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"Must-Watch" MTV Video Music Awards Air Sunday Night, "Gargantuan" Beyonce Performance Promised

Image courtesy of Courtesy MTV (via ABC News Radio)
Image courtesy of Courtesy MTV (via ABC News Radio)

The watercooler moment to end all watercooler moments took place at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, when Robin Thicke , Miley Cyrus and a giant foam finger twerked their way into TV history.  A year later, we're still talking about it and, according to one of the show's producers, that's exactly why you need to tune in to this year's VMAs Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

"It's one of those moments in popular culture, which I think is a must-watch," says VMA executive producer Garrett English about the telecast, which has been going strong for three decades. "There are things that happen on the VMA stage that you will be talking about for weeks, months, and in the case of Miley Cyrus, years after."

"It's one of those things that if you miss it on Sunday night, you can very well be missing out on what everyone's talking about on Monday morning," he tells ABC News Radio.

With a lineup including Beyonce, Usher, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea, 5 Seconds of Summer and Maroon 5 , this year's telecast has many possibilities for show-stopping moments.   But as English explains, he's sweating under the huge expectation of a Miley-style incident every year.

"There certainly is a lot of pressure," English laughs. "But I think it's one of those things that we approach very much from an organic standpoint. We try to create the fertile ground for people to stretch creatively, and I think when that's achieved, these moments tend to happen."

As for whether or not the show ever turns down an artist's request to do something really controversial, over-the-top and crazy, English says, "We like the crazy! Controversy is not something that we shy away from."  But, that being said, he adds, "Obviously, there's always sensibilities and there's a very careful approach to that, but I think the VMAs is always one of those places where creative expression can go the extra step, and that the artists should feel comfortable doing that."

Most of the performances are being kept under wraps, though we know that the show will kick off with Ariana, Nicki and Jessie J singing "Bang Bang," and that Iggy and Rita Ora will sing "Black Widow."  The one performance to watch, according to English, will be Beyonce, naturally.  She's the leading nominee, and she's getting the Video Vanguard Award, so they're pulling out all the stops.

"Every single time that you see Beyonce on stage...she brings something unique, so that will certainly be the case on Sunday night," says English. "Obviously, the nuances of her performance are very much at close hold, but I can say that it's going to be a gargantuan performance."

With all this star power onstage, and titillating moments around every corner, it's hard to remember that this is actually an awards show that's meant to honor the best music videos of the year.  After all, MTV doesn't even really play music videos anymore.  So, do they actually really matter?  Yes, insists English.

"I think that's still very much the center point of the show...a celebration of music videos and musical expression in broadcast," he tells ABC News Radio. "So it's very much a center point for us, in terms of where the creative [portion] of the show is, a center point for the artists and a celebration of the year in this particular media. So it's absolutely critical."  

Here are the nominees for this year's MTV Video Music Awards:

VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX -- "Fancy"
Beyoncé ft. Jay Z -- "Drunk in Love"
Pharrell Williams -- "Happy"
Sia -- "Chandelier"
Miley Cyrus -- "Wrecking Ball"

BEST HIP-HOP
Eminem -- "Berzerk"
Drake ft. Majid Jordan -- "Hold On (We're Going Home)"
Childish Gambino -- "3005"
Kanye West -- "Black Skinhead"
Wiz Khalifa -- "We Dem Boyz"
 
BEST MALE
Pharrell Williams -- "Happy"
John Legend -- "All of Me"
Ed Sheeran ft. Pharrell -- "Sing"
Sam Smith -- "Stay with Me"
Eminem ft. Rihanna -- "The Monster"
 
BEST FEMALE
Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX -- "Fancy"
Beyoncé -- "Partition"
Lorde -- "Royals"
Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea -- "Problem"
Katy Perry ft. Juicy J -- "Dark Horse"
 
BEST POP
Pharrell Williams -- "Happy"
Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX -- "Fancy"
Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz -- "Talk Dirty"
Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea -- "Problem"
Avicii ft. Aloe Blacc -- "Wake Me Up"
 
BEST ROCK
Imagine Dragons -- "Demons"
Arctic Monkeys -- "Do I Wanna Know"
The Black Keys -- "Fever"
Lorde -- “Royals”
Linkin Park -- "Until It's Gone"
 
MTV ARTIST TO WATCH
Sam Smith -- "Stay with Me"
5 Seconds of Summer --"She Looks So Perfect"
Charli XCX -- "Boom Clap"
Schoolboy Q -- "Man of the Year"
Fifth Harmony -- "Miss Movin On"
 
BEST COLLABORATION
Beyoncé ft. Jay Z -- "Drunk in Love"
Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea -- "Problem"
Pitbull ft. Ke$ha -- "Timber"
Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne and Tyga -- "Loyal"
Eminem ft. Rihanna -- "The Monster"
Katy Perry ft. Juicy J -- "Dark Horse"

MTV CLUBLAND AWARD
DJ Snake & Lil Jon -- "Turn Down for What"
Zedd ft. Hayley Williams -- "Stay the Night"
Calvin Harris -- "Summer"
Martin Garrix -- "Animal"
Disclosure -- "Grab Her!"

BEST VIDEO WITH A SOCIAL MESSAGE
Angel Haze ft. Sia -- “Battle Cry"
Avicii -- “Hey Brother”
Beyoncé -- “Pretty Hurts”
J. Cole ft. TLC -- “Crooked Smile”
Kelly Rowland -- “Dirty Laundry”
David Guetta ft. Mikky Ekko -- “One Voice”

BEST LYRIC VIDEO
Katy Perry -- "Birthday"
Demi Lovato -- "Really Don't Care"
Austin Mahone -- "Mmm Yeah"
Ariana Grande -- "Problem"
5 Seconds of Summer -- "Don't Stop"
 
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
30 Seconds to Mars -- "City of Angels"
Beyoncé -- "Pretty Hurts"
Arcade Fire -- "Afterlife"
Gesaffelstein -- "Hate or Glory"
Lana Del Rey -- "West Coast"

BEST EDITING
Eminem -- "Rap God"
MGMT -- "Your Life Is a Lie"
Zedd  ft. Hayley Williams --"Stay the Night"
Beyoncé -- "Pretty Hurts"
Fitz and the Tantrums -- "The Walker"

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Sia -- "Chandelier"
Beyoncé -- "Partition"
Usher -- “Good Kisser"
Michael Jackson ft. Justin Timberlake -- "Love Never Felt So Good"
Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz -- "Talk Dirty"
Kieza -- “Hideaway”

BEST DIRECTION
DJ Snake & Lil Jon -- "Turn Down for What"
OK Go  -- "The Writing's on the Wall"
Miley Cyrus -- "Wrecking Ball"
Beyoncé -- "Pretty Hurts"
Eminem ft. Rihanna -- "The Monster"

BEST ART DIRECTION
DJ Snake & Lil Jon -- "Turn Down for What"
Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX -- "Fancy"
Eminem -- "Rap God"
Arcade Fire -- "Reflektor"
Tyler, the Creator -- "Tamale"

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
DJ Snake & Lil Jon -- "Turn Down for What"
OK Go -- "The Writing's on the Wall"
Disclosure -- "Grab Her!"
Eminem -- "Rap God"
Jack White -- "Lazaretto"


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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