Modern MTV giving away awards for music is akin to rewarding McDonald’s for its salads; neither the greens nor the videos seem central to the main concern. But even with the television ratings for the Video Music Awards dropping to an all-time low in 2017, increasing streaming audiences and buzz from social media highlights mean that the “moon person” awards are still being given away in view of millions.
This year’s ceremony, airing live from Radio City Music Hall on Monday, brings together some of NYC’s top popular artists, like Cardi B (who dominates with 10 nods) and Jennifer Lopez (who’s receiving the Video Vanguard Award).
Who will get added to a list of winners that includes Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift and Jesus Jones during the 2018 VMAs? We’ve got some ideas.
Video of the year: Drake, “God’s Plan”
While Childish Gambino’s clip was far more challenging than anything on this list, it seems more likely that the 767 million YouTube views for Drake’s do-goodery will carry the day. The shame of it all: Drake should be receiving the award for his video for “I’m Upset,” which takes place at a Degrassi High reunion, but that just missed the cutoff.
Also nominated: “This Is America” by Childish Gambino; “APES**T” by The Carters; “Havana” (ft. Young Thug) by Camila Cabello, “Finesse (Remix)” (ft. Cardi B) by Bruno Mars, and “No Tears Left to Cry” by Ariana Grande.
Artist of the year: Drake
The best new artist in any given year has never won video or artist of the year, which eliminates Drake’s biggest competitor, Cardi B, and Ariana Grande seems like she may be a shoo-in for the award next year, with her new album coming out after what has to be the VMAs’ eligibility period. That leaves what looks like a Bruno/Drake showdown, and with all apologies to “Finesse (Remix),” the award should be heading to The Six.
Also nominated: Post Malone, Cardi B, Camila Cabello, Bruno Mars and Ariana Grande.
Song of the year: Camila Cabello – “Havana” (ft. Young Thug)
The fact that it’s hard to read the song title without silently whispering the “na na na” at the end says all one needs to know about the ubiquity of “Havana.” Cabello performed it seemingly any place where cameras were rolling, and it hit the top of the charts around the world. It looks like getting the jump start on Fifth Harmony’s dissolution by being the first to leave was the right move.
Also nominated: “Rockstar” (ft. 21 Savage) by Post Malone, “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran, “New Rules” by Dua Lipa, “God’s Plan” by Drake, and “Finesse (Remix)” (ft. Cardi B) by Bruno Mars.
Best new artist: Cardi B
With due respect to Chloe x Halle and Hayley Kiyoko in particular, this shouldn’t be anywhere near close. How is it possible that “Bodak Yellow” only came out last year? Since then, guest appearances everywhere, in addition to a song-of-the-summer contender “I Like It,” have only cemented her place in hip-hop’s modern pantheon.
Also nominated: Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Pump, Hayley Kiyoko, Chloe x Halle and Bazzi.
Best collaboration: The Carters, “APES**T”
What, you thought there’d be a VMAs without Beyoncé? This is the perfect category in which to celebrate all things Carter, in preparation for another Carter collab, Blue Ivy, to eventually win the Video Vanguard award in, say, 2058.
Also nominated: “Lemon” (ft. Rihanna) by N.E.R.D., “1-800-273-8255” (ft. Alessia Cara and Khalid) by Logic, “Dinero” (ft. DJ Khaled and Cardi B) by Jennifer Lopez, “Finesse (Remix)” (ft. Cardi B) by Bruno Mars, and “Meant to Be,” by Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line.