As events from last night’s BET Awards to April’s Academy of Country Music Awards special have shown, you can put on a damn entertaining remote ceremony. But as they say, ain’t nothing like the real thing, so MTV is going ahead with a live Video Music Awards on August 30. New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced the news on June 29, saying the event would be held at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center arena with “limited or no audience.” The ceremony, which last year took place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, first floated the idea of an in-person event in late May. “We are working on several contingency plans to bring music’s biggest night to audiences everywhere,” the VMAs said in a statement then, with options including audience-free and virtual events. Opting for the former over the latter is certainly a choice during a pandemic. At least it’s not a packed country concert.
Update, 4:30 p.m.: A press release from MTV provides the tiniest bit of clarity around plans for the in-person event. “Among the measures all parties involved have aligned to include extensive social distancing procedures, meaningful capacity limitations, the virtualization of components where possible, and limited capacity or no audience,” the release said. “Details and potential options to come at a later date based on the science and data in New York.” So it sounds like at least some of the event will take place remotely, although the release also promises, “Spanning all five boroughs — Brooklyn, The Bronx, Staten Island, Queens and Manhattan — music’s biggest night will feature epic performances from various iconic locations.” Condolences to whoever has to ferry over to Staten Island. But rest assured: The VMAs confirmed that “the health and safety of artists, fans, industry, staff, and partners is of the utmost importance.” Whew!