Predicting the 2016 VMA nominees

The 2016 VMAs are a little over a month away, and we should be receiving word on this year’s nominees in the coming days. Before the nominees are announced, however, I have predictions for the biggest categories – Artist to Watch, Best Male Video, Best Female Video, Best Pop Video, Best Hip Hop Video, Video of the Year – ranging from the sure-fire nods to ones that I would would love to see highlighted.

Artist to Watch

Alessia Cara – “Here”

Desiigner – “Panda”

Flume ft. Kai – “Never Be Like You”

Troye Sivan – “Youth”

Zara Larsson & MNEK – “Never Forget You”

Five of the biggest new artists of the past calendar year – Desiigner feels like an obvious shoe-in considering how massive “Panda” was – yet there’s hardly a consensus for this award, traditionally one of the most random selection of nominees. Just last year, Fetty Wap went up against George Ezra, James Bay and FKA twigs for the award. The Chainsmokers could be dark horses for a nomination here with either “Roses” or “Don’t Let Me Down.”

Best Male Video

Drake – “Hotline Bling”

Future ft. the Weeknd – “Low Life”

Justin Bieber – “What Do You Mean?”

Justin Timberlake – “Can’t Stop the Feeling”

ZAYN – “Pillowtalk”

It’s been a lukewarm year in regards to major releases by the biggest male artists, but Drake and Justin Bieber – both in the midst of massive eras – are the clear frontrunners. The only question is whether the VMAs will nominate Bieber’s narrative “What Do You Mean” video or the colorful dance video for “Sorry.” “Can’t Stop the Feeling” is too big of a hit to ignore at this point, while Future should be rewarded for the great run he was on from DS2 to Evol.

Best Female Video

Adele – “Hello”

Beyoncé – “Formation”

Meghan Trainor -“NO”

Rihanna -“Needed Me”

Selena Gomez – “Hands to Myself”

The first two videos – “Hello” and “Formation” – seem like givens to be nominated. “Hello” is one of the most watched videos ever and “Formation” is the type of striking visual that makes people remember the power of the music video as an art-form. Rihanna could be nominated for any number of videos, but I think the Harmony Korine-directed “Needed Me” will have the clout to score her a nomination, while Selena Gomez’s mature “Hands to Myself” – or Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman” – should be able to squeak in a nomination.

Best Pop Video

Ariana Grande – “Dangerous Woman”

Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla $ign -“Work from Home”

Justin Bieber – “What Do You Mean?”

Nick Jonas ft. Tove Lo – “Close”

Rihanna ft. Drake – “Work”

A little harder to predict, but I think Ariana Grande will get nominated here while missing out on Best Female Video. Nick Jonas and Tove Lo’s “Close” is one of the year’s better pop music videos, while “Work from Home” is as bright and fun as a pop music video should be. 

Best Hip Hop Video

Desiigner -“Panda”

Drake – “Hotline Bling”

Fat Joe & Remy Ma ft. French Montana & Infrared – “All the Way Up”

Future ft. the Weeknd – “Low Life”

Gucci Mane – “1st Day out tha Feds”

This is one of the more difficult categories to predict, but Future and Drake feel live givens, while Fat Joe and Gucci Mane both deserve nominations for returning in big ways in 2016.

Video of the Year

Adele – “Hello”

Beyoncé – “Formation”

Drake – “Hotline Bling”

Justin Bieber – “What Do You Mean?”

Rihanna ft. Drake – “Work”

I can’t think of five other videos that were bigger these past twelve months. I’ve already mentioned the importance of “Hello” and “Formation,” while “Hotline Bling” was a cultural touchstone of late 2015, “Work” showcased two of music’s biggest starts reuniting, and “What Do You Mean?” signaled a new benchmark for Justin Bieber.

Watch the video for “Formation”:

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