Young the Giant, already the beneficiary of MTV promotional efforts, has secured the coveted "emerging artist" performance slot on this year's Video Music Awards telecast, Billboard.com can exclusively reveal. A RoadRunner Records act best known for the song "My Body," the California rock band begins a tour with Incubus two days after the VMAs are held Aug. 28 at Los Angeles' Nokia Theater.
Young the Giant has appeared on MTV and MTV.com as a featured PUSH artist this summer and was on the list of mtvU's top five bands for summer. They are the only non-nominated, up-and-coming band booked for this year's show.
"The last few months we have been seeing a lot more bands than we usually do in the hopes of finding that band that would stand out," Amy Doyle, executive producer of the "2011 MTV Video Music Awards" and executive VP, Music & Talent, MTV, told Billboard. "Their energetic live performance gave them the edge over other bands."
Prior to Young the Giant being featured for a week in the PUSH program, they did an acoustic set at the MTV offices and played a show at the Apple store in New York's SoHo district. "They treated it as if they were performing at a rock venue," Doyle recalls, noting that the presence of a rock band in the largely pop and hip-hop field will help diversify the show.
The VMAs struck gold last year by booking Florence + the Machine and introducing them to the VMA audience. After the Sept. 12 Video Music Awards, the band's "Lungs" was the week's biggest gainer on the Billboard 200, rising 30 slots to No. 14 and posting the best sales week of their career, 21,000.
"That ended up being one of the most memorable performances of the night," Doyle said, hoping they will see lightning strike twice. "We were able to see within five minutes an incredible increase in (Internet) traffic and downloads (for the band)."
MTV has already announced that Adele, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown will be performing on the show and they are in the early stages of booking what Doyle terms a wild card" performance from an act that is not nominated this year.
Young the Giant, currently in Australia, will next play in the U.S. at Lollapalooza this weekend in Chicago.