Video Music Awards: We predict the winners and look back on this year's musical timeline so far

Video Music Awards: We predict the winners and look back on this year's musical timeline so far

The Video Music Awards are a big deal for artists and performers, and the 34th ceremony is now almost upon us. In the music world, we tend to sideline them in favour of debut EPs and long-awaited new albums. But a good music video can transform a boring tune into something interesting and memorable, and if it's creative enough, it can become iconic in its own right.

Some artists put barely any effort into their music videos, providing a token lip-sync to accompany a generic shoot. But other artists work in full collaboration with their cinematographers and directors, and work to produce a short movie that's every bit as beloved as the melody itself. After all, do you think Take On Me by Ah-ha would be as fondly remembered today without the music video where the girl jumps into the comic book? Or would Thriller have sold-out if not for the kickass video with MJ and the zombies? I don't think so. 

The VMAs are often called the "Super Bowl for youth”, since the ceremony is routinely able to draw upon millions of viewers each year, usually from the 18 to 25 demographic that network executives are usually so desperate to secure. This year’s award show looks to be no different.

An image of Katy Perry wearing a spacesuit, making the peace sign and holding a flat with the MTV logo, with a neon pink flagpole. Credit: David LaChapelle, MTV Press

Katy Perry will be playing the part on August 27, 2017 at The Forum in Inglewood California. Bruce Gillmer, Head of Music and Music Talent at Global Entertainment Group stated, "We’re thrilled to have global phenomenon Katy Perry as the host and a performer at the 2017 VMAs. She is at the forefront of music culture and the perfect person to anchor this year’s show, which promises to be one of the most diverse and music-filled in VMA history."

But who looks set to secure the coveted Moonman award? There’s a number of likely candidates who are in the running, but who’s most likely to win? Let’s take a look over the year that was, and assess which videos will make the cut. As of right now, Kendrick Lamar leads the pack, with a gobsmacking total of eight nominations, but most think that his video for “Humble” will win him the Moonman.

Released way back in March on Lamar’s Vevo account, the track was produced by Top Dawg Entertainment, Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records. Humble was intended as the lead single from Lamar's fourth studio album, Damn, and the video was directed by Dave Meyers and The Little Homies.

In terms of imagery, this video unfolds like a moving renaissance painting, and is one of the most artistic endeavours thus far. The video opens with Lamar dressed in catholic vestments in an empty hall, standing under a single shaft of pale light, then cuts to Lamar dressed in black lying on a table, shooting loads of bills from a cash cannon.

From there, the narrative cuts rapidly between scenes of a nodding crowd of bald men dressed in black, as well as a reenactment of da Vinci's painting, The Last Supper; with Lamar sitting in Jesus' chair while his disciples gorge themselves. Commenting on the video, Rolling Stone journalist Althea Legaspi called the video, "richly filled with symbolism, contrasting ostentatious scenes against his pleas on the hook to ‘Sit down/ Be humble’ over a staccato, piano-fuelled beat."

Following Humble closely is the video for Bruno Mars’ track 24K Magic. The music video for the song was directed by Mars himself, as well as longtime collaborator Cameron Duddy, who directed Mars' previous music videos for Unorthodox Jukebox and The Lazy Song. The video was released on October 7, 2016, and depicts Mars and co throwing a party in a casino in Vegas, intercut with scenes of him riding in a black Cadillac.

Other potential candidates for the Best Artist award are Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande and The Weeknd in honour of their videos for Castle on the Hill, Reminder and Side To Side (which also featured Nicki Minaj) respectively. There also looks to be something of a One Direction reunion come the day, as Harry Styles and Zayn Malik's VMAs nominations will also see the two lads attending the ceremony together. Styles in particular has been a busy bee, and has garnered acclaim for his single Sign of the Times and for his surprisingly nuanced performance in Christopher Nolan's period war movie Dunkirk. 

The other categories include Best New Artist, Best Collaboration, Best Pop, Best Hip Hop, Best Dance, Best Rock, Best Fight Against The System, Best Cinematography, Best Direction, Best Visual Effects, Best Editing and Best Choreography. If you want to check out the full list of nominations, then do yourself a favour and shoot over to MTV's offical site, where you can see all the nominations on one page.