The VMAs Will Feature Outdoor Performances Around NYC; Barclays Center Must Wait Till 2021

The VMAs bowed to reality on Friday (Aug. 7) and announced that the VMAs will not be held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, as originally planned. Instead, the Aug. 30 show, to be hosted by actress and singer Keke Palmer, will consist of “several outdoor performances around [New York] City with limited or no audience.” The show will return to Barclays Center (which hosted the VMAs once before, in 2013) in 2021.

BTS, Doja Cat and J Balvin are the first artists announced who will perform on the show.

Here’s the full statement from MTV: “The 2020 VMAs will be held on Sunday, August 30th and pay homage to the incredible resiliency of New York with several outdoor performances around the City with limited or no audience, adhering to all state and city guidelines. In close consultation with state and local health officials‎, it became clear at this time that outdoor performances with limited or no audience would be more feasible and safer than an indoor event. The VMAs will highlight the boroughs in an exciting show and return to Barclays Center in 2021. MTV will continue to work closely with the Department of Health, state and local officials, the medical community, and key stakeholders to ensure the safety of all involved., adhering to all state and city guidelines.”

Even pre-pandemic, the VMAs have had a history of incorporating remote elements. The idea back then was to add a fresh element. The goal now is to get a show on the air that will safeguard artists and crews and satisfy city and state requirements.

Last year, Jonas Brothers performed “Sucker” and “Only Human” from The Stone Poney in Asbury Park, N.J.

In 2018, Nicki Minaj performed a medley live from the PATH World Trade Center station in lower Manhattan.

The 2017 show included two pre-taped performances from the Palms Casino in Las Vegas — Demi Lovato’s “Sorry Not Sorry” and Rod Stewart teaming with DNCE on “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”

In 2015, three performances were taped live from outside the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and guest stars’ “Downtown,” Lovato and Iggy Azalea’s “Cool for the Summer” and Pharrell Williams’ “Freedom.”

In 2013, Katy Perry closed the show with a performance of “Roar” shot in Empire-Fulton Ferry Park in Brooklyn.

The Academy of Country Music is taking a similar approach. They are broadcasting their Sept. 16 show from three Nashville venues — the Grand Ole Opry House, Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Café. Their decision to have the show at multiple venues (which was announced way back on April 27) allows them to reduce crowding among artists and crews and have greater social distancing. Keith Urban, the ACM’s reigning entertainer of the year, is set to host the show.