The MTV VMA 2016 Performers So Far

The MTV VMA 2016 Performers So Far

Will the announced performers deliver a culture-making show?

Will the announced performers deliver a culture-making show?

Text: Ian David Monroe

The MTV Video Music Awards are like the wilder, more provocative, and more-prone-to-spontaneity version of the Grammys. Celebrities and musicians alike ditch the confines of conservative dresses and show up in their flashiest ensembles. It’s a time when Jeremy Scott samples fly off the PR shelf, and showing skin is almost always the trend.

This carefree attitude often extends into the evening’s musical acts, which have increasingly become the spotlight of the event. Awards are nice, but don’t particularly make headlines (unless, of course, Kanye West famously cuts off your acceptance speech). It’s at the VMA awards that cultural memories are born, and most always during performances. In fact, Miley Cyrus’ entire party-girl persona was cemented into memory during her on-stage antics with Robin Thicke. The horror of her undulating! (You know you loved it.)

MTV knows this, and websites the world over depend on the ceremony’s content-making potential, which is why we are waiting so intently for the announcement of the full list of performers. So far, the only announced acts are Britney Spears, Rihanna, and Nick Jonas. The VMA website describes it:

“Taking to the the VMA stage for the first time in 10 years, music icon Britney Spears will be thrilling fans with a world-premiere performance of "Make Me…" featuring G-Eazy. And on top of that, we have multi-platinum recording artist and newbie to the VMA stage, Nick Jonas slated to perform a sizzling rendition of "Bacon" featuring Ty Dolla $ign.

We know, we're freaking out too.”

Are you actually freaking out MTV? Because I’m not necessarily sold on a “sizzling rendition of ‘Bacon.’” Granted, Spears’ “Make Me…” performance will be her first shot at trying to wash away her less-than-stellar, but certainly memorable, rendition of “Gimme More” (her last VMA performance). I saw Spears at whip her hair around at the Billboard Music Awards, and something tells me that’s enough for 2016. If by some chance she pulls out something completely new, then I will apologize. A recent teaser shows her infamous yellow snake—along with other performance memorabilia—but I won’t hold my breath for that nostalgia baiting.

Rihanna will be accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which in recent history went to Kanye West and Beyonce. The latter stunned the crowd with a medley of her hits, and the former stunned the crowd by announcing his run for president in 2020. It's promised that Rihanna will perform, though they said Kanye would, too.

If I know MTV (and I feel like I do), then they have more than a few tricks up their sleeve. They did say that they will be announcing another performer today, and if we’re lucky it’s Lady Gaga; she always delivers. Stay tuned for more updates.

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