2019 MTV VMAs performers, nominees, predictions and host

The 2019 MTV Video Music Awards will undeniably boast a particularly stellar lineup of performers. As of this writing, the only formally announced artist taking the stage at the network’s annual blockbuster show is none other than Taylor Swift. The VMAs have held an important place in her pop cultural relevance: The event launched her from teen country niche singer into instant icon status when Kanye West infamously interrupted her acceptance speech for best female video, leading to a decade-long feud with the rapper and all of his associates. 

Swift’s first-ever VMAs performance was that same year, and she’s gone on to perform five more times, most recently with Nicki Minaj in 2015. However, the pop star has kept mum on details of her upcoming performance, save that it’s a “world premiere” … meaning she likely won’t be singing her latest hits, “ME!” or “You Need To Calm Down,” since both have been performed live before. That leaves “The Archer” or any other number of songs from her upcoming album, Lover, which will hit shelves ahead of the ceremony on Aug. 23. Since an alleged Lover tracklist leak revealed a possible collaboration with the Dixie Chicks, there’s also speculation her performance may include some special guests, but nothing has been officially confirmed just yet.

So, who’s hosting the 2019 VMAs, where’s the ceremony being held, and what are our predictions for this year’s winners? We’ve got the answers to all of your questions below.

Where are the 2019 MTV VMAs being held?

For the first time in MTV Video Music Awards history, the VMAs will actually be held in New Jersey on Aug. 26, 2019. While music’s big night will take place at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., previous shows have been held at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Staples Center, Nokia Theatre, and The Forum in Los Angeles, the American Airlines Arena in Miami, and more.

Insiders associated with the show said that the Garden State’s rich musical heritage was behind this decision, which is also expected to boost Newark’s local economy and tourism. “We are here in the home state of so many iconic musicians,” VMAs executive producer Bruce Gillmer gushed of this choice in location to WPIX 11. “The Boss; Bon Jovi; Queen Latifah, from right here in Newark; the late incomparable Whitney Houston; Sarah Vaughn; Franki Valli.”

Meanwhile, government officials in the state couldn’t be happier to play host. “We’re so grateful that Newark was on their radar. That they choose to land the moon guy right here in the city of Newark,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka told the news outlet. Meanwhile, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said, “The fact that the VMAs are going to be here, it acknowledges and celebrates the enormous entertainment and specifically music tradition in this state.”

Who are the 2019 MTV VMAs nominees?

Taylor Swift is tied with Ariana Grande for the most nominations at the 2019 MTV VMAs with 10 each. The songstresses are followed by Billie Eilish with nine nods and Lil Nas X with eight. With voting officially open to music fanatics everywhere, the complete list of nominations, per E! News, is as follows:

Video of the Year
21 Savage (featuring J. Cole) — “A Lot”

Billie Eilish — “Bad Guy”

Ariana Grande — “Thank U, Next”

Jonas Brothers — “Sucker”

Lil Nas X (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus) — “Old Town Road (Remix)”

Taylor Swift — “You Need to Calm Down”

Artist of the Year
Cardi B

Billie Eilish

Ariana Grande

Halsey

Jonas Brothers

Shawn Mendes

Song of the Year
Drake – “In My Feelings”

Ariana Grande — “Thank U, Next”

Jonas Brothers — “Sucker”

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – “Shallow”

Lil Nas X (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus) — “Old Town Road (Remix)”

Taylor Swift — “You Need to Calm Down”

Best New Artist
Ava Max

Billie Eilish

H.E.R.

Lil Nas X

Lizzo

Rosalía

Best Collaboration
BTS (featuring Halsey) – “Boy with Luv”

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – “Shallow”

Lil Nas X (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus) — “Old Town Road (Remix)”

Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello – “Señorita”

Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber – “I Don’t Care”

Taylor Swift (featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco) – “Me!”

Push Artist of the Year
Bazzi

CNCO

Billie Eilish

H.E.R.

