It's All About Beyonce vs. Taylor.
This was inevitable, right? Two titans of popular music will square off when Beyonce's "7/11" video goes up against Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" clip for Video of the Year. These two are the clear front-runners, and lest we forget, Taylor was the one who got interrupted at the VMAs in 2009 when Kanye West barged onstage to defend Beyonce's honor. Speaking of which…
No VMAs nods for Yeezy, aside from his guest spot on Big Sean's "One Man Can Change the World"? The "Only One" video, featuring Paul McCartney and directed by Spike Jonze, was artful enough to merit some VMAs love, and "FourFiveSeconds" was also shut out. Rihanna got nominated for "American Oxygen," but West's two visual achievements were left out in the cold.
Kendrick Lamar Is Better Than 'Alright.'
Kendrick Lamar's "Alright" music video was released just three weeks ago, but the stark, cinematic clip was clearly impressive enough to sneak in to the Video of the Year category. Along with inclusions on the Best Male Video and Best Hip-Hop Video shortlists, Lamar also racked up a couple nominations as the guest star on Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" remix, and his Flying Lotus collaboration "Never Catch Me" even got a Best Choreography slot.
Miley Cyrus is Hosting The MTV VMAs
The Indie World is Shunned.
Justice, The Ting Tings, the White Stripes and Florence + The Machine have all been nominated for Video of the Year, the latter two before they were household names. This year's major categories includes basically no 'you oughta know'-type artists, opting instead for either smash hits ("Uptown Funk," "Thinking Out Loud") or huge names (Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar). We love star-studded shows, too, but it would have been nice to see someone like Courtney Barnett or Shamir snag a VMAs co-sign for their wondrous music videos.
Artists To Watch: International Troubadour Edition!
Along with Fetty Wap and FKA Twigs, the VMAs equivalent of Best New Artist includes Vance Joy, James Bay and George Ezra -- three white male singer-songwriters from overseas who have made swipes at Top 40 with quivering, folk-leaning anthems. Vance Joy probably has the biggest profile of the three thanks to the success of "Riptide" and his current spot opening for Taylor Swift, but these three might cancel each other out and lead the way to a Twigs or Fetty victory.
Hey, What's Up, Hello, Fetty Wap!
Along with his Artist To Watch nod, the Paterson, N.J. MC scored a much-coveted Best Hip-Hop Video nomination along with genre giants Nick Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa and Big Sean. The power of "Trap Queen" is real, and with multiple nominations, Fetty is solidifying himself as more than a one-hit wonder (he already has another song, "679," in the Top 20 of the Hot 100).
"IDFWU" Is Not FW for Video of the Year.
Big Sean's anti-love cry has all the makings of a Video of the Year nominee: huge hit, imaginative video concept, fun guest stars, a big star reaching a new level of fame. Sure, "IDFWU" might snag the hip-hop prize, but it could have scored a touchdown in the top category, as well as in Best Collaboration. Instead, it will be watching from the sidelines.
Help, We Can't Find "Feeling Myself" Anywhere
Hey, you know the "Feeling Myself" video? The one where Nicki Minaj and Beyonce preside over the entire universe (or at least the California desert), eat hamburgers and exude ferocity? For some reason I can't find it anywhere on this nominations list. Maybe there is a Best Tidal Exclusive category still TBD?
Ed Sheeran is "Thinking" of Multiple Wins.
The British star nicely secured three major nominations for "Thinking Out Loud," as well as three more in the professional categories; he won Best Male Video last year for "Sing," and could repeat in 2015. The Grammys darling has had a huge year, and a surprise win for Video of the Year would certainly cap off a highly successful run behind x.
Ariana Grande & Fifth Harmony Can't Repeat 2014 Success.
With five Top 20 hits from her My Everything album, Ariana Grande should be rolling in nominations, right? Well, last year's winner for Best Pop Video received no love in the category this year, and while she scooped up two nominations, they're both in the Best Collaboration field, so she only has the chance to win one VMA this year. Meanwhile, the 2014 Artist To Watch, Fifth Harmony, couldn't score a single nod from their Reflection collection. After big wins last year, these omissions are especially curious.