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MTV VMAs 2019: Taylor and Ariana lead the pack as newly-out Lil Nas X scores eight nominations

The trio are set to battle it out in the coveted 'Video of the Year' category.

By Will Stroude

Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande will be battling it out for the title of Biggest Pop Girl at the MTV VMA Awards next month after landing the most nominations ahead of one of music’s biggest nights of the year.

The pair have both notched up 10 nominations, and will go head-to-head for the night’s biggest prize – ‘Video of the Year’ with ‘You Need to Calm Down and thank u, next’ respectively.

Teen phenom Billie Eilish has also been richly rewarded with nine nominations following a year which saw her become the young female solo artist to have a UK Number One album with her acclaimed debut ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’

Meanwhile, Lil Nas X, whose decision to come out publicly as gay earlier this month marked a momentous leap forward for queer visibility in hip-hop and country music, has proved his sexuality is having now bearing on his continued critical success after racking up eight nominations.

The 20-year-old rapper will also go up against Swift and Grande for the night’s biggest award after the video for his smash hit single ‘Old Town Road’ was nominated for ‘Video of the Year’.

The track is currently spending a 16th week atop the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, tying it with Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s ‘One Sweet Day’ (1995-96) and Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s Justin Bieber-featuring “Despacito” remix (2017) for the longest stint at Number One since the chart was extablished in 1958. 

The MTV VMAs will take place on 27 August. Check out the full list of nominations below:

Video of the Year
21 Savage: ‘a lot’ [ft. J. Cole]
Billie Eilish: ‘bad guy’
Ariana Grande: ‘thank u, next’
Jonas Brothers: ‘Sucker’
Lil Nas X: ‘Old Town Road (Remix)’ [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus]
Taylor Swift: ‘You Need to Calm Down’

Artist of the Year
Cardi B
Billie Eilish
Ariana Grande
Jonas Brothers
Shawn Mendes

Song of the Year
Drake: ‘In My Feelings’
Ariana Grande: ‘thank u, next’
Jonas Brothers: ‘Sucker’
Lady Gaga / Bradley Cooper: ‘Shallow’
Lil Nas X: ‘Old Town Road (Remix)’ [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus]
Taylor Swift: ‘You Need to Calm Down’

Best New Artist presented by Taco Bell
Ava Max
Billie Eilish
Lil Nas X

Best Collaboration
Lil Nas X: ‘Old Town Road (Remix)’ [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus]
Lady Gaga / Bradley Cooper: ‘Shallow’
Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello: ‘Señorita’
Taylor Swift: ‘ME!’ [ft. ft. Brendon Urie]
Ed Sheeran / Justin Bieber: ‘I Don’t Care’
BTS: ‘Boy With Luv’ [ft. Halsey]

Push Artist of the Year
Billie Eilish

Best Pop
5 Seconds of Summer: ‘Easier’
Cardi B / Bruno Mars: ‘Please Me’
Billie Eilish: ‘bad guy’
Ariana Grande: ‘thank u, next’
Jonas Brothers: ‘Sucker’
Taylor Swift: ‘You Need to Calm Down’

Best Hip-Hop
2 Chainz: ‘Rule the World'[ft. Ariana Grande]
21 Savage: ‘a lot’ [ft. J. Cole]
Cardi B: ‘Money’
DJ Khaled: ‘Higher’ [ft. Nipsey Hussle and John Legend]
Lil Nas X: ‘Old Town Road (Remix)’ [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus]
Travis Scott: ‘SICKO MODE’ [ft. Drake]

Best R&B
Anderson .Paak: ‘Make It Better’ [ft. Smokey Robinson]
Childish Gambino: ‘Feels Like Summer’
H.E.R.: ‘Could’ve Been’ [ft. Bryson Tiller]
Alicia Keys: ‘Raise a Man’
Ella Mai: ‘Trip’
Normani: ‘Waves’ [ft. 6LACK]

Childish Gambino

Best K-Pop
BTS:  ‘Boy With Luv’ [ft. Halsey]
BLACKPINK: ‘Kill This Love’
Monsta X: ‘Who Do You Love’ [ft. French Montana]
NCT 127: ‘Regular’
EXO: ‘Tempo’

Best Latin
Anuel AA / Karol G: ‘Secreto’
Bad Bunny: ‘MIA ‘[ft. Drake]
benny blanco / Tainy / Selena Gomez / J Balvin: ‘I Can’t Get Enough’
Daddy Yankee: ‘Con Calma’ [ft. Snow]
Maluma: ‘Mala Mía’
ROSALÍA / J Balvin: ‘Con Altura’ [ft. El Guincho]

