The 2016 MTV Video Music Awards are almost upon us and we can't wait to see what kinds of crazy, jaw-dropping moments and performances are in store. This particular awards show, however, will also see MTV reviving a lost category — after 25 years. During the 1991 VMAs, Madonna beat out Aerosmith, Peter Gabriel, and R.E.M., to take home the Moonman for Best Long Form Video. She won for The Immaculate Collection, which apparently was too hot to handle, because the VMAs never included that particular category again — until this year.
Tweaking the category from Best Long Form Video to Breakthrough Long Form Video, five artists' creations are nominated for this revitalized award: Beyoncé's Lemonade, Justin Bieber's PURPOSE: The Movement, Troye Sivan's Blue Neighbourhood Trilogy, Florence + The Machine's The Odyssey, and Chris Brown's Royalty. In order to qualify, videos had to be at least 10 minutes long.
But why did the VMAs wait a quarter of a century to bring this category back from the grave? "It took that long to get it back," Jesse Ignjatovic, the executive producer of the VMAs since 2007, joked on the phone to MTV News. "We’ve been working for years on this."
In all seriousness, though, the main reason the category ended its long hiatus is because the music landscape really stepped up its game. Ignjatovic explained how the VMAs "is always trying to stay on the cusp and reflect culture and what artists are doing," and expressing themselves through long form, as well as other methods — Kanye West's fashion show, anyone? — is the perfect way to do that.
When Madonna's The Immaculate Collection won back in 1991, she was an artist who was changing the music game. The category is about honoring those who showcase their music visually in unique and unexpected ways.
Ignjatovic hopes the category is here to stay, and not just reappear every 25 years, like some kind of musical version of Stephen King's Pennywise the Clown. "It just seemed that this year [long form video] was something that was proliferating the music landscape more than the past." Let's hope the trend continues.
Tune in to the 2016 VMAs, live from New York on Sunday, August 28, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.