If you’re anything like me, you see old footage of public gatherings (like Taylor Swift performing at the 2019 MTV VMAs), and all you can think about is how everyone is standing way too close to each other, and that no one is wearing a mask, and oh god, where is the nearest bottle of hand sanitizer?! And that’s because we’re going on month six of a global pandemic. But the 2020 MTV VMAs will still happen this Sunday, August 30. MTV will make sure the ceremony will reflect the times we’re living in by handing out awards for Best Music Video from Home, and Best Quarantine Performance. But that’s pretty much the extent of their quarantine content. For example, the show is still going to involve live performances, and those performers aren’t required to quarantine if they’re flying into New York from another state.
Currently, the list of performers scheduled to make an appearance includes Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, BTS, Black Eyed Peas, CNCO, Doja Cat, Maluma, Da Baby, and The Weeknd. There are several artists who will appear in the pre-show, like Chloe x Halle and Machine Gun Kelly. It was decided earlier this month that the ceremony wouldn’t take place inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, as was originally planned, due to health officials being worried about that many people gathering indoors. The show will take place outside in a variety of locations spread across NYC’s five boroughs. It will be hosted by Keke Palmer from wherever Keke might be safest. There will be little to no audience present during performances. Sources told Page Six earlier this month that some VMA staff weren’t feeling very safe about the whole thing.
Those nervous staff members are probably trading in their VMA outfits for full-body Moonman costumes. Because Vulture says that the VMAs are exempt from common quarantine protocol. Under New York’s COVID-19 rules, someone who arrives from another state, like California, would have to quarantine for two weeks. The New York Department of Health confirmed to Vulture that the VMAs are a special case that had to get special permission to skip the two-week quarantine period.
“The VMAs applied through Department of Health to allow individuals coming from travel advisory states to participate in the production of the show, in line with the methodology granted for professional sports. Similar to professional athletes, the VMA cast and crew are required to adhere to strict procedures which include quarantining when not working, wearing masks and appropriate social distancing, and rigorous testing during their stay.”
Deadline points out that the COVID-19 exemption applies to artists, as well as any crew that tags along with them. So essentially, Miley can hop off the plane from LAX and go directly to VMA headquarters, and any possible corona-germs she may be carrying will have a chance to party with whatever hairstylist has been hired to make her bangs look extra-shaggy. However, the quarantine exemption only applies to the VMA ceremony. If a performer chooses to stay in NYC after the show, they will have to quarantine for 14 days. And of course, the NYDOH is encouraging all performers, regardless of their home state, to wear masks and maintain social distancing guidelines.
A lot of performers live in Los Angeles. There have been nearly 680,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in California. Not to mention that literally one of the performers scheduled for the show has allegedly already tested positive for COVID-19 (that would be Doja Cat, who had previously made fun of the coronavirus situation). I know the cornerstone of showbiz is that the show must always go on, but can’t it go on from inside people’s homes instead? Just this year? Especially considering that might actually enhance the experience for the viewers at home. Let’s face it, the VMAs would be 10x more entertaining if there was a chance of seeing Lady Gaga run into her coffee table in the middle of “Rain on Me.”