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2023 MTV Video Music Awards: what to expect, how to watch, the nominees, host and more

Jack Harlow at the 2022 MTV VMAs (Getty Images for MTV/Paramount G)
Jack Harlow at the 2022 MTV VMAs (Getty Images for MTV/Paramount G)

MTV’s Video Music Awards will be taking place tonight, which means music fans are gearing up for more mayhem.

Over the four decades of the ceremony’s life, the VMAs have gained a reputation for being a raucous affair: Nicki Minaj’s “Miley what’s good”and Kanye West butting into Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech both went down on the VMAs stage.

Launched in 1984, the VMAs set out to be a different kind of award ceremony from some of its more serious competitors – and its frivolous and fun attitude has come to serve it.

“The Oscars, Emmys, and Grammys have trouble staying abreast of the times: too prim, too venerable, too stage-managed, too institutionalized,” explained Vulture in 2016. “But the VMAs, while certainly no stranger to scripted business, have the potential to manifest a chaos and excess peculiar to American culture.”

With a star-studded line-up of performers, and Nicki Minaj emceeing the event for a second year, the VMA’s 2023 edition is to be another stellar spectacle. Here’s everything to know about the upcoming award show.

What are fans expecting?

Given that the VMAs brought us some of pop culture’s most iconic moments – Madonna and Britney’s kiss, Britney’s I’m A Slave 4 U snake performance, Lady Gaga’s meat dress, Miley Cyrus’ twerking, and Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement, to name a few – this year, fans of the ceremony are expecting more excellent performances, more incredible fashion, and, most importantly, more drama.

How can you watch it?

There are two options for UK viewers. Hardcore music fans can stay up late and watch the ceremony live on Pluto TV on September 12, from 10.30pm. Or, for those that need their beauty sleep, a recording of the ceremony will be available to watch at 9pm on September 13 on MTV’s UK channel. The award show is set to take place at New Jersey’s Prudential Centre.

The nominees

This year’s nomination list, which was released in August, was seen as a major win for women and non-binary artists with men taking a backseat in many of the major prize categories. In the much-coveted Video of the Year category, for example, all the nominations are women or non-binary artists, with artists including Olivia Rodrigo, SZA, Taylor Swift, Doja Cat, and Miley Cyrus all in the running for the trophy. Similarly, in the Best Pop category all the nominees are women or non-binary artists, other than Ed Sheeran.

Taylor Swift has the most nominations of any artist this year. Swift, who currently has 14 awards (making her the VMA’s fourth most decorated artist) is in the running for a whopping 11 awards. SZA follows her closely behind with eight nominations.

Voting

While MTV selects the award show’s nominees, the public chooses the winners from the shortlists by voting – and some of the categories are still open here.

The performers

As usual, the VMAs promises some stellar performances. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion will be taking the stage during the show, as will Demi Lovato, Lil Wayne, Diddy, Olivia Rodrigo, producer Metro Boomin, Doja Cat, Fall Out Boy, Future and Shakira.

South Korean boy bands TOMORROW X TOGETHER and Stray Kids are also set to perform on the main stage, as is rapper Swae Lee, Mexican musician Peso Pluma, rock band Måneskin, rapper NAV, singer-songwriter Kelsea Ballerini, Colombian singer KAROL G, rapper A Boogie Wit da Hoodie and Brazilian singer Anitta.

American singer Sabrina Carpenter and rapper NLE Choppa will be performing at the event’s pre-show, while Kaliii, Reneé Rapp and The Warning will be playing on the Extended Play Stage.

The host

Nicki Minaj is returning to emcee the event, as well as performing. Last year Minaj was a hit, co-hosting longside LL Cool J and Jack Harlow, while also winning the Video Vanguard Award, and performing a nine-song medley.

“Performances from Blackpink and Nicki Minaj brought the house down,” said Time magazine, reporting on last year’s proceedings.

What else do we know?

Shakira and Diddy will be receiving major awards this year, with Shakira set to receive the Video Vanguard Award and Diddy set to receive the Global Icon Award.

“The hip-hop legend @Diddy is your 2023 #VMA Global Icon Award Recipient!!!” announced the VMAs last week. This makes Diddy the third recipient of the new award, which was launched in 2021 and awarded to The Foo Fighters.

The MTV VMAs 2023 will take place on September 13, at 1am UK time