Your burning 2017 VMAs questions, answered!

Paul Grein

You’re all set for the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday. You know that Katy Perry is hosting and that Kendrick Lamar leads the pack with eight nominations. You even heard that they’re changing the name of the Moonman to the Moonperson. Even so, a few questions still nag at you. Let’s put those questions to rest.

The Video Vanguard Award, which goes to Pink this year, is named after Michael Jackson. How many times did Jackson win Video of the Year?

Would you believe, none? He was nominated for “Thriller,” “Leave Me Alone,” and “Scream,” but lost ’em all. (If the VMAs had launched one year earlier, Jackson would have won for “Billie Jean” or “Beat It.”) (Photo: Getty Images)

Isn’t the rather Michael Jackson-esque Bruno Mars due for a win in the Video of the Year category?

He is. This is his fourth nomination in that category. He has yet to take it home. If he loses again, he’ll join U2 and Kanye West as the only artists to go 0-4 in that category. (Photo: Getty Images)

Is anybody going for a VMA record this year?

Yes. Rihanna is vying to win a record third award for Video of the Year for her featured role on DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts.” She previously won for “Umbrella” and “We Found Love.” (Photo: Getty Images)

Couldn’t Rihanna’s occasional collaborator Calvin Harris set some kind of a record?

Yes. He’s nominated for Best Dance Video for “My Way.” If he wins, he’ll become the first three-time winner in that category. He previously won for “Feels So Close” and “How Deep Is Your Love.”
(Photo: Getty Images)

Harry Styles is up for Best Pop Video for “Sign of the Times.” He won in that category as a member of One Direction. Has anybody ever taken that award both solo and in a group?

Yes. Justin Timberlake won in that category twice with *NSYNC and once on his own. (Photo: Getty Images)

Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” broke the record as the most-viewed video in YouTube history. So why isn’t it up for anything?

Good question. The VMAs don’t have a Latin category, and it was passed over for Video of the Year and Best Collaboration.
(Photo: Getty Images)

The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” (featuring Halsey) is up for Best Collaboration. Wasn’t that was up for a VMA last year?

Good memory. It came out a little late for the bulk of the nominations last year, but it was nominated for Song of the Summer. (Photo: Getty Images)

Ariana Grande is nominated for Artist of the Year, even though she hasn’t released a new album in 15 months. Isn’t that unusual?

Yes, but her stature rose in the wake of the One Love Manchester concert, which she organized. (Photo: Getty Images)

Is Katy Perry the first music superstar to host the VMAs?

No. Miley Cyrus hosted two years ago. Sean “Diddy” Combs hosted in 2005. Perry and Cyrus are the only past winners of Video of the Year to host. They won for “Firework” and “Wrecking Ball,” respectively. (Photo: Getty Images)

Who’s older — Katy Perry or the VMAs?

The VMAs, but not by much. The VMAs first aired on Sept. 14, 1984. Perry was born six weeks later. (Photo: Getty Images)

Noah Cyrus is nominated for Best New Artist. Her big sister Miley must have won that award, no?

No. Miley was nominated in 2008, but lost to Tokio Hotel. (Katy Perry and Taylor Swift were also among the nominees that year.)
(Photo: Getty Images)

Four female solo artists are nominated for Best New Artist. Who was the last female solo artist to win that award?

Lady Gaga, eight years ago. (The other female solo artists who are nominated this year are Julia Michaels, SZA, and Young M.A.)
(Photo: Getty Images)

Do the VMA noms shed any light on the upcoming Grammy noms?

Yes. Two of the VMA nominees for Artist of the Year — Kendrick Lamar and Ed Sheeran — are locks to be nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys. (Photo: Getty Images)

Wouldn’t most acts rather win a Grammy than a VMA?

Sure. After all, the coveted awards sweep is called an EGOT, not an EVOT. But even if the awards themselves aren’t that important, the VMA telecast has a rep as a fun show, where anything can happen.
(Photo: Getty Images)

All five nominees for Best Rock Video (Coldplay, Fall Out Boy, twenty one pilots, Green Day, Foo Fighters) have won before in that category. What does that say?

It says that no new rock acts are breaking through. (Photo: Getty Images)

Most of the performers that have been announced so far are major nominees this year. But why is Thirty Seconds to Mars on the show?

The trio, fronted by Jared Leto, has a new album coming out.
(Photo: Getty Images)

Who has amassed the most VMA nominations for Video of the Year?

Eminem, with seven (counting one with the group D12). Beyoncé is close behind, with six. (Photo: Getty Images)

What group or duo has amassed the most VMA noms for Video of the Year?

U2, with four. Close behind, with three noms each: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Aerosmith, and R.E.M. (Photo: Getty Images)

Has anything ever won both the VMA for Video of the Year and the Grammy for Record of the Year?

Has anything ever won both the VMA for Video of the Year and the Grammy for Record of the Year? (Photo: Getty Images)

Have any country artists ever been nominated for Video of the Year?

Only Johnny Cash, who was nominated in 2003 for his anguished version of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt.” (Taylor Swift had become a pop megastar by the time she was nominated.) (Photo: Getty Images)

What artist has won the most VMAs?

Beyoncé, with 23 awards. And that doesn’t count an honorary award — the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. (Photo: Getty Images)

What video won the most VMAs?

Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer,” which won nine awards in 1987. (But it lost the Viewer’s Choice Award to U2’s “With or Without You.”) (Photo: Getty Images)