTV VMAs?

The 2020 MTV VMAs air TONIGHT, August 30th @ 8PM ET on MTV, with the official 2020 “VMAs” Pre-Show airing on Sunday, August 30th at 6:30pm ET/PT on MTV as well. It will be hosted by Keke Palmer.

Where can you watch the show?

As we just mentioned, you can watch the 2020 MTV VMAs LIVE on MTV beginning at 8PM ET. It will also simulcast across 11 ViacomCBS channels including BET, BET Her, CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV2, Nick at Nite, Paramount Network, Pop, TV Land and VH1, as well as The CW. Airing the VMAs on The CW makes the show available to an expanded audience for the first time ever.

Will there be a red carpet? 

Unfortunately, due to strict social distancing guidelines, there will be no red carpet at this year’s VMAs. There will, however, be a pre-show hosted by Nessa Diab and Jamila Mustafa and will feature celebrity interviews, coast to coast coverage and more from celebrity correspondents, Kevan Kenney and Travis Mills

The pre-show will also feature performances from Chloe x Halle, Jack Harlow, Lewis Capaldi, Tate McRae and Machine Gun Kelly featuring Travis Barker and blackbearas well as some everyday heroes that are fighting on the front lines of the Coronavirus pandemic. Brought to viewers by EXTRA® Gum, Everyday Heroes: Frontline Medical Workerswill celebrate the best performances by first responders – doctors, nurses, and other frontline medical workers – who kept everyone going with their impromptu and off-the-cuff performances. Nominees include: Dr. Elvis Francois and Dr. William Robinson – ‘Imagine’; Dr. Nate Wood – ‘Lean On Me’; Jefferson University Hospital’s Swab Squad – ‘Level Up’; Jason ‘Tik Tok Doc’ Campbell; and Lori Marie Key – ‘Amazing Grace.’

Make sure to tune in at 6:30PM ET/PT on MTV!

Who is nominated? 

There are 15 gender-neutral categories at the VMAs, and Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga lead the pack with 9 chances to win a moonperson this year! Billie Eilish and The Weeknd aren’t too far behind, as they each received six nominations.

Other big noms were given to artists like BTS (3 nominations – Best Pop, Best K-Pop, Best Choreography); DaBaby (3 nominations – Artist of the Year, Best Hip-Hop: “BOP,” Best Choreography: “BOP”); Doja Cat (3 nominations – Song of the Year, PUSH Best New Artist, Best Direction); CNCO (2 nominations – Best Quarantine Performance, Best Choreography); and Maluma (1 nomination – Best Latin Video).

Noteworthy categories to watch include “Video of the Year,” “Song of the Year,” “Best Collaboration” and the show’s newest “Best Music Video From Home” and “Best Quarantine Performance.”

You can view a full list of nominees here.

What about the performers?

The VMAs are known for putting on some of the biggest and buzzworthy performances in award show history, and this year will be no different. Following all of New York City’s social distancing guidelines, viewers will see Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga bring their smash hit “Rain on Me” to life, highly-anticipated VMA returns from Miley Cyrus and The Weeknd; and the television debut of BTS all-English single “Dynamite.” Viewers will also be treated to performances from Black Eyed Peas, DaBaby, Doja Cat, Maluma and CNCO.

Previously announced J Balvin and Roddy Ricch have dropped out of the show this year.

And presenters?

Big celebs are headed to the Big Apple to present hardware to this year’s nominees, including actors Drew Barrymore, Anthony Ramos, Joey King and Sofia Carson; musicians Bebe Rexha, Jaden Smith, Kelly Clarkson, Machine Gun Kelly, Madison Beer and blink-182 drummer Travis Barker; and socialites Bella Hadid and Nicole Richie.

How is everyone staying safe amid the pandemic?

To adhere to public health precautions and COVID-19 restrictions, the VMAs performances this year will all be held outside. The network said in a statement that the format will “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 earlier this summer.

“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.”

In addition, all celebs traveling to perform and participate in the at the VMAs will not face the statewide mandatory 14-day quarantine imposed on travelers coming from areas with high rates of COVID-19.

“Similar to professional athletes, the VMA cast and crew are required to adhere to strict procedures which include quarantining when not working, wearing masks and appropriate social distancing, and rigorous testing during their stay,” New York’s Department of Health told CBS News in a statement. “Exemptions to the travel advisory, which The Department has granted on a case by case basis, include individuals who have traveled to New York for medical procedures or funerals, as examples.”

Just in case you forgot, make sure to tune in to the 2020 MTV VMAs TONIGHT, August 30th @ 8PM ET on MTV! 


  • Juliet Schroder

    Juliet is the founder and executive producer/host of Celeb Secrets and Celeb Secrets Country. When not reporting on the latest news in pop culture and country music, she enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, watching sports and exploring the latest fashion trends. Juliet holds a B.S. in marketing from St. John's University.

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Juliet is the founder and executive producer/host of Celeb Secrets and Celeb Secrets Country. When not reporting on the latest news in pop culture and country music, she enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, watching sports and…

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