By Mary Sollosi
August 26, 2016 at 03:50 PM EDT

The awards show that brought us Kanye’s interruption of Taylor Swift, Beyoncé’s sparkly-jacketed pregnancy announcement, and Miley Cyrus’ twerk heard ‘round the world is officially back this weekend. That’s right: The 2016 MTV Video Music Awards are happening this Sunday night, and we can’t wait to see what kind of weird, wild, and wonderful moments the entertainment world’s most unpredictable ceremony will give us this year.

Want to catch all the action, but don’t know when to tune in? Hoping to see your favorite artist take home a Moonman, but unsure whether they’re nominated? Love awards shows but have no idea what the VMAs even are? Don’t stress! We’ve got the answers to all of your burning questions right here.

What time are the VMAs?

The 2016 MTV VMAs will air live on MTV, naturally, at 9:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. CT on Sunday, August 28. They will be broadcast on tape delay, to air at 9:00 p.m., on the West Coast. The official pre-show begins one hour before the ceremony, and will include red carpet interviews, musical performances, and the announcement of the winner of the Song of the Summer award, presented by Verizon.

Where will the VMAs take place?

After three years of VMAs in Los Angeles, the 2016 show is going back home to New York, but testing out a new venue: The ceremony will be held, for the first time ever, in Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden.

Who’s hosting?

MTV kept the name of the host under wraps until the last minute, but finally announced on Wednesday that DJ Khaled (who is hosting the pre-show along with Charlamagne Tha God and Lizzo from MTV’s Wonderland), Key and Peele, Jay Pharaoh, and Nicole Byer will cover the show as correspondents instead of having a traditional host. The unconventional move was designed to mirror the coverage of some non-awards show TV phenomena this year — namely, the Olympics and the Democratic and Republican National Conventions — and as a nod to Madison Square Garden’s history as a sports arena.


Who’s presenting?

So far, MTV has announced that Kim Kardashian West, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Alicia Keys, Ansel Elgort, Bebe Rexha, Fifth Harmony, Jaden Smith, Rita Ora, Shameik Moore, and Tove Lo will all present awards. A few Olympians will hand out Moonmen as well, with gold medalists Michael Phelps and the Final Five gymnastics team on the list of presenters.

Who’s nominated?

Beyoncé leads the pack with 11 nominations for the videos off her visual album Lemonade, including nods for Video of the Year (“Formation”), Best Female Video (“Hold Up”), and Breakthrough Long Form Video (Lemonade), a brand-new category this year. Adele follows Bey in the nomination count, with seven for her Xavier Dolan-directed “Hello” video and one for “Send My Love (To Your New Lover),” both from her album 25.

The biggest award of the night, Video of the Year, will go to one of five visually daring pieces from one of five bona fide megastars, with Beyoncé, Adele (for “Hello”), Drake (“Hotline Bling”), Justin Bieber (“Sorry”), and Kanye West (“Famous”) competing for the top prize. Check out our breakdown of the five videos in contention, with commentary from the directors, here.

The VMAs winners are chosen by fans who vote on the MTV website. Voting has closed for all categories except for two: Fans can vote for Best New Artist — summer favorites DNCE and Desiigner are nominated, among others — on the VMAs website, and the race for Song of the Summer, presented by Verizon, is still open for voting on

The nominees in some of the most major categories are below. You can check out the full list here.

Video of the Year

Adele – “Hello”

Beyoncé – “Formation”

Drake – “Hotline Bling”

Justin Bieber – “Sorry”

Kanye West – “Famous”

Best Female Video

Adele – “Hello”

Beyoncé – “Hold Up”

Sia – “Cheap Thrills”

Ariana Grande – “Into You”

Rihanna ft. Drake – “Work” (short version)

Best Male Video

Drake – “Hotline Bling”

Bryson Tiller – “Don’t”

Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna – “This Is What You Came For”

Kanye West – “Famous”

The Weeknd – “Can’t Feel My Face”

Best Collaboration

Beyoncé ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Freedom”

Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla $ign – “Work From Home”

Ariana Grande ft. Lil Wayne – “Let Me Love You”

Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna – “This Is What You Came For”

Rihanna ft. Drake – “Work” (short version)

Best New Artist

Bryson Tiller


Zara Larsson

Lukas Graham


What about the Video Vanguard Award?

This year, the MTV version of a lifetime achievement award — the very first of which went to David Bowie, the Beatles, and Richard Lester in 1984 — will be bestowed upon Rihanna, who has won Video of the Year twice in the past (for 2007’s “Umbrella” and 2012’s “We Found Love”), and who is nominated for multiple awards this year. Renamed the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award in 1991, the honor has gone to Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, and Kanye West, consecutively, in the last three years, and almost always results in a buzzy acceptance speech (Kanye 2020!) and/or legendary performance (all hail Queen Bey the FEMINIST). We’ll have to wait until Sunday to see how RiRi commemorates her win.

Who’s performing?

There will certainly be some surprises, but we already know this much: The music will start with the pre-show, during which Alessia Cara, Jidenna, and Lukas Graham are set to perform. Then, the main event will see Video Vanguard honoree Rihanna take the stage, as will Future, who has never been a part of the VMAs show before. Nick Jonas and Ty Dolla $ign are scheduled to appear together, and Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj will perform “Side to Side” off Grande’s album Dangerous Woman. In short, MTV has assembled a seriously star-studded program — and that’s not to mention Britney, bitch.

Wait, did you just say Britney?!

That’s right! Britney Spears will take the VMA stage for the first time since 2007, when she sang “Gimme More.” That performance notwithstanding, she has a brilliant VMA track record, from her 2000 mashup of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “Oops! …I Did It Again” to 2001’s now-iconic rendition of “I’m a Slave 4 U” — performed with a python draped over her shoulders — to the infamous kiss she shared with Madonna in 2003. This weekend, the Princess of Pop will make her triumphant return when she and collaborator G-Eazy perform “Make Me…,” the lead single off Spears’ ninth studio album, Glory, which drops Friday.