×

Katy Perry Medley, Multiple Stages: MTV Video Music Awards Gets Super-Sized for 2017 Edition

With the MTV Video Music Awards only four days away, rehearsals have yet to begin, the run-of-show hasn’t been nailed down, and presenters still don’t know who they’ll be paired with, but producers are confident they’ll be able to pull off the biggest VMAs in the network’s history.

According to set designer Ric Lipson, whose firm Stufish Entertainment Architects has worked on three VMAs shows, the Aug. 27 event at the Forum will feature 560 chain motors hanging in the air. “At a normal rock show, you might hang 150 things,” he tells Variety. The set also features five stages — more than ever before, with three major performance areas and two extras.

Also adding to the grandiosity: the 2017 edition has booked the largest number of performances ever to grace the VMAs stage. Pink, Kendrick Lamar, Miley Cyrus, Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes, DNCE, Fifth Harmony, Lorde, 30 Seconds to Mars, Logic, and Katy Perrywho is also hosting — will all perform. Based on early previews, it’s possible Perry may borrow a leaf from Lady Gaga’s book (think her Super Bowl LI performance) and descend from the ceiling to take up her hosting duties — accompanied  by a remix of “Also sprach Zarathustra” from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” of course. Perry told Ryan Seacrest’s KIIS-FM morning show that she plans to perform a medley of her songs.

The set is in line with the VMAs’ outer space theme — angular, silver panels bordered by neon lights comprise the bulk of the set, with a mirrored tunnel dividing two main stages that face the audience. Shiny, white catwalks lead out to the presenter stage.

Lipson says the artists are mostly free to bring their own creative designs to their performances, but they have to fit within the confines of the main set, which was cemented in March. As a result, Lipson has had to reject some over-the-top ideas. “There’s a lot of things we’ve not been able to do, not just because of time but because there’s a physical limit to what you can load in and out on a show that’s running live,” he said. There will be some large set pieces, however — up to 40 minutes between stage uses does allow for some grand gestures. As for pyrotechnics? “Lots,” he confirmed.

Performers and other VIP members, including Millie Bobby Brown, Chance the Rapper, and Gal Gadot, will recline in the VIP Village, a raised area between the general seating and standing room only that features roomy seats and, presumably, bar service.

Executive producer Garrett English emphasized how fluid the schedule of the show would be until Sunday. According to English, dress rehearsals will continue until moments before the show goes live.

While English was reticent regarding a Chester Bennington/Chris Cornell tribute, he indicated that Logic’s performance of “1-800-273-8255” will provide an opportunity for audiences to reflect on the rock stars’ passing. He added that, as always, the awards show is a hotbed of spontaneity, and “if somebody wants to make a statement around those things, this is place where we can do that. It’s a delicate matter and one that we want to make sure comes from an artist or a place of passion and support.”

More Music

  • BURBANK, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 18: (EDITORIAL

    Dax Shepard, Bobby Bones, 'Breakfast Club' Among iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Winners

    iHeartRadio launched its first ever Podcast Awards on Friday (January 18) in Los Angeles. Among the winners in 22 categories were “Whine Down with Jana Kramer” (Best Entertainment TV Podcast); “Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard (Breakout Podcast); “Bobbycast” (Music Podcast); and “The Breakfast Club” (Best Multicultural Podcast). The winners were determined by iHeartRadio listeners. Taking the top prize of Podcast [...]

  • Fyre Festival Caterer Receives Thousands in

    Unpaid Fyre Festival Caterer Raises Thousands in Donations on GoFundMe

    As two Fyre Festival documentaries hit the airwaves, a couple who say their credit was ruined due to the Fyre Festival’s lack of payment for their services have raised $54,381 at time of publication on GoFundMe. Elvis and Maryann Rolle wrote on their page that they catered “no less than 1000 meals per day” in [...]

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Accusers Detail Abuse, Reveal Evidence on 'Dateline'

    The continuing controversy surrounding R. Kelly, including allegations of sexual abuse by a number of women over three decades, was the focus of Friday’s episode of “Dateline.” Speaking to accusers Sparkle, Jerhonda Pace and parents Tim and Jonjelyn Savage, among others, NBC’s Andrea Canning heard more harrowing tales of abduction and sexual misconduct on the part [...]

  • Huey Lewis

    BMG Signs Huey Lewis and the News

    Huey Lewis and the News, the band that soundtracked much of the 1980s, will return with a new album in 2019. The group has signed with BMG, the company announced today (Jan. 18), setting the stage for the tenth studio album and the first time they’re releasing original music in 18 years. Formed by Lewis [...]

  • Jordan Feldstein

    Roc Nation Seeks $11 Million From Insurer in Jordan Feldstein's Death

    Roc Nation filed a federal lawsuit Friday seeking $11 million from its insurance carrier following the death of Maroon 5 manager Jordan Feldstein. Roc Nation, a joint venture of Jay-Z and Live Nation Entertainment, partnered with Feldstein’s Career Artist Management in 2016. At the time, Roc Nation says it took out a “key man” life [...]

  • mike-posner

    Album Review: Mike Posner's 'A Real Good Kid'

    From the tone of such hits as his 2010 debut “Cooler Than Me” and 2015’s  “I Took A Pill In Ibiza,” singing, songwriting pop-hop beardo Mike Posner had a seemingly breezy take on life, love and responsibility. If you could have squeezed together the two Justins — Timberlake and Bieber (Posner has written for the latter) [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content