VMAs best new artist winners: Where are they now?

At one point, they were the hottest artists on the rise in the music industry. Are they still?

The highest honor a breakout singer can receive on MTV Video Music Awards night is the best new artist "moon person." The award has been around since the very first VMAs, which took place at Radio City Music Hall on Sept. 14, 1984.

The name of the award changed many times in the past 33 years, going from best new artist in a video (1984-2006), to best new artist (2007-2012), to artist to watch (2013-2015). It changed again for the 2016 award show.

Bronx-born Cardi B, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Pump, Hayley Kiyoko, Chloe x Halle or Bazzi will be dubbed this year’s best new artist live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City, on Monday, Aug. 20.

Does a win this big solidify an artist's place in the industry? We take a look at some of the past winners to find out whether the VMA music experts and fans were correct in picking out artists that were on the brink of fame.

Eurythmics (1984)

Then: Romantically involved duo Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart released their first album in 1981 and opened the first VMAs just three years later. They became known for their album "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," released in 1983. The band had two tracks crack the Billboard Hot 100's top five within a year after winning best new artist in a video.

Now: The band split in the early 1990s when Lennox decided to go solo. They reunited for performances a few times after their breakup, in 1999, 2005 and 2014. Lennox continued her career as a solo artist and released her most recent album, "Nostalgia," in 2014. One of her tracks, "I Put a Spell on You" was included in the "Fifty Shades of Grey" film soundtrack in 2015. That was the last we've heard of Lennox, musically, who hinted to Rolling Stone in 2014 that "Nostalgia" would probably be her last album.

Stewart also launched a solo career in 1994, but remains to this day best known for his role in the former Eurythmics.

Was the prediction correct? Mostly. "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" will still pop on the radio and turn up in wedding DJ playlists -- and you probably know the words even if you weren't alive in the 1980s. But the duo didn't last long.

A-Ha (1986)

Then: The Norwegian pop trio A-Ha consisted of Morten Harket, Pal Waaktaar-Savoy and Magne Furuholmen. The band released "Take on Me" in 1985, one year before winning best new artist in a video at the VMAs.


Now: The band has released 10 studio albums. The most recent one, "Cast in Steel," was released in 2015. But the band's only track to chart on the Billboard 100 was "Take On Me."

Was the prediction correct? No. After the band's hit track, it never really reached popularity again in the United States.

Alicia Keys (2001)

Then: Alicia Keys released her first album, "Songs in A Minor," in 2001. A 20-year-old Keys won best new artist at the VMAs that same year.

Now: Alicia Keys' 2016 album, "Here," is still what she's most recently known for. With popular tracks like "Where Do We Begin Now" and "Illusion of Bliss," "Here" made Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums of 2016 list. She performed her fifth album's hit track "Girl on Fire" at the 2012 MTV VMAs with Nicki Minaj.

Was the prediction correct? Yes. It's hard to picture a time when Alicia Keys was actually an artist on the rise instead of an established name in the music industry.

Avril Lavigne (2002)

Then: Avril Lavigne's 2002 best new artist win can be attributed to "Complicated," a single on her debut album "Let Go," which hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 on Aug. 3, 2002. But really, who could forget "Sk8er Boi"? Lavigne even mentions MTV in the song.

Now: Teenage angst looked good on Avril Lavigne ... in 2002. The hit she's most recently known for, "Girlfriend," was a single off her 2007 album "The Best Damn Thing." She released another album "Goodbye Lullaby" in 2011, which didn't create much buzz. Today, she still runs her fashion label Abbey Dawn (launched in 2008) and is focused on the Avril Lavigne Foundation, created to support children living with serious illnesses or disabilities.

Was the prediction correct? As a long-term artist, no. It seemed most of her follow-up tracks (after "Let Go") attempted to replicate the album's sound and fell short.

Gym Class Heroes (2007)

Then: The Gym Class Heroes wouldn't stop bragging about their girlfriends in the 2006 breakout hit "Cupid's Chokehold." The band beat Carrie Underwood for the best new artist award at the VMAs one year later.

Now: The band went on a year-long hiatus after releasing its 2008 album, "The Quilt," which gave frontman Travie McCoy enough free time to release a solo album in 2010. We haven't heard much from Gym Class Heroes since 2011, when they released the single "Ass Back Home," which never cracked the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. Three years ago, McCoy told Billboard that the band does plan to release music again in the future. We're still waiting. But the band is currently on tour alongside Offspring, singing some of its go-to tracks.

Was the prediction correct? No. But, if the award actually means "best new artist to watch for the next three years," then yes.

Lady Gaga (2009)

Then: Remember when Lady Gaga used to wear meat, put boxes on her head and step out in outfits that appeared to be from another world? That was Gaga in 2009 when she won best new artist at the VMAs. It was just after she released "The Fame" with hit singles like "Poker Face" and "Just Dance."

