2021 MTV Video Music Awards

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2021 MTV Video Music Awards
DateSunday, September 12, 2021
VenueBarclays Center, Brooklyn, New York City
CountryUnited States
Hosted byDoja Cat
Most awards
Most nominationsJustin Bieber (9)
Television/radio coverage
Produced byBruce Gillmer
Jesse Ignjatovic
Directed byJoe DeMaio
← 2020 · MTV Video Music Awards · 2022 →

The 2021 MTV Video Music Awards were held on September 12, 2021, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York City. This marked the first time in eight years that the venue hosted the show.[1][2] The show was hosted by hip-hop rapper and singer Doja Cat.[3] It was the first time in history a Video of the Year nominee hosted the ceremony the same year.[4]

The ceremony was simulcast on The CW, a free over-the-air broadcaster, with Mountain and Pacific time zones airing it live and others delayed for primetime, and on various ViacomCBS networks and platforms.[5] Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo and BTS were the most awarded artists of the night with three awards each, followed by Billie Eilish, and Justin Bieber with two each; the latter was also the most nominated artist with nine nominations. Beyoncé extended her lead as the most-awarded artist in the show's history, collecting her 29th trophy. Her daughter Blue Ivy Carter also became the youngest winner in the show's history.[6]

On August 1, a new iteration of the MTV Video Music Awards "moon person" trophy was unveiled at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, in honor of MTV's 40th anniversary. Designed by Kehinde Wiley, it features vines and flowers symbolizing "the ethnic histories that surround America", with the network stating that "each intertwined vine or leaf" holds a "different historical relevance, such as the seeds from African slaves, that are woven into the American tapestry".[7][8]

MTV collaborated with 9/11 Day for a week of activities to "promote awareness and positive action" in honor of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, which fell on the eve of the ceremony.[1][9]

The show received 3.7 million viewers across all networks,[10] including 900,000 viewers on MTV, representing a 31% drop from last year's 1.3 million. However, the show garnered 38 million interactions across all U.S. platforms, beating the Super Bowl for the first time and becoming 2021's top telecast in social media buzz. Internationally, the VMAs increased 43% in Brazil and 25% in the U.K.[11][12][13]


Lorde was initially announced as a performer for the main show on August 18, 2021, but later pulled out of the event on September 3 "due to a change in production elements".[14] Ed Sheeran additionally performed his new single "Bad Habits",[15] but the clip was uploaded to MTV's YouTube channel instead of being shown during the live broadcast. Anitta made a clip for the song "Girl from Rio" uploaded to MTV's YouTube channel as an advertisement for Burger King, but it was deleted.

List of musical performances
Artist(s) Song(s)
Polo G "Rapstar"
Kim Petras "Future Starts Now"
Swedish House Mafia "It Gets Better"
Main show[17][18][19]
The Kid Laroi
Justin Bieber
"Ghost" (Justin Bieber only)
Olivia Rodrigo "Good 4 U"
Kacey Musgraves "Star-Crossed"
Twenty One Pilots "Saturday"
Ed Sheeran "Shivers"
"Bad Habits"
(from the Brooklyn Bridge Park)
Lil Nas X
Jack Harlow
"Industry Baby"
"Montero (Call Me by Your Name)" (Lil Nas X only)
Camila Cabello "Don't Go Yet"
Shawn Mendes
"Summer of Love"
Doja Cat "Been Like This"
"You Right"
Chlöe "Have Mercy"
Normani "Wild Side"
Ozuna "La Funka"
Foo Fighters Global Icon Medley:
"Learn to Fly"
"Shame Shame"
Alicia Keys
Swae Lee
"Lala (Unlocked)"
"Empire State of Mind" (Alicia Keys only)
(from Liberty State Park)
Busta Rhymes
Spliff Star
"Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See"
"Ante Up"
"Touch It"
"Look at Me Now"
"Pass the Courvoisier"
Machine Gun Kelly
Travis Barker
(presented by Doritos)
Extended Play Stage
(Presented by Coors Light)
Saint Jhn "Sucks To Be You"
Latto "Big Energy"
"Bitch from da Souf"


Presenters for the ceremony were announced on September 8, 2021.[20] Nessa Diab and Jamila Mustafa hosted the 90-minute pre-show event, while Tinashe served as a special celebrity correspondent.[16]


  • Jamila Mustafa — presented Push Performance of the Year
  • Tinashe and Bretman Rock — presented Group of the Year[21]

Main show[edit]

Winners and nominees[edit]

Nominations were announced on August 11, 2021.[22][23] Justin Bieber was the most-nominated artist with nine, followed by Megan Thee Stallion and BTS with seven.[23][24] Voting for select categories began on the same day and took place on the VMA website until September 3. Voting for Best New Artist continued until during showtime.[25] Social category nominations, including Group of the Year and Song of Summer, were announced on September 3, 2021. Voting for the former opened on September 4, while voting for the latter opened on September 7—both took place via MTV's Instagram stories.[26] BTS, Olivia Rodrigo and Lil Nas X won the most awards of the night with three each, followed by Billie Eilish, Doja Cat, Silk Sonic and Bieber with two each.

Winners are listed first and in bold.[27]

List of winners and nominees for the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards
Video of the Year Song of the Year
Artist of the Year Best New Artist
(presented by Facebook)
Push Performance of The Year Best Collaboration
Best Pop Best Hip Hop
Best R&B Best K-Pop
Best Latin Best Rock
Best Alternative Video for Good
Group of the Year Song of Summer
Best Direction
(presented by Discord)
Best Art Direction
(presented by Discord)
Best Choreography
(presented by Discord)
Best Cinematography
(presented by Discord)
Best Editing
(presented by Discord)
Best Visual Effects
(presented by Discord)
MTV Global Icon Award
Foo Fighters


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