The 2018 MTV Video Music Awards are ready for liftoff, and for one night only, the sky is not the limit. The annual event celebrates the music and videos that dominated your playlists and served as the soundtrack to your life over the past year, and after spending last year in sunny Los Angeles, the VMAs have found their way back home, returning to the place where it all began in 1984: Radio City Music Hall.
Which out-of-this-world artists will take home a Moon Person this year? Tune in Monday, August 20, at 9 p.m. ET/PT to find out, when the VMAs air live from NYC on MTV. In the meantime, here’s everything else you need to know about the big night.
Ariana Grande And More Will Take The StageRich Polk/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
The already-celestial evening will take a turn for the divine when Ariana Grande performs her latest, “God Is a Woman” — but heaven isn’t the only stop we’re making on the way to the moon. Travis Scott is taking everyone to Astroworld for his first solo VMA performance. Also hitting the stage: Shawn Mendes with his Best Pop nominee, “In My Blood,” Logic with Ryan Tedder for their brand new track, “One Day,” Panic! At the Disco with poppy jam “High Hopes,” and Post Malone with… well, we’ll see!
Cardi B Will Open The Show
The tagline of this year's show is "Everything Might Happen," so naturally, Cardi had to be the one to begin the night's festivities. Last year, she tore up the red carpet for an explosive pre-show performance of "Bodak Yellow," and now, she's scheduled to open the show. This is fitting, of course, because...
...And She Also Tops The NomineesMTV/TRL/Getty Images
The VMAs returned home just in time to properly celebrate hometown hero Cardi B, who leads the pack this year with 12 nominations, including Artist of the Year and Best New Artist. She’ll have to watch out for her cross-borough competitor Jay-Z, whose union as The Carters with wife Beyonce racked up an impressive eight nods for their surprise drop, Everything Is Love. Check out the full list of nominees.
Get Loud For Jennifer Lopez, Your Video Vanguard WinnerMTV/TRL/Getty Images
It may be Cardi B’s night to lose, but it’s J.Lo’s night to win! The Bronx native will receive the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award after serving almost two decades of hits, from “If You Had My Love” all the way to this year’s two-time nominee, “Dinero” — and she’ll be hitting the stage with an epic performance to celebrate.
Nicki Minaj Will Reign Once AgainLeon Bennett/Getty Images
J.Lo may be the night’s big honoree, but no one will upstage Nicki Minaj — particularly because her stage will be all her own. Coming in from an iconic New York location, the Best Hip Hop nominee's remote performance will also serve as her post-Queen debut, so she has tons of fresh material to pull from for her seventh VMA performance.
Presenters Will Maintain The FlowChristopher Polk/MTV1617/Getty Images for MTV
It’s a hostless ceremony this year, but the VMAs will have a steady stream of top-notch presenters gracing the stage in between the bangers and acceptance speeches. Millie Bobby Brown, Blake Lively, Liam Payne, Kevin Hart and way more will be handing out the coveted Moon Person statuettes to your faves all night long.
The Pre-Show Will Kick Off The Performance-Packed NightMichael Loccisano/Getty Images
Consider this your pre-game. Starting at 8 p.m. ET/PT, Terrence J., Nessa, Paul “Pauly D” Delvecchio, and Vinny Guadagnino will be ringing in the annual affair with a red carpet pre-show. But since the VMAs would feel incomplete without sprinkling in performances at every turn, Backstreet Boys, Bazzi, and Bryce Vine will be there to fully prep us for the main event.
But First, Cast Your Vote For Song Of SummerYouTube
Before we get this show off the ground, don’t forget to vote for your Song of Summer on MTV’s Instagram Stories. The competition is hot this year, pitting smash against bop against jam. Will Drake’s latest viral hit “In My Feelings” beat out DJ Khaled’s star-studded “No Brainer,” featuring Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper and Quavo, or will one of Cardi B’s two nominated songs reign supreme? It’s up to you to decide.
Introducing: The Push Artist StageJosh Brasted/WireImage
In case the list of performers isn’t robust enough, for the first time ever, a selection of MTV’s Push Artists from the past year will offer a showcase on their very own stage, bringing Jessie Reyez, PRETTYMUCH, Hayley Kiyoko, Juice WRLD, and Bazzi front-and-center.
The 2018 MTV Video Music Awards will air live from Radio City Music Hall on Monday, August 20 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Voting is now open at vma.mtv.com!