VMAs 2020: MTV Won't Hold Show at Barclays Center Amid Pandemic, Opts for Outdoor Locations

The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards were to be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, but those plans have been dropped due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, musicians will perform at outdoor venues around New York City. Hustlers actress Keke Palmer is hosting the ceremony, which will also feature BTS' first VMA performance. The ceremony is still scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. ET.

"The 2020 VMAs will be held on Sunday, [Aug. 30] and pay homage to the incredible resiliency of New York with several outdoor performances around the City with limited or no audience, adhering to all state and city guidelines," MTV and the Barclays Center said in a statement to Entertainment Tonight Friday. The network and venue decided against hosting the show inside after "close consultation with state and health officials." The performances will also have limited or no audience.

"The VMAs will highlight the boroughs in an exciting show and return to Barclays Center in 2021," MTV continued. "MTV will continue to work closely with the Department of Health, state and local officials, the medical community, and key stakeholders to ensure the safety of all involved." The specific venues for the performances were not announced.

The decision to change venues came a day after MTV named Palmer the host for the show. "We’re thrilled to have the multi-talented Keke Palmer as this year’s VMAs host," Bruce Gillmer, President of Music, Music Talent, Programming & Events for ViacomCBS Media Networks, said in a statement. "Keke is an energetic force and a quadruple threat with unmatched comedic wit who will make this year’s show truly unforgettable." Palmer is best known for her roles in Hustlers, Akeelah and the Bee, Joyful Noise and Grease: Live. She recently earned an Emmy nomination for co-hosting ABC's GMA3: Strahan, Sara, and Keke.


MTV also announced the first wave of performers. BTS will make their VMAs debut to perform their new English-language single "Dynamite." Doja Cat, who was nominated for PUSH Best New Artist, and Latin pop star J Balvin will also perform. The rest of the performers will be announced later.

Music fans can vote for their favorite music videos across 15 gender-neutral categories through Aug. 23 at MTV.com, while the Best New Artist poll remains open through the show. This year's nominees for Video of the Year are Billie Eilish's "Everything I Wanted"; Eminem's "Godzilla" featuring Juice WRLD; Future and Drake's "Life is Good"; Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande's "Rain on Me"; The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights" and Taylor Swift's "The Man." DaBaby, Justin Bieber, Gaga, Megan Three Stallion, Post Malone and The Weeknd are nominated for Artist of the Year.