NEW YORK • Pop stars Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga led a girl power list of nominations on Thursday for the MTV Video Music Awards (VMA), which added two new categories to reflect how musicians are responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
Grande and Lady Gaga received nine nominations each, mostly from their dancey collaboration Rain On Me, which received nods including Video of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Collaboration.
Lady Gaga, singer John Legend, rapper Post Malone and disc jockey D-Nice all won nominations in the special Best Quarantine Performance category for their appearances earlier this year on a series of virtual concerts, fund-raisers and social media events.
Grande’s first duet with Canadian singer Justin Bieber, Stuck With U, was nominated in the new Best Music Video from Home field, along with rapper Drake’s Tootsie Slide, Legend’s Bigger Love, and Level Of Concern from music duo Twenty One Pilots.
Teenage singer Billie Eilish, who swept the Grammy awards in January, won six VMA nominations in a line-up dominated by women, including rapper Megan Thee Stallion, British singer Dua Lipa and pop star Taylor Swift.
However, Grande and Eilish were overlooked in the coveted Artist of the Year race, which comprises Lady Gaga, Megan Thee Stallion, Post Malone, Bieber, Canadian singer The Weeknd and American rapper DaBaby. Winners are chosen by fans who vote online.
The VMA show, known for its surprises and irreverent vibe, is due to take place live in physical form at Brooklyn’s Barclays Centre arena on Aug 30.
MTV said in June that social distancing and limits on capacity would be enforced at the 19,000-seat indoor venue.
It added that some VMA performances would take place at unspecified landmarks in New York.