2020 MTV Video Music Awards: Lady Gaga is the top winner; The Weeknd, BTS, Ariana Grande also win big

August 30, 2020

by Carla Hay

With five prizes, including Artist of the Year, Lady Gaga emerged as the biggest winner at the 37th annual MTV Video Music Awards, which were presented at various outdoor locations in New York City on August 30, 2020. The MTV VMAs are voted for online by the public. The ceremony was originally going to be held indoors at Barclays Center in New York City’s Brooklyn borough, but those plans were scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic. The ceremony, hosted by Keke Palmer, was dedicated to actor Chadwick Boseman, who died of colon cancer on August 28, 2020.

For the first time in MTV VMA history, the ceremony was simulcast on MTV and on The CW broadcast network. MTV and The CW are both owned by ViacomCBS. The MTV VMAs continued to have simulcasts on ViacomCBS-owned cable TV networks such as BET, BET Her, CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV2, Nick at Nite, Paramount Network, Pop, TV Land and VH1.

In addition to the subdued, mostly serious tone of the show, this year’s MTV VMA ceremony was very different because many of the performers on stage wore masks due to the pandemic. Several of the acceptance speeches had messages addressing the pandemic and civil unrest affecting the world. This wasn’t a ceremony where people were going to pull any crazy publicity stunts that the MTV VMAs are known for having. And as with other award shows and similar events that are being held during the pandemic, the MTV VMAs in 2020 did not have “red carpet” arrivals or a backstage press room.

Lady Gaga had several costume changes during the numerous times she was on stage, either to perform or to accept a VMA trophy. She was given the MTV Tricon Award for career achievement (a non-competitive category) in addition to winning Artist of the Year. Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s duet “Rain on Me” picked up three prizes: Song of the Year, Best Collaboration and Best Cinematography. Grande and Lady Gaga performed “Rain on Me” at the ceremony. Lady Gaga and Grande had the most nominations (nine each) going into the ceremony.

Grande ended up winning four VMA prizes: The aforementioned three VMAs for “Rain on Me,” plus one for Grande and Justin Bieber’s duet “Stuck With U,” which was the first MTV VMA winner for Best Music Video From Home, a category that was created because of the pandemic. Another pandemic-created category this year was Best Quarantine Performance, which went to CNCO for “MTV Unplugged at Home.”

The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” won two prizes: Video of the Year and Best R&B. BTS picked up four prizes: Best Group, while BTS’s “On” video garnered the awards for Best Pop, Best K-Pop and Best Choreography.

The 2020 MTV VMA also added a pandemic-related category called Everyday Heroes: Frontline Medical Workers, “celebrating the best performances by first responders— doctors, nurses and other frontline medical workers—who kept everyone going with their impromptu and off-the-cuff performances,” according to a press release from MTV. All of the nominees ended up winning the award.

Chloe x Halle, Jack Harlow, Lewis Capaldi, Tate McRae and Machine Gun Kelly featuring Travis Barker and Blackbear performed during the 2020 VMAs Pre-Show, which was hosted by Jamila Mustafa and Nessa, and featured interviews by celebrity correspondents Kevan Kenney and Travis Mills.

The presenters at the 2020 MTV VMAs were host Palmer, Jaden Smith, Drew Barrymore, Anthony Ramos, Joey King, Madison Beer, Nicole Richie, Kelly Clarkson, Sofia Carson, Bella Hadid, Travis Barker, Machine Gun Kelly and Bebe Rexha.

Bruce Gillmer and Den of Thieves co-founder Jesse Ignjatovic were executive producers for the 2020 MTV VMAs. Barb Bialkowski was co-executive producer. Alicia Portugal and Jackie Barba served as executives in charge of production. Wendy Plaut was executive in charge of celebrity talent. Lisa Lauricella was the show’s music talent executive. Official sponsors of the 2020 MTV VMAS included Burger King, Chime Banking, Coors Light, Extra Gum and Pepsi.

