On July 30, when MTV announced the six semi-finalists for its PUSH Best New Artist award, presented by Chime Banking, Roddy Ricch seemed like sure thing to advance to the top three finalists. His breakthrough smash, “The Box,” topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 11 consecutive weeks, and he made it back to the top spot for seven more weeks as a featured artist on DaBaby’s “Rockstar.”
But when the three finalists were announced Monday (Aug. 24), Ricch was missing from the list. The three finalists are Doja Cat, Capaldi and YUNGBLUD. (Fans can vote for their favorite artist by direct messaging @VMAs on Twitter until Friday (Aug. 28).
Billboard reported earlier today that Ricch will not be performing on this year’s show on Aug. 30, as originally announced. (Neither will J Balvin.)
“Unfortunately, I won’t be performing at this year’s VMAs as announced,” Ricch wrote on his Instagram story, as referenced in a story in Entertainment Weekly. “My team and I did everything in our power to make this work, [but] due to COVID compliance issues at the last minute we had to call off the performance. My team and I are safe and everyone’s health is a main priority, as well as giving a quality performance. I appreciate MTV for the opportunity to perform and I hope I can see ya’ll next year. STAY SAFE.”
Is there any connection between Ricch not becoming a finalist for the new artist award and his not performing on the show? MTV did not provide a response to that question by press time.
MTV also announced today that Capaldi, Harlow and McRae will appear on their 90-minute pre-show, as will Chloe x Halle, and Machine Gun Kelly featuring Travis Barker and blackbear. The pre-show is set to air on Aug. 30 at 6:30pm ET/PT.
Every artist wants to play the main show, not the pre-show. That’s a given—for all awards shows. But many future big stars—or big stars who were between big years, shall we say—have played the VMAs pre-show over the years.
Last year, Megan Thee Stallion played the pre-show. In 2018, Backstreet Boys did. Other big stars who have played the pre-show include Cardi B and Khalid (2017), Alessia Cara and Troye Sivan (2016), Nick Jonas (2015), Fifth Harmony and Charli XCX (2014), Ariana Grande (2013), Demi Lovato (2012) and Nicki Minaj featuring will.i.am (2010).
Nessa Diab and Jamila Mustafa will host this year’s pre-show, which will feature celebrity correspondents Kevan Kenney and Travis Mills.
Beginning today and for the next two days, fans can vote for best group by swiping up on MTV’s Instagram Story. BTS, which won last year in this revived category, is competing this year with 5 Seconds of Summer, The 1975, BlackPink, Chloe x Halle, CNCO, Little Mix, Monsta X, Now United and twenty one pilots.
Starting Wednesday (Aug. 26), fans can vote for the song of summer in bracket-style voting on MTV’s Instagram Story. Nominees are BlackPink’s “How You Like That,” Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP,” DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch’s “Rockstar,” DJ Khaled ft. Drake’s “Popstar,” Doja Cat’s “Say So,” Dua Lipa’s “Break My Heart,” Harry Styles’ “Watermelon Sugar,” Jack Harlow’s “Whats Poppin,” Lil Baby ft. 42 Dugg’s “We Paid,” Megan Thee Stallion ft. Beyoncé’s“Savage (Remix),” Miley Cyrus’ “Midnight Sky,” Pop Smoke ft. 50 Cent & Roddy Ricch’s “The Woo,” SAINt JHN’s “Roses,” Saweetie’s “Tap In,” Taylor Swift’s “cardigan” and The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights.”
Additionally, the VMAs will include a segment “Everyday Heroes: Frontline Medical Workers,” in which they celebrate the best musical performances by COVID-19 first responders. (The segment has a corporate sponsor, EXTRA gum.)