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MTV Video Music Awards Held Virtually This Year Because Of COVID-19

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The MTV Music Video Awards held a ceremony shaped by the pandemic. Live performances were streamed from remote locations while artists accepted their awards live but socially distanced. There were even new awards. Singer Madison Beer announced one of them.

(SOUNDBITE OF 2020 MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS)

MADISON BEER: This year, we all had to do things a little differently. Festivals, concerts, movies and TV shoots came to a stop. Our favorite artists rose to the challenge and gave us brand-new content with a fresh perspective. Here are the nominees for Best Music Video From Home.

INSKEEP: Best Music Video From Home. There was also a category for Best Quarantine Performance celebrating the live events put on by musicians while isolating at home. And the host, Keke Palmer, had no shortage of quarantine jokes.

(SOUNDBITE OF 2020 MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS)

KEKE PALMER: This is incredible. I can't believe MTV asked me to host. I don't know if I was they first choice or the only one brave enough to do it during COVID.

INSKEEP: One of the big winners of the night was Lady Gaga. She took home Artist Of The Year and Song Of The Year for "Rain On Me," a collaboration with Ariana Grande.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RAIN ON ME")

LADY GAGA: (Singing) Rain on me.

INSKEEP: They performed the song wearing masks at the award ceremony. And Lady Gaga offered words of encouragement during an acceptance speech.

(SOUNDBITE OF 2020 MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS)

LADY GAGA: Just because we're separated right now and culture may feel less alive in some ways, I know a renaissance is coming. And the wrath of pop culture will inspire you. Stay safe. Speak your mind. And I might sound like a broken record, but wear a mask. It's a sign of respect. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

INSKEEP: Video Of The Year went to The Weeknd, who used his speech to focus on racial justice.

(SOUNDBITE OF 2020 MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS)

THE WEEKND: Thank you, again, everyone involved in making this video. Again, hard to celebrate. So I'm going to say justice for Jacob Blake and justice for Breonna Taylor. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

INSKEEP: The voice of The Weeknd, one of the big winners at last night's MTV Video Music Awards.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BLINDING LIGHTS")

THE WEEKND: Yeah. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.