Here is the list of performers and the songs they performed at the 2020 MTV VMAs:

  • The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights”
  • DaBaby – “Peep Hole,” “Blind” and “Rockstar”
  • Miley Cyrus – “Midnight Sky”
  • Maluma – “Hawái”
  • BTS – “Dynamite”
  • Lady Gaga – “Chromatica II” “911,” “Rain on Me” (with Ariana Grande) and “Stupid Love”
  • Doja Cat – “Say So” and “Like That”
  • Keke Palmer – “Snack”
  • CNCO – “Beso”
  • Black Eyed Peas with Nicky Jam and Tyga – “I Gotta Feeling”
  • JP Saxe and Julia Michaels – “If the World Was Ending” (advertisement for Extra Gum)

COMPLETE LIST OF WINNERS AND NOMINEES

* = winner

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Billie Eilish – “Everything I Wanted” – Darkroom / Interscope Records

Eminem featuring Juice WRLD – “Godzilla” – Shady / Aftermath / Interscope Records

Future featuring Drake – “Life Is Good” – Epic Records / Freebandz

Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande – “Rain on Me” – Streamline / Interscope Records

Taylor Swift – “The Man” – Republic Records

The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights” – XO / Republic Records*


ARTIST OF THE YEAR

DaBaby – SCMG / Interscope Records

Justin Bieber – RBMG / Def Jam

Lady Gaga – Streamline / Interscope Records*

Megan Thee Stallion – 300 Entertainment

Post Malone – Republic Records

The Weeknd – XO / Republic Records


SONG OF THE YEAR

Billie Eilish – “Everything I Wanted” – Darkroom / Interscope Records

Doja Cat – “Say So” – Kemosabe / RCA Records

Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande – “Rain on Me” – Streamline / Interscope Records*

Megan Thee Stallion – “Savage” – 300 Entertainment

Post Malone – “Circles” – Republic Records

Roddy Ricch – “The Box” – Atlantic Records


BEST COLLABORATION

Ariana Grande & Justin Bieber – “Stuck With U” – Republic Records / Def Jam

Black Eyed Peas featuring J Balvin – “RITMO (Bad Boys for Life)” – Epic Records / We The Best

Ed Sheeran featuring Khalid – “Beautiful People” – Atlantic Records

Future featuring Drake – “Life Is Good” – Epic Records / Freebandz

Karol G featuring Nicki Minaj – “Tusa” – Universal Music Latin Entertainment

Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande – “Rain on Me” – Streamline / Interscope Records*

PUSH BEST NEW ARTIST, Presented by Chime Banking

Doja Cat – Kemosabe / RCA Records*

Jack Harlow – Generation Now / Atlantic Records

Lewis Capaldi – Capitol Records

Roddy Ricch – Atlantic Records

Tate McRae – RCA Records

YUNGBLUD – Locomotion Recordings / Geffen Records / Interscope Records

BEST POP

BTS – “On” – Big Hit Entertainment*

Halsey – “You Should Be Sad” – Capitol Records

Jonas Brothers – “What a Man Gotta Do” – Republic Records

Justin Bieber featuring Quavo – “Intentions” – RBMG / Def Jam

Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande – “Rain on Me” – Streamline / Interscope Records

Taylor Swift – “Lover” – Republic Records


BEST HIP-HOP

DaBaby – “BOP” – SCMG / Interscope Records

Eminem featuring Juice WRLD – “Godzilla” – Shady / Aftermath / Interscope Records

Future featuring Drake – “Life Is Good” – Epic Records / Freebandz

Megan Thee Stallion – “Savage” – 300 Entertainment*

Roddy Ricch – “The Box” – Atlantic Records

Travis Scott – “Highest in the Room” – Epic Records / Cactus Jack

BEST ROCK

Blink-182 – “Happy Days” – Columbia Records

Coldplay – “Orphans” – Atlantic Records*

Evanescence – “Wasted on You” – BMG

Fall Out Boy featuring Wyclef Jean – “Dear Future Self (Hands Up)” – Island Records

Green Day – “Oh Yeah!” – Reprise / Warner Records

The Killers – “Caution” – Island Records


BEST ALTERNATIVE

The 1975 – “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)” – Dirty Hit / Interscope Records

