The 2020 VMAs Manage to Entertain While Staying Socially Distant

Noah Range, A&E Editor

MTV’s Video Music Awards aired Sunday night, making it the first major awards show to take place in the US since COVID-19 struck America, but not without significantly altering the award show formula.

The VMAs were originally supposed to be held at the indoor Barclays center in New York, only to change to a format of multiple outdoor performances within the city, with little to no audience presence to ensure social distancing.

Before airing on live TV, the performances were pre-recorded. Artists such as The Weeknd performed at the Skyline Drive-in theater days prior to the premier.

To perform in the city, artists and their teams had to quarantine for three to four days before their scheduled performance, which is an exception to New York’s 14-day quarantine rule, according to The New York Post. They were also tested for coronavirus as soon as they arrived in the city and before their performances.

However, according to Page Six, not all performers made it to New York, either because a team member tested positive, or because they simply did not want to quarantine. Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and other performers recorded their acts indoors in Los Angeles behind a green screen.

South Korean boyband BTS did not record in either of these cities; instead, they opted to perform in Seoul.

In addition to socially distant performances, some acceptance speeches were also made as such. Taylor Swift and other artists accepted their awards via Zoom.

Lady Gaga, however, showed up in person to accept four different awards on live TV, according to the New York Times.

Lady Gaga was not the only artist to win big. BTS won 4 awards – best group, K-pop artist, pop group, and choreography – for their hit song “Dynamite” in every category it was nominated for.

As for the best video of the year, that award went to the Weeknd for his single “Blinding Lights.” It also won best R&B song.

Other performers at the 2020 VMA’s included DaBaby, Ariana Grande, Maluma, CNCO, Machine Gun Kelley, and Doja Cat.