MTV announces Lorde, Olivia Rodrigo and Lil Nas X as performers for 2021 VMAs ceremony

Camila Cabello and Machine Gun Kelly will also perform

Lorde, Olivia Rodrigo and Lil Nas X lead the list of announced performers for the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) next month.

The performers, announced yesterday (August 18), also include Cuban-American pop singer Camila Cabello and rapper-turned-pop-punk artist Machine Gun Kelly. The two artists will perform separately, although Cabello and Kelly did collaborate on the 2017 single ‘Bad Things’.

The five artists are the first announced for the ceremony, which is set to return to being presented in-person and with a live audience following 2020’s ceremony largely taking place virtually. It will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, returning to the venue for the first time since 2013.


Each artist announced to perform thus far, bar Cabello, is nominated for a VMA this year. Lorde is up for Best Cinematography for her ‘Solar Power’ video, while Machine Gun Kelly is up for Best Alternative with his Blackbear collaboration, ‘my ex’s best friend’.

Rodrigo, meanwhile, is up for a total of five nominations. This includes Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, PUSH Performance of the Year (both for ‘drivers license’), Best New Artist and Best Pop (for ‘good 4 u’).

This is equal to Lil Nas X’s nominations, albeit in different categories. The ‘Industry Baby’ singer has been nominated for Video of the Year, Video for Good, Best Direction, Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects. Uniquely, they are all for the same video: ‘MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)’, which the singer released in late March 2021.

More performers are expected to be announced for the awards ceremony in the coming weeks. The 2021 VMAs ceremony will take place on Sunday September 12.