Lauv

Lizzo

Best Pop Video
5 Seconds of Summer – “Easier”

Cardi B and Bruno Mars – “Please Me”

Billie Eilish — “Bad Guy”

Ariana Grande — “Thank U, Next”

Jonas Brothers — “Sucker”

Khalid — “Talk”

Taylor Swift — “You Need to Calm Down”

Best Hip Hop Video
2 Chainz (featuring Ariana Grande) – “Rule the World”

21 Savage (featuring J. Cole) — “A Lot”

Cardi B — “Money”

DJ Khaled (featuring Nipsey Hussle and John Legend) — “Higher”

Lil Nas X (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus) — “Old Town Road (Remix)”

Travis Scott (featuring Drake) — “Sicko Mode”

Best R&B Video
Childish Gambino — “Feels Like Summer”

H.E.R. (featuring Bryson Tiller) – “Could’ve Been”

Alicia Keys – “Raise a Man”

Ella Mai – “Trip”

Normani (featuring 6lack) – “Waves”

Anderson .Paak (featuring Smokey Robinson) — “Make It Better”

Best K-Pop Video
Blackpink – “Kill This Love”

BTS (featuring Halsey) – “Boy with Luv”

Exo – “Tempo”

Monsta X (featuring French Montana) – “Who Do You Love?”

NCT 127 – “Regular”

TXT – “Cat & Dog”

Best Latin Video
Anuel AA and Karol G – “Secreto”

Bad Bunny (featuring Drake) – “Mia”

Benny Blanco, Tainy, Selena Gomez and J Balvin – “I Can’t Get Enough”

Daddy Yankee (featuring Snow) – “Con Calma”

Maluma – “Mala Mía”

Rosalía and J Balvin (featuring El Guincho) – “Con Altura”

Best Dance Video
The Chainsmokers (featuring Bebe Rexha) – “Call You Mine”‘

Clean Bandit (featuring Demi Lovato) – “Solo”

DJ Snake (featuring Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B) – “Taki Taki”

David Guetta, Bebe Rexha and J Balvin – “Say My Name”

Marshmello and Bastille – “Happier”

Silk City and Dua Lipa – “Electricity”

Best Rock Video
The 1975 — “Love It If We Made It”

Fall Out Boy — “Bishops Knife Trick”

Imagine Dragons — “Natural”

Lenny Kravitz — “Low”

Panic! At The Disco — “High Hopes”

Twenty One Pilots — “My Blood”

Video for Good
Jamie N Commons and Skylar Grey (featuring Gallant) – “Runaway Train”

Halsey – “Nightmare”

The Killers – “Land of the Free”

John Legend – “Preach”

Lil Dicky – “Earth”

Taylor Swift — “You Need to Calm Down”

Best Direction
Billie Eilish — “Bad Guy” (Director: Dave Meyers)

FKA Twigs – “Cellophane” (Director: Andrew Thomas Huang)

Ariana Grande — “Thank U, Next” (Director: Hannah Lux Davis)

Lil Nas X (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus) — “Old Town Road (Remix)” (Director: Calmatic)

LSD – “No New Friends” (Director: Dano Cerny)

Taylor Swift — “You Need to Calm Down” (Director: Taylor Swift and Drew Kirsch)

Best Visual Effects
DJ Khaled (featuring SZA) – “Just Us” (Visual Effects: GloriaFX, Sergii Mashevskyi and Anatolli Kuzmytskyi)

Billie Eilish – “When the Party’s Over” (Visual Effects: Ryan Ross and Andres Jaramillo)

FKA Twigs – “Cellophane” (Visual Effects: Analog)

Ariana Grande – “God Is a Woman” (Visual Effects: Fabrice Lagayette at Mathematic)

LSD – “No New Friends” (Visual Effects: Ethan Chancer)

Taylor Swift (featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco) – “Me!” (Visual Effects: Loris Paillier and Lucas Salton for BUF VFX)

Best Editing
Billie Eilish — “Bad Guy” (Editor: Billie Eilish)

Ariana Grande – “7 Rings” (Editor: Hannah Lux Davis and Taylor Walsh)

Lil Nas X (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus) — “Old Town Road (Remix)” (Editor: Calmatic)

Anderson .Paak (featuring Kendrick Lamar) – “Tints” (Editor: Vinnie Hobbs)

Solange – “Almeda” (Editors: Solange Knowles, Vinnie Hobbs and Jonathon Proctor)

Taylor Swift — “You Need to Calm Down” (Editor: Jarrett Fijal)

Best Art Direction
BTS (featuring Halsey) – “Boy with Luv” (Art Directors: JinSil Park and BoNa Kim (MU:E))

