When's the Last Time You Actually Watched the VMAs?
Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

When's the Last Time You Actually Watched the VMAs?

Lizzo and Jack Harlow will perform at this year’s festivities; Nicki will be honored with the Video Vanguard Award. You tuning in?

Whether you like the songs or not, “About Damn Time” and “First Class” would be contenders for No. 1 seeds on a 2022 Songs of the Summer bracket (with some strong resistance from Beyoncé and Future). So, it’s a no-brainer MTV has added Lizzo and Jack Harlow’s names (as well as Blackpink and Måneskin) to its growing list of performers for the next Video Music Awards. They’ll join previously announced folks like Anitta, Marshmello x Khalid, J Balvin, and Panic! at the Disco for the 39th installment of the awards show, which is set to take place on August 28 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

There will probably be more musicians added to a long list of performances, and you can count on a surprise or two, maybe a little bit of spectacle. Plus, Nicki Minaj is slated to take home the Video Vanguard Award. But does that matter? The real question and concern here is: Do you plan on watching this shit? When’s the last time you actually watched a VMA?

Once upon a time, the VMAs were the biggest night in pop culture, the very definition of appointment viewing for anybody at least tangentially interested in celebrity and pageantry. It was a cooler, sexier, raunchier version of the Grammys. Somewhere along the way, though, the ceremony has devolved into a thing people absentmindedly discuss on social media. Not because they actually care about what’s going on, but because they’re thirsty for a viral tweet, for their own taste of celebrity. That would explain why last year’s show had its worst ratings ever, but highest social media engagement.

Gone are the days when the VMAs would give you moments that’ll live in our minds for decades (see: Lil’ Kim’s pasty; Prince’s assless chaps; Yoncé rubbing her baby bump; Madonna, Christina Aguilera, and Britney Spears kissing; Gaga sporting butcher store couture; “Yo Taylor, I'm really happy for you. I'ma let you finish. BUT…”). It’s such a shame to think that in one of its last moments of true cultural relevance, the VMAs gave us perhaps its most cringe moment ever—Miley Cyrus twerking on Robin Thicke while he’s wearing a suit that looks like an old-timey prison outfit.

Anyways, the MTV VMAs are airing on Sunday, August 28. Do with that information what you will.