Best Dance
The Chainsmokers: ‘Call You Mine’ [ft. Bebe Rexha]
Clean Bandit: ‘Solo’ [ft. Demi Lovato]
DJ Snake: ‘Taki Taki’ [ft. Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B]
David Guetta / Bebe Rexha / J Balvin: ‘Say My Name’
Marshmello / Bastille: ‘Happier’
Silk City / Dua Lipa: ‘Electricity’

Best Rock
The 1975: ‘Love It If We Made It’
Fall Out Boy: ‘Bishops Knife Trick’
Imagine Dragons: ‘Natural’
Lenny Kravitz: ‘Low’
Panic! At the Disco: ‘High Hopes’
twenty one pilots: ‘My Blood’

Video for Good
Halsey: ‘Nightmare’
The Killers: ‘Land of the Free’
Jamie N Commons / Skylar Grey: ‘Runaway Train’ [ft. Gallant]
John Legend: ‘Preach’
Lil Dicky: ‘Earth’
Taylor Swift: ‘You Need to Calm Down’

Best Direction
Billie Eilish: ‘bad Guy’ (dir. Dave Meyers)
FKA twigs: ‘Cellophane’ (dir. Andrew Thomas Huang)
Ariana Grande: ‘thank u, nex’ (dir. Hannah Lux Davis)
Lil Nas X: ‘Old Town Road (Remix)’ [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus] (dir. Calmatic)
LSD: ‘No New Friends’ (dir. Dano Cerny)
Taylor Swift: ‘You Need to Calm Down’ (dir. Drew Kirsch and Taylor Swift)

Best Visual Effects
Billie Eilish: ‘when the party’s over’ (visual effects: Ryan Ross, Andres Jaramillo)
FKA twigs: ‘Cellophane’ (visual effects: Matt Chandler, Fabio Zaveti for Analog)
Ariana Grande: ‘God is a woman’ (visual effects: Fabrice Lagayette, Kristina Prilukova & Rebecca Rice for Mathematic)
DJ Khaled: ‘Just Us’ [ft. SZA] (visual effects: Sergii Mashevskyi)
LSD: ‘No New Friends’ (visual effects: Ethan Chancer)
Taylor Swift: ‘ME!’ [ft. Brendon Urie] (visual effects: Loris Paillier & Lucas Salton for BUF VFX)

Best Editing
Anderson .Paak: ‘Tints’ [ft. Kendrick Lamar] (editing: Elias Talbot)
Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus – ‘Old Town Road (Remix)’ (editing: Calmatic)
Billie Eilish: ‘bad guy’ (editing: Billie Eilish)
Ariana Grande: ‘7 rings’ (editing: Hannah Lux Davis & Taylor Walsh)
Solange: ‘Almeda’ (editing: Solange Knowles, Vinnie Hobbs, Jonathon Proctor)
Taylor Swift: ‘You Need to Calm Down’ (editing: Jarrett Fijal)

Best Art Direction
BTS: ‘Boy With Luv’ [ft. Halsey] (art direction: JinSil Park, BoNa Kim (MU:E))
Ariana Grande: ‘7 rings’ (art direction: John Richoux)
Lil Nas X: ‘Old Town Road (Remix)’ [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus] (art direction: Itaru Dela Vegas)
Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello: ‘Señorita’ (art direction: Tatiana Van Sauter)
Taylor Swift: ‘You Need to Calm Down’ (art direction: Brittany Porter)
Kanye West / Lil Pump: ‘I Love It’ [ft. Adele Givens] (art direction: Tino Schaedler)

Best Choreography
FKA twigs: ‘Cellophane’ (choreography: Kelly Yvonne)
ROSALÍA / J Balvin: ‘Con Altura’ [ft. El Guincho] (choreography: Charm La’Donna)
LSD: ‘No New Friends’ (choreography: Ryan Heffington)
Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello: ‘Señorita’ (choreography: Calvit Hodge, Sara Biv)
Solange: ‘Almeda’ (choreography: Maya Taylor, Solange Knowles)
BTS: ‘Boy With Luv’ [ft. Halsey] (choreography: Rie Hata)
Best Cinematography
Anderson .Paak: ‘Tints’ [ft. Kendrick Lamar] (cinematography: Elias Talbot)
Billie Eilish: ‘hostage’ (cinematography: Pau Castejon)
Ariana Grande: ‘thank u, next’ (cinematography: Christopher Probst)
Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello: ‘Señorita’ (cinematography: Scott Cunningham)
Solange: ‘Almeda’ (cinematography: Chayse Irvin, Ryan Marie Helfant, Justin Hamilton)
Taylor Swift: ‘ME!’ [ft. Brendon Urie] (cinematography: Starr Whitesides