Now: The 2009 Gaga the music industry fell in love with was just at the beginning of the artist's successful career. Gaga has since released a collaborative album with Tony Bennett, 2014's "Cheek to Cheek," dropped "Million Reasons" in 2016 and stunned as the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show performer. She released a Netflix documentary following her journey in September 2017, and has a highly anticipated role in the upcoming film "A Star Is Born" (out in October) alongside Bradley Cooper.

Was the prediction correct? One hundred percent. It's a decade later and we're still singing hits off Gaga's 2008 breakout EP.

Justin Bieber (2010)

Then: No one really knew just how popular Justin Bieber would become after releasing "My World" in 2009, with some help from mentor Usher. His first single, "One Time," turned preteens everywhere into instant Beliebers. He won the VMA for best new artist in 2010.

Now: There have been highs and lows for Bieber. Since that debut album in 2009, he's hit No. 1 on the Billboard 100 three times with "What Do You Mean?" "Love Yourself" and "Sorry." He still hasn't released an album since 2015's "Purpose," but his "Despacito" remix with Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee easily became the song of the summer. The singer wrapped up his "Purpose" tour early, cutting 15 shows off the lineup in August 2017, citing a need for rest. Now, he's back in the headlines for his fast engagement to Hailey Baldwin.

Was the prediction correct? Yes. Cries can still be heard around the world when Bieber releases a new song, cuts his hair or steps out with a new girlfriend ... or fiancee.

One Direction (2012)

Then: When Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson won the U.K.'s "X Factor" in 2010, the band was clearly headed in the right direction. One Direction released its first album, "Up All Night," one year later. Then the band won best new artist and best pop video at the 2012 VMAs. That was the beginning of a wildly successful musical career that stretched across countries and lasted for years to come -- or so it was supposed to be.

Now: In a shocking turn of events that crushed the hearts of One Directioners, the band broke up in 2016. Rumors of a hiatus quickly became an announcement of a permanent split, and then reverted back to a hiatus. Zayn went solo later that same year, as did Niall Horan and Liam Payn, and they all seem to be doing just fine without their former bandmates.

Was the prediction correct? Yes (temporarily). Together or apart, the band gave us some talented names in the music industry. (Thanks, Simon Cowell.) Although, if MTV hadn't told us all to watch out for One Direction, the hearts of Directioners everywhere may have been spared the heartbreak.

Fifth Harmony (2014)

Then: Another "X Factor" creation, Fifth Harmony released its first album in 2013 and beat Sam Smith for the artist to watch award at the VMAs one year later.

Now: The group teamed up with Ty Dolla $ign, Fetty Wap and other big names in today's music industry to release hit tracks that stay on radio playlists and get stuck in our heads -- like "Work from Home" and "All in My Head." The band's second album, "7/27," was released in 2016 -- but that was all before their fifth band member, Camila Cabello, decided to go solo in December that same year. The remaining band members announced they were breaking up in March 2018, after releasing an album titled "Full Reflection."

Was the prediction correct? No. Camila Cabello is the only one left in the music spotlight, and rightfully so.

Fetty Wap (2015)

Then: It didn't matter if you weren't into rap. When Fetty Wap released "Trap Queen" in 2015, everyone knew his name -- and the lyrics. He won artist to watch at the VMAs that same year.

Now: Fetty Wap dropped two albums in 2015, "Fetty Wap" and "Coke Zoo." Since then, he's been popping up in hit songs with other breakout artists, such as Fifth Harmony's "All in My Head." He headlined the first Billboard Hot 100 Festival in 2015 and was brought back by popular demand in 2016.

Was the prediction correct? Not exactly. Time will tell if his fame will ever really stretch beyond "Trap Queen." As of now, it's not looking good.

DNCE (2016)

Then: Maybe leaving the Jonas Brothers behind was worth it after all. Joe Jonas' breakout band DNCE won best new artist at the 2016 VMAs at Madison Square Garden and they had their hit "Cake by the Ocean" to thank.

Now: The band went on to release a few more trendy hits, "Toothbrush" and "Body Moves" in 2016 and "Kissing Strangers" in 2017. They were invited back to the 2017 VMAs as performers, but were rightfully left off the performer list this year. They haven't released new hits since.

Was the prediction correct? It's still too soon to tell.

Khalid (2017)

Then: Khalid stunned fans and critics with his debut 2017 album, "American Teen," pieced together while he was still in high school. "Location," made famous with a little help from Snapchat and famous faces like Kylie Jenner, peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100, but his most recent song, a collaboration with Alessia Cara and Logic on "1-800-273-8255," has kept his name in the spotlight.

Now: The 20-year-old is currently touring to promote "American Teen."

Was the prediction correct: So far, so good.