The VMA’s managed to take place everywhere and nowhere all at once. There were performances filmed in New York, Los Angeles and even in South Korea.
It was a first for the VMAs, which aired its annual ceremony this past Sunday. The award show faced unprecedented obstacles for the broadcast with the parameters in place from the ongoing pandemic. Nevertheless, it was a challenge that longtime executive producer Jesse Ignjatovic met excitedly. “We wanted the audience to have a bit of escapism,” he says.
Although the 2020 VMAs were headed for Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, artists were ultimately given the choice between exterior performances. Like the Weeknd’s sky-high opening of “Blinding Lights” from Hudson Yards’ The Edge and XR, a mix of reality and virtual reality was seen in Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande or Doja Cat’s performances.
Lady Gaga led the award pack winning five awards, while Ariana Grande and BTS both walked away with four awards each. “Blinding Lights” also won the award for best R&B. Lady Gaga would win the artist of the year award and a special MTV Tricon Award. Gaga and Grande shared three awards for their megahit “Rain on Me,” the Song of the Year, Best Collaboration and best cinematography. Grande also won the best music video from home—for “Stuck With U,” her collab with Justin Bieber. BTS Pwon three awards for “On,” which took Best pop, Best K-pop and Best Choreography for Son Sung Deuk, Lee Ga Hun and Lee Byung Eu). The group also won Best Group. These were the group’s second consecutive wins for best K-pop and best group. Taylor Swift took home the award for best direction for the feminist-themed “The Man,” which she directed.
Megan thee Stallion’s “Savage” won best hip-hop. While Doja Cat won push best new artist, presented by Chime Banking. H.E.R. won in the socially-minded video for the good category with “I Can’t Breathe,” which reflects on the fight for Black equality. Miley Cyrus’ “Mother’s Daughter” won two technical awards—best art direction for Christian Stone and best editing for both Alexandre Moors and Nuno Xico. Now, with another VMAs in Ignjatovic’s rearview mirror, he says a highlight was simply “getting it on the air… it was such a journey,” but that he’s most proud of how well the performances stack up to those of the VMAs’ past.