Dust off your spacesuits and queue your favorite “New & Noteworthy” YouTube playlist, because the VMAs are swiftly approaching.
— Video Music Awards (@vmas) April 20, 2017
After transforming Madison Square Garden into a terrestrial dance hall, aerobics studio and lemonade stand for last year’s ceremony, MTV is heading back to California—specifically the Forum, a historic venue in Inglewood.
“MTV, at 35 years old, has been around almost as long as the Forum,” said Forum manager Shelli Azoff in a press release. “Together, we’re 85 and enjoy lifetimes of music history.”
— Video Music Awards (@vmas) May 25, 2017
The Forum—sometimes called the “Fabulous” Forum—is the nation’s largest indoor performance venue, hosting sporting events and musical extravaganzas, including the 2014 VMA telecast.
That year, we witnessed Beyoncé’s iconic, 16-minute work of performance art, which ended with a visual proclamation of fierce feminism:
In 2015, the VMAs stayed on the West Coast—this time dominating the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Nearly 10 million people tuned in for the show. On Twitter, the VMAs generated more than 21 million tweets—surpassing every televised event besides the Super Bowl. The VMAs broke the U.S. Twitter record at the time and essentially broke the internet before breaking the internet was a thing. MTV is, after all, a perennial trendsetter.
That same year, the network unveiled a psychedelic, immersive marketing campaign that allowed fans to create their own trippy, flying taco-inspired art for the VMA promo spots. Fans adored the campaign, and so did the judges at The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. MTV left Cannes with a coveted Gold Lion award for the ad spot, which demonstrated a genuine connection between the brand and its audience.
Last year’s banger brought MTV to Madison Square Garden for the first time ever. As always, it was a night of exquisite artistry, featuring Queen Bey, Rihanna and an irreverent Kanye West monologue. But true to its brand, MTV included a healthy dose of spontaneity, from the decadent stage design to surprise guests—like Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, who used the VMAs as a platform to share his own secret training ritual:
What can we expect for 2017’s iteration of MTV’s most iconic award show? We don’t really know…and that’s exactly what makes the VMAs such a thrill.