Nicki Minaj will kick off Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards with a performance, the network announced on Thursday. Minaj joins a roster of talent that includes Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Pharrell Williams, Demi Lovato, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Tori Kelly, and A$AP Rocky and Twenty One Pilots.
Minaj was the opening act at last year’s VMAs as well, memorably performing “Anaconda” during a medley with Ariana Grande and Jessie J.
The news that Minaj will start the show came just hours after host Miley Cyrus criticized the rap star for comments she made after the VMAs nominations were announced. Minaj tweeted that she would have received more nominations for her “Anaconda” video if she were a “different kind of artist,” and wrote that if a “video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year.” Last year, Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” won in that category.
“What I read sounded very Nicki Minaj, which, if you know Nicki Minaj is not too kind. It’s not very polite,” Cyrus said of Minaj’s remarks in an interview with the New York Times. “I think there’s a way you speak to people with openness and love.” Cyrus also took issue with Minaj’s debate about the topic with Taylor Swift.
“You don’t have to start this pop star against pop star war,” she said. “It became Nicki Minaj and Taylor in a fight, so now the story isn’t even on what you wanted it to be about. Now you’ve just given E! News ‘Catfight! Taylor and Nicki Go at It.’ I know you can make it seem like, Oh I just don’t understand because I’m a white pop star. I know the statistics. I know what’s going on in the world. But to be honest, I don’t think MTV did that on purpose.”
The MTV Video Music Awards will air live on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.
WANT MORE EW? Subscribe now to keep up with the latest in movies, television and music.