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VMAs: Who should win, who will win

Cardi B and The Carters have the most nods, but look for Childish Gambino's stunning piece of social commentary, "This Is America," to win big.

Cardi B is up for 10 MTV

 Cardi B is up for 10 MTV Video Music Awards this year. Photo Credit: Invision/Evan Agostini

Sure, the MTV Video Music Awards aren’t really about the awards. Or the videos, for that matter.

But that doesn’t mean that the Monday, Aug. 20, ceremony at Radio City Music Hall isn’t important, especially considering the unusually strong videos being honored this year.

Though Cardi B. has 10 nominations to lead the night and The Carters — aka Beyoncé and Jay-Z — have generated the most buzz, along with eight nominations, with their “Ape**T” video filmed in The Louvre, the big winner probably won’t be either one. (Though no one should ever really count out The Carters.)

Look for Childish Gambino’s stunning piece of social commentary “This Is America” to land the most wins. Gambino — the rapping alter ego of actor Donald Glover, who is also up for five Emmy awards next month — captures the shocking dichotomy of American life in these violent times, especially for minorities.

Here’s a look at who should win and who will win in some of the top VMA categories:


Ariana Grande, “No Tears Left to Cry”

Bruno Mars featuring Cardi B., “Finesse (Remix)"

Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug, “Havana”

The Carters, “Ape**T”

Childish Gambino, “This Is America”

Drake, “God's Plan”

SHOULD WIN: “This Is America.” Childish Gambino’s stunning combination of entertainment and violence spawned important conversations for weeks, as great art should.

WILL WIN: “This Is America.” Even though this is a fan-voted category, and Drake’s popularity is at an all-time high, the power of Gambino’s statement should shine through.


Ariana Grande

Bruno Mars

Camila Cabello

Cardi B


Post Malone

SHOULD WIN Cardi B.'s new baby, Kulture, is simply the crowning achievement in a year of wins where the Bronx rapper became the go-to artist to liven up any number of songs, including her own.

WILL WIN Drake. It’s “God’s Plan.” Right, Drizzy?


Bruno Mars featuring Cardi B., “Finesse (Remix)”

Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug, “Havana”

Drake, “God's Plan”

Dua Lipa, “New Rules”

Ed Sheeran, “Perfect”

Post Malone featuring 21 Savage, “rockstar”

SHOULD WIN: “Finesse (Remix).” In a category packed with lightweight nominations, Bruno Mars and Cardi B. simply exude ‘80s fun.

WILL WIN: “God’s Plan.” A whole lot of wishin’ and wishin’ and wishin’ and wishin’ for Drake.



Cardi B.

Chloe x Halle

Hayley Kiyoko

Lil Pump

Lil Uzi Vert

SHOULD WIN Cardi B. It’s been a breakout year for “Bartier Cardi,” dropping her debut along with smash singles with Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Jennifer Lopez, Rita Ora, G-Eazy and Ozuna.

WILL WIN Cardi B. I like it like that.


Childish Gambino, “This Is America”

Dej Loaf and Leon Bridges, “Liberated”

Drake, "God’s Plan”

Janelle Monáe featuring Grimes, “PYNK”

Jessie Reyez, “Gatekeeper”

Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid, “1-800-273-8255”

SHOULD WIN “This Is America.” There are so many important messages among these nominees. Logic raised the profile of mental health issues among young people. Reyez became a standard-bearer for the #MeToo movement with her harrowing tale. But Gambino makes his point using artistic excellence.

WILL WIN “This Is America.”


Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia Line, “Meant to Be”

Bruno Mars featuring Cardi B, “Finesse (Remix)”

The Carters, “Ape**T”

Jennifer Lopez featuring DJ Khaled and Cardi B, “Dinero”

Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid, “1-800-273-8255”

N.E.R.D & Rihanna, “Lemon”

SHOULD WIN “Ape**T” It’s not just a collaboration between Beyoncé and Jay-Z, but a collaboration between The Carters and The Louvre. And together, they create a gorgeous piece of art that puts other great works of art in a new context.

WILL WIN: “Ape**T” The Beyhive will be buzzing to make this happen.


Ariana Grande, “No Tears Left to Cry”

Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug, “Havana”

Demi Lovato, “Sorry Not Sorry”

Ed Sheeran, “Perfect”

P!nk, “What About Us”

Shawn Mendes, “In My Blood”

SHOULD WIN “Havana.” Half of my heart is with “Havana” oh na na, as Camila establishes herself as a solo star.

WILL WIN “Sorry Not Sorry.” The Lovatics will support their queen in her time of struggle by bringing Lovato a win while she is in rehab recovering from her overdose.


Daddy Yankee, “Dura”

J Balvin, Willy William, “Mi Gente”

Jennifer Lopez featuring DJ Khaled and Cardi B., “Dinero”

Luis Fonsi, Demi Lovato, “Échame La Culpa”

Maluma, “Felices los 4”

Shakira featuring Maluma, “Chantaje”

SHOULD WIN “Mi Gente.” It’s an anthem so catchy that it even hooked Beyoncé, who jumped on the song’s remix. Say yeah, yeah, yeah.

WILL WIN “Dinero.” Though the Lovatics may bring this one home for Lovato, J.Lo and her block, with help from Cardi B.’s fans, should get enough support to give Lopez a new award to go with her Video Vanguard lifetime achievement.


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