Today, July 23rd, MTV announced the nominees for the 2019 Video Music Awards via a chatbot that messaged fans through Facebook and Twitter (the anthropocene is upon us). Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande unsurprisingly garnered the most nominations, with 10 each. Billie Eilish was close behind with 9 nods, and king of the charts Lil Nas X earned 8. Prominent artists like Shawn Mendes, Cardi B, J Balvin, Camila Cabello, Solange, and FKA Twigs all got multiple nominations, and MTV even threw one at Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga for “Shallow.”
"It’s been an incredible year in music and this group of nominees perfectly reflect the rich pop music landscape," said Bruce Gillmer, Viacom's head of music and music talent and co-brand head of MTV International, in a press release. "We can’t wait to see the outcome, once the fans weigh in. It’s going to be an awesome, unforgettable evening!"
The VMAs are always fun. But awards shows aren’t awards shows without snubs. Here are some of the biggest surprises.
Megan Thee Stallion
It is the summer of Megan Thee Stallion. Upon dropping her must-listen debut major label release, Fever, in May, Hot Girl Meg honored her legions of fans–the “hotties”–and declared the summer of 2019 “Hot Girl Summer.” And Hot Girl Summer is everywhere, an inescapable, joyous slogan. People keep stealing it. Thank god she finally filed a trademark.
But despite Megan’s internet omnipresence and success on the charts, she didn’t get a single VMA nod. MTV is coy about the VMA eligibility period–they’ve never revealed the exact qualifications. And Meg hasn’t done a video with huge viewing numbers. But she is widely-beloved by both fans and critics, and a Best New Artist nom would have been nice!
Bad Bunny, who is currently in the streets of San Juan protesting Puerto Rico’s corrupt governor Ricardo Rosselló, is one of the biggest music stars in the world. His videos released over the past year–including for major hits “Callaíta” and “Que Pretendes” with J Balvin–have nearly a billion combined views. And yet he only got one VMA nod, in the “Best Latin” category, for a collaboration with English language (though frequently faux-accented) artist Drake, “MIA.”
Last year, Bad Bunny won the VMA’s “Song of Summer” category alongside Cardi B and frequent collaborator J Balvin for their smash “I Like It.” But nominating him solely for awards in the Latin category or alongside other artists is shortsighted, and an underestimation of his fan base. Bad Bunny is one of the most exciting musicians working, and his videos are aesthetically far more interesting than most of what’s nominated. Give him all the awards!
Miley Cyrus didn’t get a single nomination, and her fans are pissed. Cyrus, whose collaboration with Mark Ronson, “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart,” has 135,746,844 views on YouTube, famously gave the VMAs the ratings spike of the decade when she twerked on Robin Thicke in 2013. And her videos, often helmed by veteran director Diane Martel, are sophisticated and stylish. Her recent release “Mother’s Daughter” could have used some love.
Kacey Musgraves’s critically adored Golden Hour won album of the year at the 2019 Grammys, along with a slew of other awards. Yet the queen of yeehaw has never been awarded a VMA nom. Her visuals for various songs from Golden Hour are lovely–the soft beauty of “Rainbow,” the beautifully-styled ‘70s disco of “High Horse.” What gives?
After a rough period during the promotion of her last album, Witness, Katy Perry is back. Her earworm of a single “Never Really Over” was widely-praised, and the pretty, goofy, sepia-toned video has nearly 75 million views on YouTube. Perry has won 5 Video Music Awards, and she’s been nominated for a staggering 30 since 2008. Yet no nom this year!