When the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards nominations were announced on July 25, the 34th annual kudos took a page from the MTV Movie and TV Awards playbook by abolishing gendered categories in favor of one race for Artist of the Year. Kendrick Lamar might seem like the logical frontrunner, since he is by far the most nominated artist of the year with eight, but let’s not forget that while MTV picked the nominees, fans will be selecting the winners through an online vote. That’s why we should watch out for Ariana Grande.
Grande may seem like an underdog since she only has two nominations this year, and only one of those is in a fan-voted category — the other is Best Choreography for “Side to Side,” which is one of the professional categories that will be decided by industry insiders instead of the public. But that might actually help her more than hurt her.
Grande is one of the industry’s most popular artists. She has already won one VMA — Best Pop Video for “Problem” with Iggy Azalea in 2014 — and she has accumulated 13 nominations in just the last four years. And if her fans are determined for her to win, all of their support will focus around her here. If those same fans want to reward Lamar, they could always check off his name for Video of the Year or Best Hip-Hop Video instead.
Perhaps more importantly, Grande already surprised us once by winning Artist of the Year at the 2016 American Music Awards, where she took down some heavy-hitters like Beyonce, Adele, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, and Drake. Like the VMAs, the AMAs are a audience-voted award. And Artist of the Year was Grande’s only AMA nomination, so her fans concentrated their support around her there.
What do you think? Is Grande really the one to beat? You can make your predictions right now in all 15 VMA categories for 2017. And let us know what you think in the comments below, as well as in our forums.