All Time Low – “Some Kind of Disaster” – Fueled By Ramen

Finneas – “Let’s Fall in Love for the Night” – AWAL

Lana Del Rey – “Doin’ Time” – Interscope Records

Machine Gun Kelly – “Bloody Valentine” – Bad Boy / Interscope Records*

Twenty One Pilots – “Level of Concern” – Elektra Music Group / Fueled By Ramen

BEST LATIN

Anuel AA featuring Daddy Yankee, Ozuna, Karol G & J Balvin – “China” – Real Hasta La Muerte

Bad Bunny – “Yo Perreo Sola” – Rimas Entertainment

Black Eyed Peas featuring Ozuna and J. Rey Soul – “MAMACITA” – Epic Records

J Balvin – “Amarillo” – Universal Music Latin Entertainment

Karol G featuring Nicki Minaj – “Tusa” – Universal Music Latin Entertainment

Maluma featuring J Balvin – “Qué Pena” – Sony Music Latin*

BEST R&B

Alicia Keys – “Underdog” – RCA Records

Chloe x Halle – “Do It” – Parkwood / Columbia Records

H.E.R. featuring YG – “Slide” – MBK / RCA Records

Khalid featuring Summer Walker – “Eleven” – Right Hand Music / RCA Records

Lizzo – “Cuz I Love You” – Atlantic Records

The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights” – XO / Republic Records*

BEST K-POP

(G)I-DLE – “Oh My God” – Republic Records

BTS – “On” – Big Hit Entertainment*

EXO – “Obsession” – SM Entertainment

Monsta X – “Someone’s Someone” – Epic Records

Tomorrow X Together – “9 and Three Quarters (Run Away)” Republic Records

Red Velvet – “Psycho” – SM Entertainment

VIDEO FOR GOOD

Anderson .Paak – “Lockdown” – 12 Tone Music Group

Billie Eilish – “All the Good Girls Go to Hell” – Darkroom / Interscope Records

Demi Lovato – “I Love Me” – Island Records

H.E.R. – ”I Can’t Breathe” – MBK / RCA Records*

Lil Baby – “The Bigger Picture” – Quality Control Music / Motown / Capitol Music Group

Taylor Swift – “The Man” – Republic Records

BEST MUSIC VIDEO FROM HOME

5 Seconds of Summer – “Wildflower” – Interscope Records

Ariana Grande with Justin Bieber – “Stuck with U” – Republic Records / Def Jam*

Blink-182 – “Happy Days” – Columbia Records

Drake – “Toosie Slide” – OVO/Republic Records

John Legend – “Bigger Love” – Columbia Records

Twenty One Pilots – “Level of Concern” – Elektra Music Group / Fueled by Ramen

BEST QUARANTINE PERFORMANCE

Chloe & Halle – “Do It” from MTV’s Prom-athon

CNCO – Unplugged at Home*

DJ D-Nice – Club MTV presents #DanceTogether

John Legend – #togetherathome Concert Series

Lady Gaga – “Smile” from One World: Together at Home

Post Malone – Nirvana Tribute

BEST DIRECTION

Billie Eilish – “Xanny” – Darkroom / Interscope Records – Directed by Billie Eilish

Doja Cat – “Say So” – Kemosabe / RCA Records – Directed by Hannah Lux Davis

Dua Lipa – “Don’t Start Now” – Warner Records – Directed by Nabil

Harry Styles – “Adore You” – Columbia Records – Directed by Dave Meyers

Taylor Swift – “The Man” – Republic Records – Directed by Taylor Swift*

The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights” – XO / Republic Records – Directed by Anton Tammi

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

5 Seconds of Summer – “Old Me” – Interscope Records – Cinematography by Kieran Fowler

Camila Cabello featuring DaBaby – “My Oh My” – Syco Music / Epic Records – Cinematography by Dave Meyers

Billie Eilish – “All the Good Girls Go to Hell” – Darkroom / Interscope Records – Cinematography by Christopher Probst

Katy Perry – “Harleys In Hawaii” – Capitol Records – Cinematography by Arnau Valls

Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande – “Rain on Me” – Streamline / Interscope Records – Cinematography by Michael Merriman*

The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights” – XO / Republic Records – Cinematography by Oliver Millar

BEST ART DIRECTION

A$AP Rocky – “Babushka Boi” – Polo Grounds Music / RCA Records – Art Direction by A$AP Rocky, Nadia Lee Cohen and Brittany Porter

Dua Lipa – “Physical” – Warner Records – Art Direction by Anna Colomé Nogu ́

Harry Styles – “Adore You” – Columbia Records – Art Direction by Laura Ellis Cricks

Miley Cyrus – “Mother’s Daughter” – RCA Records – Art Direction by Christian Stone*

Selena Gomez – “Boyfriend” – Interscope Records – Art Direction by Tatiana Van Sauter

Taylor Swift – “Lover” – Republic Records – Art Direction by Kurt Gefke

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Billie Eilish – “All the Good Girls Go to Hell” – Darkroom / Interscope Records – Visual Effects by Drive Studios

Demi Lovato – “I Love Me” – Island Records – Visual Effects by Hoody FX

Dua Lipa – “Physical” – Warner Records – Visual Effects by EIGHTY4*

Harry Styles – “Adore You” – Columbia Records – Visual Effects by Mathematic

Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande – “Rain on Me” – Streamline / Interscope Records – Visual Effects by Ingenuity Studios

Travis Scott – “Highest in the Room” – Epic Records / Cactus Jack – Visual Effects by Artjail, Scissor Films & Frender

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

BTS – “On” – Big Hit Entertainment – Choreography by The Lab and Son Sung Deuk*

CNCO & Natti Natasha – “Honey Boo” – Sony Music Latin / RCA Records – Choreography by Kyle Hanagami

DaBaby – “BOP” – SCMG / Interscope Records – Choreography by Dani Leigh and Cherry

Dua Lipa – “Physical” – Warner Records – Choreography by Charm La’Donna

Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande – “Rain on Me” – Streamline / Interscope Records – Choreography by Richy Jackson

Normani – “Motivation” – Keep Cool / RCA Records – Choreography by Sean Bankhead

BEST EDITING

Halsey – “Graveyard” – Capitol Records – Edited by Emilie Aubry, Janne Vartia & Tim Montana

James Blake – “Can’t Believe the Way We Flow” – Republic Records – Edited by Frank Lebon

Lizzo – “Good as Hell” – Atlantic Records – Edited by Russell Santos & Sofia Kerpan

Miley Cyrus – “Mother’s Daughter” – RCA Records – Edited by Alexandre Moors, Nuno Xico*

Rosalía – “A Palé” – Columbia Records – Edited by Andre Jones

The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights” – XO / Republic Records – Edited by Janne Vartia & Tim Montana

BEST GROUP

5 Seconds of Summer

The 1975

BLACKPINK

BTS*

Chloe x Halle

CNCO

Little Mix

MONSTA X

Now United

Twenty One Pilots

SONG OF THE SUMMER

BLACKPINK – “How You Like That”*

Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”

DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch – “Rockstar”

DJ Khaled featuring Drake – “Popstar”

Doja Cat – “Say So”

Dua Lipa – “Break My Heart”

Harry Styles – “Watermelon Sugar”

Jack Harlow – “Whats Poppin”

Lil Baby featuring 42 Dugg – “We Paid”

Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé – “Savage (Remix)”

Miley Cyrus – “Midnight Sky”

Pop Smoke featuring 50 Cent & Roddy Ricch – “The Woo”

SAINt JHN – “Roses”

Saweetie – “Tap In”

Taylor Swift – “Cardigan”

The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights”

EVERYDAY HEROES: FRONTLINE MEDICAL WORKERS

Dr. Elvis Francois and Dr. William Robinson – “Imagine”*

Dr. Nate Wood – “Lean on Me”*

Jefferson University Hospital’s Swab Squad – “Level Up”*

Jason “Tik Tok Doc” Campbell*

Lori Marie Key – “Amazing Grace”*

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