2021 VMA nominations list: Justin Bieber, Megan Thee Stallion, Olivia Rodrigo among top MTV Video Music Awards nominees

On Wednesday, August 11, MTV announced the nominees for its 2021 Video Music Awards, which will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Sunday, September 12. Justin Bieber leads the way with seven noms, followed by Megan The Stallion with six and several artists with five including Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish, BTS, Doja Cat, Drake, Giveon, and Olivia Rodrigo. Scroll down for the complete list of contenders.

Bieber is actually up for Video of the Year for starring in someone else’s video. He stars in the “Popstar” clip by DJ Khaled featuring Drake. He’s nominated in that top category against “WAP” by Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion, “Kiss Me More” by Doja Cat featuring SZA, “Bad Habits” by Ed Sheeran, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” by Lil Nas X, and “Save Your Tears” by The Weeknd. Last year’s Video of the Year prize went to The Weeknd for “Blinding Lights,” and if he wins again he’d be the first artist ever to go back-to-back.

MTV chose an almost entirely different lineup of nominees for Song of the Year. The only contender in common is “WAP.” It’s joined by five other massive hits from the last year: “Mood” by 24kGoldn featuring Iann Dior, ‘Leave the Door Open” by Silk Sonic, “Dynamite” by BTS, “Drivers License” by Rodrigo, and “Levitating” by Dua Lipa (notably not her remix featuring DaBaby, who recently came under fire for sexist and homophobic remarks).

Megan Thee Stallion completed her trifecta of top nominations with a bid for Artist of the Year. She’s up against Ariana Grande, Doja Cat, Bieber, Rodrigo, and longtime VMAs favorite Taylor Swift. And there’s a lot more where that came from in a total of 20 categories ranging from Best Pop and Best Hip-Hop to Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography. Winners in most categories are decided by fans voting online, except for the professional categories that are decided by music insiders. Check out the list below, and join the discussion on this and more with your fellow music fans here in our forums.

VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”
DJ Khaled ft. Drake – “Popstar (Starring Justin Bieber)”
Doja Cat ft. SZA – “Kiss Me More”
Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits”
Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)”
The Weeknd – “Save Your Tears”

ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Ariana Grande
Doja Cat
Justin Bieber
Megan Thee Stallion
Olivia Rodrigo
Taylor Swift

SONG OF THE YEAR
24kGoldn ft. Iann Dior – “Mood”
Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open”
BTS – “Dynamite”
Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”
Dua Lipa – “Levitating”
Olivia Rodrigo – “Drivers License”

BEST NEW ARTIST
24kGoldn
Giveon
The Kid LAROI
Olivia Rodrigo
Polo G
Saweetie

PUSH PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
September 2020: Wallows – “Are You Bored Yet?”
October 2020: Ashnikko – “Daisy”
November 2020: SAINt JHN – “Gorgeous”
December 2020: 24kGoldn – “Coco”
January 2021: JC Stewart – “Break My Heart”
February 2021: Latto – “Sex Lies”
March 2021: Madison Beer – “Selfish”
April 2021: The Kid LAROI – “Without You”
May 2021: Olivia Rodrigo – “Drivers License”
June 2021: girl in red “Serotonin”
July 2021: Fousheé – “My Slime”
August 2021: jxdn – “Think About Me”

BEST COLLABORATION
24kGoldn ft. Iann Dior – “Mood”
Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”
Doja Cat ft. SZA – “Kiss Me More”
Drake ft. Lil Durk – “Laugh Now Cry Later”
Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon – “Peaches”
Miley Cyrus ft. Dua Lipa – “Prisoner”

BEST POP
Ariana Grande – “positions”
Billie Eilish – “Therefore I Am”
BTS – “Butter”
Harry Styles – “Treat People With Kindness”
Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon – “Peaches”
Olivia Rodrigo – “Good 4 U”
Shawn Mendes – “Wonder”
Taylor Swift – “Willow”

BEST HIP-HOP
Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”
Drake ft. Lil Durk – “Laugh Now Cry Later”
Lil Baby ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “On Me (Remix)”
Moneybagg Yo – “Said Sum”
Polo G – “Rapstar”
Travis Scott ft. Young Thug & M.I.A. – “Franchise”

BEST ROCK
Evanescence – “Use My Voice”
Foo Fighters – “Shame Shame”
John Mayer – “Last Train Home”
The Killers – “My Own Soul’s Warning”
Kings of Leon – “The Bandit”
Lenny Kravitz – “Raise Vibration”

BEST ALTERNATIVE
Bleachers – “Stop Making This Hurt”
Glass Animals – “Heat Waves”
Imagine Dragons – “Follow You”
Machine Gun Kelly ft. blackbear – “My Ex’s Best Friend”
twenty one pilots – “Shy Away”
Willow ft. Travis Barker – “Transparentsoul”

