MTV reveals 2021 Video Music Awards nominations

Justin Bieber and Megan Thee Stallion lead nominations

MTV has unveiled the nominations for the 2021 Video Music Awards (VMAs) featuring artists whose cultural impact and work over the past year has transformed the music industry and created global conversation. Justin Bieber leads this year’s list of nominees with seven, followed closely by Megan Thee Stallion with six with Billie Eilish, BTS, Doja Cat, Drake, Giveon, Lil Nas X and first-time nominee Olivia Rodrigo earning five nods apiece.

The 2021 VMAs return to New York City airing live from Barclays Center on Sunday, September 12th at 8 pm ET/PT, airing across MTV’s global footprint of linear and digital platforms in 180 countries and territories, reaching nearly 400 million households in nearly 30 different languages. The show will simulcast across CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV2, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, Pop, TV Land, VH1 and The CW Network, making the show available to an expanded broadcast audience for the second consecutive year.

Fans can vote for their favorites across 14 gender-neutral categories, including “Video of the Year,” “Artist of the Year,” “Best Collaboration” and more by visiting vma.mtv.com through Friday, September 3rd – thanks to Burger King, the presenter of this year’s award voting. Voting for “Best New Artist,” Presented by Facebook, will remain active into the show on Sunday, September 12th. Nominations for social categories including “Best Group” and “Song of Summer” will be announced at a later date.

MTV has partnered with Marlene Marmolejos, Aja Walton, and Fred Sands IV to announce marquee show categories including “Video of the Year,” “Song of the Year” and “Artist of the Year” through each of their diverse mediums; from digital art to nail art.

The VMAs are set to be one of the first fan-filled awards shows in NYC since the city’s reopening. The health and safety of artists, fans, staff and partners remain the number one priority, and MTV and Barclays Center are working closely with state and local officials to implement best practices in order to safely bring together music fans from around the globe. Barclays Center’s current health and safety protocols can be found here. Any additional protocols will be announced closer to the event.

MTV is also collaborating with 9/11 Day, the nonprofit that began and leads the federally recognized September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, for a series of service-oriented activities during the week leading up to the VMAs, promoting awareness and positive action in observance of the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Additional details to be announced.

