Roddy Ricch, J Balvin pull out of MTV VMAs lineup of performers

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An awards show is a tough thing to pull off in a pandemic, and although the VMAs set forth with an admirably ambitious agenda and a power-packed artist lineup, Roddy Ricch and J Balvin have both pulled out, Variety has confirmed.

“Unfortunately, J Balvin and Roddy Ricch are no longer performing,” a source close to the show tells Variety. “As with every awards show, there are always last-minute talent changes. That said, this year has more logistical hurdles than most and the health and safety of our employees and partners is of the utmost importance.”

While Ricch is one of the breakout stars of the year — powered by his ubiquitous hit “The Box” — and Balvin is a mesmerizing performer with elaborate stage sets, the lineup is still strong: Performers on tap at the time of this article’s publication include Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, BTS, Miley Cyrus, DaBaby, Doja Cat, Maluma, CNCO and a throwback slot occupied by the Black Eyed Peas, with additional artists to be announced in the coming days.

While the show was originally scheduled to take place at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center with several performances being staged at various “iconic locations across New York City,” the realities of the pandemic have forced the producers to abandon the Barclays plan and for the performances to take place at the New York locations and at a soundstage in Los Angeles.

Grande and Lady Gaga lead this year’s nominations with nine, followed by Billie Eilish and the Weeknd with six nominations. All four artists have been nominated for video of the year.

The VMAs will air live on Sunday, August 30th at 8pm ET/PT. See the full list of nominees here.

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