BEST LATIN
Bad Bunny x Jhay Cortez – “Dákiti”
Billie Eilish and Rosalia – “Lo Vas A Olvidar”
Black Eyed Peas and Shakira – “Girl Like Me”
J. Balvin, Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny, Tainy – “Un Dia (One Day)”
Karol G – “Bichota”
Maluma – “Hawái”

BEST R&B
Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, WizKid – “Brown Skin Girl”
Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open”
Chris Brown and Young Thug – “Go Crazy”
Giveon – “Heartbreak Anniversary”
H.E.R. ft. Chris Brown – “Come Through”
SZA – “Good Days”

BEST K-POP
(G)I-DLE – “Dumdi Dumdi”
Blackpink and Selena Gomez – “Ice Cream”
BTS – “Butter”
Monsta X – “Gambler”
Seventeen – “Ready to love”
Twice – “Alcohol-Free”

VIDEO FOR GOOD
Billie Eilish – “Your Power”
Demi Lovato – “Dancing With The Devil”
H.E.R. – “Fight For You”
Kane Brown – “Worldwide Beautiful”
Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)”
Pharrell Williams ft. Jay-Z – “Entrepreneur”

BEST DIRECTION
Billie Eilish – “Your Power”
Directed by Billie Eilish

DJ Khaled ft. Drake – “Popstar (Starring Justin Bieber)”
Directed by Julien Christian Lutz aka Director X

Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)”
Directed by Lil Nas X and Tanu Muino

Taylor Swift – “Willow”
Directed by Taylor Swift

Travis Scott ft. Young Thug & M.I.A – “Franchise”
Directed by Travis Scott

Tyler, The Creator – “Lumberjack”
Directed by Wolf Haley

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, WizKid – “BROWN SKIN GIRL”
Cinematography by Benoit Soler, Malik H. Sayeed, MOHAMMAED ATTA AHMED, Santiago Gonzalez, Ryan Helfant

Billie Eilish – “Therefore I Am”
Cinematography by Rob Witt

Foo Fighters – “Shame Shame”
Cinematography by Santiago Gonzalez

Justin Bieber ft. Chance The Rapper – “Holy”
Cinematography by Elias Talbot

Lady Gaga – “911”
Cinematography by Jeff Cronenweth

Lorde – “Solar Power”
Cinematography by Andrew Stroud

BEST ART DIRECTION
Beyoncé, Shatta Wale, Major Lazer – “Already”
Art Direction by Susan Linns, Gerard Santos

Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits”
Art Direction by: Alison Dominitz

Lady Gaga – “911”
Art Direction by: Tom Foden, Peter Andrus

Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)”
Art Direction by: John Richoux

Saweetie ft. Doja Cat – “Best Friend”
Art Direction by: Art Haynes

Taylor Swift – “Willow”
Art Direction by: Ethan Tobman, Regina Fernandez

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Bella Poarch – “Build A Bitch”
Visual Effects by Andrew Donoho, Denhov Visuals, Denis Strahhov, Rein Jakobson, Vahur Kuusk, Tatjana Pavlik, Yekaterina Vetrova

Coldplay – “Higher Power”
Visual Effects by Mathematic

Doja Cat and The Weeknd – “You Right”
Visual Effects by La Pac, Anthony Lestremau, Julien Missaire, Petr Shkolniy, Alexi Bailla, Micha Sher, Antoine Hache, Mikros MPC, Nicolas Huget, Guillaume Ho Tsong Fang, Benjamin Lenfant, Stephane Pivron, MPC Bangalore, Chanakya Chander, Raju Ganesh, David Rouxel

Glass Animals – “Tangerine”
Visual Effects by Ronan Fourreau

Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)”
Visual Effects by Mathematic

Pink – “All I Know So Far”
Visual Effects by Dave Meyers, Freenjoy Inc

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Ariana Grande – “34+35”
Choreography by Brian Nicholson & Scott Nicholson

BTS – “Butter”
Choreography by SON SUNG DEUK With BHM PERFORMANCE DIRECTING TEAM

Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits”
Choreography by Natricia Bernard

Foo Fighters – “Shame Shame”
Choreography by Nina McNeely

Harry Styles – “Treat People With Kindness”
Choreography by Paul Roberts

Marshmello and Halsey – “Be Kind”
Choreography by Dani Vitale

BEST EDITING
Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open”
Editing by Troy Charbonnet

BTS – “Butter”
Editing by Yong Seok Choi from Lumpens

Drake – “What’s Next”
Editing by Noah Kendal

Harry Styles – “Treat People With Kindness”
Editing by Claudia Wass

Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon – “Peaches”
Editing by Mark Mayr, Vinnie Hobbs

Miley Cyrus ft. Dua Lipa – “Prisoner”
Editors not provided as of press time

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