VIDEO OF THE YEAR
  • Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP” – Atlantic Records
  • DJ Khaled ft. Drake – “POPSTAR” (Starring Justin Bieber) – OVO / We The Best / Epic Records
  • Doja Cat ft. SZA – “Kiss Me More” – Kemosabe Records / RCA Records
  • Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits” – Atlantic Records
  • Lil Nas X – “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” – Columbia Records
  • The Weeknd – “Save Your Tears” – XO / Republic Records
ARTIST OF THE YEAR
  • Ariana Grande – Republic Records
  • Doja Cat – Kemosabe Records / RCA Records
  • Justin Bieber – Def Jam
  • Megan Thee Stallion – 300 Entertainment
  • Olivia Rodrigo – Geffen Records
  • Taylor Swift – Republic Records
SONG OF THE YEAR
  • 24kGoldn ft. iann dior – “Mood” – RECORDS LLC / Columbia Records
  • Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open” – Aftermath Entertainment / Atlantic Records
  • BTS – “Dynamite” – BIGHIT MUSIC
  • Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP” – Atlantic Records
  • Dua Lipa – “Levitating” – Warner Records
  • Olivia Rodrigo – “drivers license” – Geffen Records
BEST NEW ARTIST, Presented by Facebook
  • 24kGoldn – RECORDS LLC / Columbia Records
  • Giveon – Epic Records / Not So Fast
  • The Kid LAROI – Columbia Records
  • Olivia Rodrigo – Geffen Records
  • Polo G – Columbia Records
  • Saweetie – Warner Records
PUSH PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
  • September 2020: Wallows – “Are You Bored Yet?” – Atlantic Records
  • October 2020: Ashnikko – “Daisy” – Warner Records
  • November 2020: SAINt JHN – “Gorgeous” – Godd Complexx / HITCO
  • December 2020: 24kGoldn – “Coco” – RECORDS LLC / Columbia Records
  • January 2021: JC Stewart – “Break My Heart” – Elektra Music Group
  • February 2021: Latto – “Sex Lies” – RCA Records
  • March 2021: Madison Beer – “Selfish” – Epic Records / Sing It Loud
  • April 2021: The Kid LAROI – “WITHOUT YOU” – Columbia Records
  • May 2021: Olivia Rodrigo – “drivers license” – Geffen Records
  • June 2021: girl in red “Serotonin” – world in red / AWAL
  • July 2021: Fousheé – “my slime” – RCA Records
  • August 2021: jxdn – “Think About Me” – DTA Records / Elektra Music Group
BEST COLLABORATION
  • 24kGoldn ft. iann dior – “Mood” – RECORDS LLC / Columbia Records
  • Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP” – Atlantic Records
  • Doja Cat ft. SZA – “Kiss Me More” – Kemosabe Records / RCA Records
  • Drake ft. Lil Durk – “Laugh Now Cry Later” – OVO / Republic Records
  • Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon – “Peaches” – Def Jam
  • Miley Cyrus ft. Dua Lipa – “Prisoner” – RCA Records
BEST POP
  • Ariana Grande – “positions” – Republic Records
  • Billie Eilish – “Therefore I Am” – Darkroom / Interscope Records
  • BTS – “Butter” – BIGHIT MUSIC
  • Harry Styles – “Treat People With Kindness” – Columbia Records
  • Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon – “Peaches” – Def Jam
  • Olivia Rodrigo – “good 4 u” – Geffen Records
  • Shawn Mendes – “Wonder” – Island Records
  • Taylor Swift – “willow” – Republic Records
BEST HIP-HOP
  • Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP” – Atlantic Records
  • Drake ft. Lil Durk – “Laugh Now Cry Later” – OVO / Republic Records
  • Lil Baby ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “On Me (remix)” – Quality Control / Motown
  • Moneybagg Yo – “Said Sum” – N-Less Entertainment / Interscope Records
  • Polo G – “RAPSTAR” – Columbia Records
  • Travis Scott ft. Young Thug & M.I.A. – “FRANCHISE” – Cactus Jack / Epic Records
BEST ROCK
  • Evanescence – “Use My Voice” – BMG
  • Foo Fighters – “Shame Shame” – Roswell Records / RCA Records
  • John Mayer – “Last Train Home” – Columbia Records
  • The Killers – “My Own Soul’s Warning” – Island
  • Kings Of Leon – “The Bandit” – RCA Records
  • Lenny Kravitz – “Raise Vibration” – Roxie Records / BMG
BEST ALTERNATIVE
  • Bleachers – “Stop Making This Hurt” – RCA Records
  • Glass Animals – “Heat Waves” – Republic Records
  • Imagine Dragons – “Follow You” – KIDinaKORNER / Interscope Records
  • Machine Gun Kelly ft. blackbear – “my ex’s best friend” – Bad Boy / Interscope Records
  • twenty one pilots – “Shy Away” – Fueled By Ramen
  • WILLOW ft. Travis Barker – “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l” – MSFTSMusic / Roc Nation
BEST LATIN
  • Bad Bunny x Jhay Cortez – “Dákiti” – The Orchard
  • Billie Eilish & ROSALÍA – “Lo Vas A Olvidar” – Darkroom / Interscope Records
  • Black Eyed Peas and Shakira – “GIRL LIKE ME” – Epic Records
  • Balvin, Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny, Tainy – “UN DIA (ONE DAY)” – Universal Music Latino / NEON16
  • Karol G – “Bichota” – Universal Music Latino
  • Maluma – “Hawái” – Sony Music US Latin
BEST R&B
  • Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, WizKid – “BROWN SKIN GIRL” – Parkwood Entertainment / Columbia Records
  • Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open” – Aftermath Entertainment / Atlantic Records
  • Chris Brown and Young Thug – “Go Crazy” – Chris Brown Entertainment/RCA Records
  • Giveon – “HEARTBREAK ANNIVERSARY” – Epic Records / Not So Fast
  • H.E.R. ft. Chris Brown – “Come Through” – MBK Entertainment / RCA Records
