The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards are going down this weekend, and the ceremony plans to safely celebrate plenty of firsts.
The evening’s host Keke Palmer will be the first woman of color to host the VMAs since then-MTV VJ Downtown Julie Brown co-hosted in 1986-87. “It’s an opportunity for representation. Just knowing that someone who looks like me will get the opportunity to see me up there, which will make it more possible for them to see it for themselves. I want to give it my best so I can let them know what’s possible for them — and they can obviously go beyond that,” Palmer told Billboard in an interview Friday (Aug. 28), two days before her big night.
But it’s a big night for others taking the stage with the TV debut performances of their latest hit singles, from BTS blowing it up with their English-language single “Dynamite” to Miley Cyrus shining underneath the “Midnight Sky” to Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga making a grand splash with their No. 1 hit “Rain On Me.” Both pop superstars lead this year’s nominations with nine each, seven of which are dedicated to “Rain On Me.”
The Black Eyed Peas will also make the TV debut performance of “Vida Loca,” but it’s not the only debut listed under the group’s name: This marks their first-ever performance ever at the VMAs, despite performing their top 10 Hit 100 hit “Where Is the Love?” during the pre-show 17 years ago. “Looking back, I can’t believe Black Eyed Peas have never played the MTV Video Music Awards,” will.i.am said in a statement. “…To be on the top of the charts and on the MTV VMA big stage is a blessing.”
Two new timely categories also cropped up for the 2020 edition of the awards show, best music video from home and best quarantine performance.
Fans can still vote for who should win in the song of the summer category on MTV’s Instagram Stories, which is down to the final four: Blackpink‘s “How You Like That,” Doja Cat‘s “Say So,” Harry Styles‘ “Watermelon Sugar” and Pop Smoke‘s “The Woo,” featuring 50 Cent and Roddy Ricch.
The pre-show will air at 6:30 p.m. ET, which is hosted by Nessa Diab and Jamila Mustafa and featuring performances by Chloe x Halle, Jack Harlow, Lewis Capaldi, Tate McRae, and Machine Gun Kelly featuring Travis Barker and blackbear. Special correspondents Kevan Kenney and Travis Mills will host celebrity interviews and coast-to-coast coverage during the 90-minute awards show warmup.
The 2020 VMAs will air live from various outdoor locations in New York City on Sunday, Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. ET on MTV, MTV.com and the network’s app.
But the firsts don’t stop just yet, because the 2020 awards ceremony will be simulcast across 12 ViacomCBS networks, including BET, BET Her, CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV2, Nick at Nite, Paramount Network, Pop, TV Land, VH1 and The CW, for the first time in its 36-year history. Non-cable subscribers can also watch MTV on various live TV streaming services.