The VMAs are back, which means wild outfits, celebrity beefs, and obviously music videos. Lil Nas X, Harlow, and Kendrick Lamar lead in nominations this year, and the slated performers showcase more variety than an hour of TRL. To round out the show, Eminem and Snoop Dogg will join forces for a metaverse-inspired performance of their song “From the D 2 the LBC,” which is nominated for Best Hip-Hop; it’s their first performances in 12 and 17 years, respectively. Also making a long-overdue return to the VMAs will be the Red Hot Chili Peppers, taking home the Global Icon Award over two decades after they nabbed Video Vanguard in 2000. But one of the biggest performers won’t even be on the VMAs stage — that’s Bad Bunny, who will perform a “made for VMAs” set live from his tour stop at Yankee Stadium.
As for who’s holding down the show? Nicki Minaj, Jack Harlow, and LL Cool J are set to “anchor” the 2022 ceremony in what a press release calls an “innovative and unique approach to the traditional ‘host’ gig.” The Oscars just had three women as emcees, but go off. The VMAs will also bestow the Video Vanguard Award upon Minaj, who’s also performing her new single, “Super Freaky Girl.” Meanwhile, top nominee Harlow will return for his solo VMAs debut.
Blackpink will be in the Prudential Center’s area (in Newark, that is) to debut their new song, “Pink Venom,” for their first performance on a U.S. awards show. Also, Lizzo will debut her new single, “2 Be Loved.” And Blackpink won’t be alone in representing international music as Italian band is Måneskin performing “Supermodel.”
Another historymaker, Kane Brown, will be joining his “Famous Friends” at the VMAs as the first male country musician to ever perform on the MTV show. Brown, who previously earned a rare country nomination for Video for Good in 2021, will headline the Toyota Stage, performing “Grand” off his upcoming album, Different Man. (As to why country is so underrepresented on the show? Country-music videos tend to get played on CMT, which hosts its own awards show in the summer.) Also on the subject of making history, the Toyota Stage will have something to do with mixed reality this year, per a press release.
Anitta, J Balvin, and Marshmello x Khalid are also set perform. According to the press release, Anitta will make her “main-stage debut” by singing her Best Latin–nominated song, “Envolver.” Her pal and frequent collaborator, J Balvin, is returning for the first time since 2019 when he performed “Que Pretendes” with Bad Bunny. Masked DJ Marshmello and Khalid are also teaming up for the first time to sing “Numb.” And, finally, Best Alternative category nominee Panic! At the Disco will premiere a new single, “Middle of a Breakup.” The VMAs will air live on MTV and simulcast on the CW Network channels on August 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
This post has been updated.