  • SZA – “Good Days” – Top Dawg Entertainment / RCA Records
BEST K-POP
  • (G)I-DLE – “DUMDi DUMDi” – Republic Records
  • BLACKPINK and Selena Gomez – “Ice Cream” – YG Entertainment / Interscope Records
  • BTS – “Butter” – BIGHIT MUSIC Monsta X – “Gambler” – Starship Entertainment
  • SEVENTEEN – “Ready to love” – Pledis Entertainment
  • TWICE – “Alcohol-Free” – JYP Entertainment Company
VIDEO FOR GOOD
  • Billie Eilish – “Your Power” – Darkroom / Interscope Records
  • Demi Lovato – “Dancing With The Devil” – Island
  • H.E.R. – “Fight For You” – MBK Entertainment / RCA Records
  • Kane Brown – “Worldwide Beautiful” – Sony Music Nashville / RCA Records
  • Lil Nas X – “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” – Columbia Records
  • Pharrell Williams ft. JAY-Z – “Entrepreneur” – Columbia Records
BEST DIRECTION
  • Billie Eilish – “Your Power” – Darkroom / Interscope Records – Directed by: Billie Eilish
  • DJ Khaled ft. Drake – “POPSTAR (Starring Justin Bieber)” – OVO / We The Best / Epic Records – Directed by: Julien Christian Lutz aka Director X
  • Lil Nas X – “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” – Columbia Records – Directed by: Lil Nas X and Tanu Muino
  • Taylor Swift – “willow” – Republic Records – Directed by: Taylor Swift
  • Travis Scott ft. Young Thug & M.I.A – “Franchise” – Cactus Jack / Epic Records – Directed by: Travis Scott
  • Tyler, The Creator – “LUMBERJACK” – Columbia Records – Directed by: Wolf Haley
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
  • Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, WizKid – “BROWN SKIN GIRL” – Parkwood Entertainment / Columbia Records – Cinematography by: Benoit Soler, Malik H. Sayeed, MOHAMMAED ATTA AHMED, Santiago Gonzalez, Ryan Helfant
  • Billie Eilish – “Therefore I Am” – Darkroom / Interscope Records – Cinematography by: Rob Witt
  • Foo Fighters – “Shame Shame” – Roswell Records / RCA Records – Cinematography by: Santiago Gonzalez
  • Justin Bieber ft. Chance The Rapper – “Holy” – RBMG/Def Jam – Cinematography by: Elias Talbot
  • Lady Gaga – “911” – Interscope Records – Cinematography by: Jeff Cronenweth
  • Lorde – “Solar Power” – LAVA/Republic Records – Cinematography by: Andrew Stroud
BEST ART DIRECTION
  • Beyoncé, Shatta Wale, Major Lazer – “ALREADY” – Parkwood Entertainment / Columbia Records – Art Direction by: Susan Linns, Gerard Santos
  • Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits” – Atlantic Records – Art Direction by: Alison Dominitz
  • Lady Gaga – “911” – Interscope Records – Art Direction by: Tom Foden, Peter Andrus
  • Lil Nas X – “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” – Columbia Records – Art Direction by: John Richoux
  • Saweetie ft. Doja Cat – “Best Friend” – Warner Records – Art Direction by: Art Haynes
  • Taylor Swift – “willow” – Republic Records – Art Direction by: Ethan Tobman, Regina Fernandez
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
  • Bella Poarch – “Build A Bitch” – Warner Records – Visual Effects by: Andrew Donoho, Denhov Visuals, Denis Strahhov, Rein Jakobson, Vahur Kuusk, Tatjana Pavlik, Yekaterina Vetrova
  • Coldplay – “Higher Power” – Atlantic Records – Visual Effects by: Mathematic
  • Doja Cat & The Weeknd – “You Right” – Kemosabe Records / RCA Records – Visual Effects by: La Pac, Anthony Lestremau, Julien Missaire, Petr Shkolniy, Alexi Bailla, Micha Sher, Antoine Hache, Mikros MPC, Nicolas Huget, Guillaume Ho Tsong Fang, Benjamin Lenfant, Stephane Pivron, MPC Bangalore, Chanakya Chander, Raju Ganesh, David Rouxel
  • Glass Animals – “Tangerine” – Republic Records – Visual Effects by: Ronan Fourreau
  • Lil Nas X – “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” – Columbia Records – Visual Effects by: Mathematic
  • P!NK – “All I Know So Far” – RCA Records – Visual Effects by: Dave Meyers, Freenjoy Inc
BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
  • Ariana Grande – “34+35” – Republic Records – Choreography by: Brian Nicholson & Scott Nicholson
  • BTS – “Butter” – BIGHIT MUSIC – Choreography by: SON SUNG DEUK With BHM PERFORMANCE DIRECTING TEAM
  • Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits” – Atlantic Records – Choreography by: Natricia Bernard
  • Foo Fighters – “Shame Shame” – Roswell Records / RCA Records – Choreography by: Nina McNeely
  • Harry Styles – “Treat People With Kindness” – Columbia Records – Choreography by: Paul Roberts
  • Marshmello & Halsey – “Be Kind” – Astralwerks / Capitol Records – Choreography by: Dani Vitale
BEST EDITING
  • Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open” – Aftermath Entertainment/Atlantic Records – Editing by: Troy Charbonnet
  • BTS – “Butter” – BIGHIT MUSIC – Editing by: Yong Seok Choi from Lumpens
  • Drake – “What’s Next” – OVO/Republic Records – Editing by: Noah Kendal
  • Harry Styles – “Treat People With Kindness” – Columbia Records – Editing by: Claudia Wass
  • Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon – “Peaches” – Def Jam – Editing by: Mark Mayr, Vinnie Hobbs
  • Miley Cyrus ft. Dua Lipa – “Prisoner” – RCA Records

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Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: info@themusicuniverse.com
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