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Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande top 2020 MTV VMA nominees; quarantine categories added

Lady Gaga, left, and Ariana Grande
Lady Gaga, left, and Ariana Grande scored nine MTV VMA nominations each on Thursday.
(Jordan Strauss / Associated Press)

It’s raining nominations for Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s “Rain on Me” at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards, which will present new categories focused on live performances and music videos created at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gaga and Grande scored nine nominations each, including video of the year for their No. 1 dance hit. “Rain on Me” also is competing for song of the year, collaboration, pop video, cinematography, visual effects and choreography.

Billie Eilish and the Weeknd, the second-most nominated acts with six each, also are up for video of the year, with her “Everything I Wanted” and his “Blinding Lights.” Also nominated for the top prize are Taylor Swift’s “The Man,” Future and Drake’s “Life Is Good” and Eminem’s “Godzilla,” which features late rapper Juice WRLD.

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The 2020 VMAs, scheduled to air live on Aug. 30 from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, introduces two new categories reflecting the current pandemic times: music video from home and quarantine performance.

Grande and Justin Bieber’s No. 1 hit “Stuck With U” will compete for music video from home against Drake’s “Toosie Slide,” John Legend’s “Bigger Love,” 5 Seconds of Summer’s “Wildflower,” Blink-182’s “Happy Days” and Twenty One Pilots’ “Level of Concern,” which topped the Billboard rock songs chart for seven weeks and features the lyrics, “Will you be my little quarantine?”

R&B duo Chloe x Halle, who have successfully promoted their new album during the pandemic with impressive live performances mostly put on in their tennis court and outside their new home, are nominated for quarantine performance for “Do It” from MTV’s virtual prom “Prom-athon.” Other nominees include Gaga’s “Smile” from the TV special “One World: Together at Home”; Legend’s “#togetherathome” concert; DJ D-Nice’s “Club MTV Presents #DanceTogether”; CNCO’s “MTV Unplugged at Home”; and Post Malone’s tribute to Nirvana.

Apart from the pandemic, protest songs reflecting the Black experience created in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others also earned VMA nominations. R&B star H.E.R.’s “I Can’t Breathe,” Anderson .Paak’s “Lockdown” and Lil Baby’s “The Bigger Picture” all scored nominations in the video for good category.

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Taylor Swift’s ‘Folklore’ abandons the dance-pop of her post-Nashville career for a ruminative indie singer-songwriter sound befitting the times.

Swift, who released a surprise album last week, also will compete for video for good with her song about sexism, “The Man.” She scored five nominations overall, while Drake, Dua Lipa, J Balvin and Bieber earned four nominations apiece.

Megan Thee Stallion and DaBaby — who both launched No. 1 pop hits this year — earned three nods each, including bids for artist of the year. Their competition includes Gaga, Bieber, the Weeknd and Post Malone.

BTS, Harry Styles, Roddy Ricch, Post Malone, Future, Karol G and Doja Cat — the latter of whom topped the charts this year with her Dr. Luke-produced smash “Say So” — also earned three nods each. Through Aug. 23, fans can vote for VMA winners across 15 categories here.


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