Here's Why Lorde Canceled Her 'Insanely Amazing' 2021 MTV VMAs Performance

Ophelia Mikkelson Jones*


Lorde was initially set to perform at the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday (Sept. 12), but MTV announced Sept. 3 that the singer was no longer taking to the stage for the event "due to a change in production elements." Now, the singer-songwriter is explaining why her performance was nixed.

In a newsletter to fans sent Thursday (Sept. 9), Lorde addressed the cancellation and the reason behind it. "I saw some people were very concerned about me pulling out of the VMAs, you’re so sweet, I’m totally fine!" the singer assured. "It’s just that we were planning this insanely amazing many-bodied intimate dance performance, not fully understanding the (very necessary!) safety protocols that are in place, and the masking and distancing just meant it wasn’t gonna be what I dreamed, and you know I can’t make something less than outstanding for you guys. I hope you understand. There will be many more TV performances, don’t you worry."

Lorde previously experienced issues at the VMAs in 2017, where she took to the stage to perform Melodrama track "Homemade Dynamite." Instead of singing, Lorde did an interpretive dance to the track on stage because she was sick. Before taking to the VMA stage, the singer had tweeted, "You can't tell in these pictures, but I have the flu so bad I needed an IV #showgoeson #cutelilproppedupcorpse."

Though the New Zealand artist won't be taking the stage at Brooklyn's Barclays center for the VMAs Sunday, many others are set to deliver performances. Among them are Olivia Rodrigo, Lil Nas X, Justin Bieber, and more.

Lorde is nominated in the best cinematography category at the VMAs this year for "Solar Power."

The VMAs air Sunday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on MTV, Paramount+, plus a number of streaming services that provide live television options, including Hulu + Live TVfuboTV and Sling TV. The awards show will be executive produced by Bruce Gilmer and Jesse Ignjatovic, co-founder of Den of Thieves.