How the 2020 MTV VMAs Reflected the COVID-19 Era

Outdoor performances, masks, social distancing, and pre-taped moments were the hallmark of the awards, still hosted despite the pandemic.

This year, the MTV VMAs were composed of virtual acceptance speeches and outdoor performances, as well as traditional awards show moments. Hosted by Keke Palmer, presenters in the VMAs took the stage from digitally generated balconies. Presenters including Lady Gaga and Anthony Ramos used their masks to convey a message to the audience, with Lady Gaga emphasizing the importance of staying masked and Anthony Ramos using his mask to encourage viewers to vote. Three awards in the show were directly influenced by the pandemic: best video from home, best quarantine performance, and a non-competitive tribute to performances from front line workers in the “everyday heroes” category.

The 2020 MTV VMAs were executive produced by Bruce Gillmer and Jesse Ignjatovic.

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