The event will be the first at New York’s Barclays Center since the COVID-19 crisis began when it hits on August 30 … maybe everyone can wear a moon person outfit!
As they say in showbiz, the show must go on — though it’s not yet totally clear what it will look when it does.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that the MTV Video Music Awards will officially be the event to reopen the Barclays Center in New York for the first time since COVID-19 started shutting the world down.
But with the virus still running rampant across the United States, he did acknowledge that it will not be like past awards shows. Nor, though, will it be like the virtual BET Awards from last week.
This is an in-person event, inasmuch as the stars may or may not be interested in showing up. Less certain is how big of a crowd, if any, will be allowed to pack in to scream and shout as their favorite artists hit the stage to thank them (and some other folks, too).
Cuomo broke it down in his press conference by saying the event would go forward with “limited or no audience.” If an audience is ultimately permitted, they would be following strict social distancing guidelines, which means many seats would have to be blocked off.
“The health and safety of artists, fans, industry, staff and partners is of the utmost importance,” the network said in a press release. “Among the measures all parties involved have aligned to include extensive social distancing procedures, meaningful capacity limitations, the virtualization of components where possible, and limited capacity or no audience.”
Obviously, they also asked everyone to be patient and understanding that guidelines are subject to change based on the science, the spread of the virus and the state of the world (and New York City in particular) come late August.
As it stands, though, they are working to develop an epic show celebrating the spirit of all of New York. “This year’s screen breaking spectacle will bring together music fans worldwide and pay homage to the strength, spirit and incredible resilience of NYC and its beloved residents,” the network’s statement said.
“Spanning all five boroughs — Brooklyn, The Bronx, Staten Island, Queens and Manhattan — music’s biggest night will feature epic performances from various iconic locations.”
Perhaps coming on the heels of the BET Awards, the VMAs can take some inspiration in how that broadcast incorporated the restrictions in place due to the coronavirus to create a hybrid experience of live content (if allowed) and pre-taped segments to keep fans entertained.
There is always the chance that COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter (many protests have been staged outside Barclays Center) will impact the artist’s ability or willingness to come to the venue live, but we’d imagine that wouldn’t preclude them from being part of the event.
And with the Emmys following a month behind, you can bet they’ll be keeping a close eye on how parent company ViacomCBS (which also owns BET) pulls their show together both on stage and in the audience. Especially as the Emmy audience is usually packed full of stars!