The VMAs are still happening live(!) in New York City
Apparently not everything is canceled — the wildest awards show around is still going forward.
On Monday, MTV announced that the Video Music Awards will still happen live at New York City's Barclays Center on August 30. The show's plans include a line-up that will span across all five boroughs — Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, and Manhattan — with performances from various iconic locations.
“We’re elated to bring the 2020 'VMAs' back to NYC, the cultural mecca of the world where music and entertainment are woven into the DNA,” said Bruce Gillmer, President of Music, Music Talent, Programming & Events for ViacomCBS Media Networks, in a statement.
The release also cites a commitment to the health and safety of all involved, outlining plans to implement best practices, which include extensive social distancing procedures, virtualization of components, and limited capacity or no audience. The details of the plans are still to come, as the data and situation in New York continues to evolve.
"The 2020 MTV VMAs will be the first Barclays Center event since the COVID-19 pandemic reached New York," said Oliver Weisberg, CEO of Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets, in a statement. "We’re very excited to once again host this legendary night of music, and are especially proud of the impact it will have on our Brooklyn community through the creation of local jobs. We deeply appreciate the support and advice of state and local government officials, as well as our internal management and team of medical experts, all of whom have been working hard to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved, and we will continue to closely follow their guidance throughout every step of the planning process with our partners at ViacomCBS."
This will mark the first live awards show since the coronavirus pandemic precipitated an industry-wide shut down in early March. While awards shows like The Tony Awards indefinitely postponed their 2020 proceedings, others like the ESPYs, Daytime Emmys, and BET Awards continued with a fully virtual set-up. Many of Hollywood's biggest awards galas, including the Oscars and the Golden Globes, have already postponed their 2021 ceremonies. The Emmys plan to go ahead with a ceremony in September, but exact details on how it will work remain scarce.
With live concerts and performances one of the final aspects of phased reopening plans, it's unexpected to see the VMAs plan to continue with a live show. Particularly when the show is notorious for moments that decidedly defy social distancing protocol, like the 2003 kiss between Madonna and Britney Spears and the infamous Miley Cyrus-Robin Thicke twerking moment of 2013.
Will a social distanced VMAs mean a tamer VMAs, given the show's reputation as one of the most outrageous awards shows each year?
Further details are still to come, including who will be the recipient of the Video Vanguard Award, which has previously been given to Missy Elliott, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Kanye West, Beyoncé, and Justin Timberlake, among others.