Ariana Grande – “7 Rings” (Art Director: John Richoux)

Lil Nas X (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus) — “Old Town Road (Remix)” (Art Director: Christian Zollenkopf for Prettybird)

Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello – “Señorita” (Art Director: Tatiana Van Sauter)

Taylor Swift — “You Need to Calm Down” (Art Director: Brittany Porter)

Kanye West and Lil Pump (featuring Adele Givens) – “I Love It” (Art Director: Tino Schaedler)

Best Choreography
BTS (featuring Halsey) – “Boy with Luv” (Choreographers: Son Sungdeuk and Quick Crew)

FKA Twigs – “Cellophane” (Choreographer: Kelly Yvonne)

LSD – “No New Friends” (Choreographer: Ryan Heffington)

Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello – “Señorita” (Choreographer: Calvit Hodge)

Rosalía and J Balvin (featuring El Guincho) – “Con Altura” (Choreographer: Charm La’Donna)

Solange – “Almeda” (Choreographers: Maya Taylor and Solange Knowles)

Best Cinematography
Billie Eilish – “Hostage” (Director of Photography: Pau Castejón)

Ariana Grande — “Thank U, Next” (Director of Photography: Christopher Probst)

Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello – “Señorita” (Director of Photography: Scott Cunningham)

Anderson .Paak (featuring Kendrick Lamar) – “Tints” (Director of Photography: Elias Talbot)

Solange – “Almeda” (Directors of Photography: Chayse Irvin, Ryan Marie Helfant and Justin Hamilton)

Taylor Swift (featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco) – “Me!” (Director of Photography: Starr Whitesides)

MTV Fashion Trailblazer Award
Marc Jacobs

Who's hosting the 2019 MTV VMAs?

Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco is set to host the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards. “We’re thrilled to have the incredibly talented Sebastian Maniscalco as this year’s VMA host,” executive producer Bruce Gillmer released in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter in June 2019. “Sebastian is on FIRE right now and his comedic spin on relatable topics will make this year’s show truly unforgettable.”

This comic has a number of Comedy Central stand-up specials to his name, as well as a 2019 Netflix special called Stay Hungry. Maniscalco was Billboard‘s Comedian of the Year in 2018 (via Variety), while Forbes named him one of the highest-paid comedians of 2017 and 2018. Oh, and he’ll complete an arena tour by the end of 2019. This industry vet has also appeared on the big screen in films like Tag, Green Book, and the upcoming Martin Scorsese Mafia epic The Irishman alongside Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino. Vulture called Maniscalco’s “Doorbell Joke” one of the best of the past decade, and he co-hosts SiriusXM’s The Pete And Sebastian Show weekly with comedian Pete Correale.

If Maniscalco seems like an unlikely bet for a host, that’s kind of the point. “I didn’t really grow up with pop culture music,” he explained on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. “But I think this is gonna be fun, ’cause MTV wants kind of an unfiltered look of the VMAs through my eyes.” Indeed.

Predictions: 2019 MTV VMA winners and losers

Between the two ladies leading the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards with 10 nods each, Taylor Swift may take home more Moon People than Ariana Grande, who tweeted that she likely won’t be able to attend due to her touring schedule. “MTV likes to give awards to bodies in the building,” a source cited by Page Six claimed. “I think MTV is in a tough spot [with Grande].”

That said, Lil Nas X was a downright phenomenon throughout 2019 — as the only artist able to keep Swift’s singles, “ME!” and “You Need To Calm Down,” from the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, he even broke Mariah Carey’s singles record. Lil Nas X’s chart success, combined with his unique backstory — he recently came out and was previously blocked from the country charts for supposedly not being “country” enough — may make him a shoe-in for a well-deserved VMA. 

However, “A Lot” from 21 Savage and J. Cole dropped shortly before Savage’s ICE detention, so a potentially profound and moving acceptance speech from the rapper may be reason enough to give him a trophy. While the Jonas Brothers have only been nominated for a VMA twice before, “Sucker” is one of their biggest mainstream hits, so they may take home an award, as well.

Of course, we’ll all have to tune in to the MTV VMAs at 8 p.m. EST on Monday, Aug. 26 to see how everyone’s early predictions fare. 

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