As Miley Cyrus gets to take the stage as host, Justin Bieber rehearses for his return to the stage and Kanye West gears up to receive the evening’s highest honor, the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards is already poised for plenty of potential viral moments.
But it might be hard to beat 2014’s show, where Beyonce brought the house down with a 16-minute medley performance after winning the Video Vanguard award. How do the people in charge plan to top it?
“If you look back over the years, that’s a consistent question isn’t it?” executive producer told TheWrap. “Every single year there’s a moment that needs to be topped, or a bar that needs to be reached… It’s part of what the VMAs means now. So it’s not an unexpected expectation for us.”
English promised plenty of moments to remember from this year’s show which the VMAs do tend to deliver year after year. Here are 5 things to expect from Sunday’s show.
1. Kanye will do what Kanye does
The hip hop mogul will receive a big chunk of the evening’s time as he accepts the Video Vanguard award and puts on a performance to match. While he’s notorious for changing things up until the very last minute on live performances, English and the team are well prepared.
“He’s an incredible artist and he has a long history with the channel and with the show,” the EP said. “You can never fully forecast where he’s going to go. We’re really excited to see how it all comes together. That’s essentially what makes him so special. It’s always a challenge but creative is always something that moves and it’s developing and happens organically, but Kanye is Kanye and he’s going to do what he does.”
One of the things Kanye did, very famously, was steal a microphone and a moment from Taylor Swift in an iconic VMAs moment. It’s been six years since the 2009 show that still lives on in infamy, and English won’t count out an onstage resolution as both artists are set to attend this year’s show.
“They’ll both be here so we’re really excited about that. Whether they will cross paths remains to be seen,” he teased. “I think that’s part of that VMA culture, which is moments of spontaneity, whether they be controversial or otherwise. That’s always what the show is about.”
2. Miley Cyrus‘ star power is undeniable
While the VMAs traditionally hires comedians for the hosting gig, this year Miley Cyrus will take the reins, her first appearance since her controversial duet with Robin Thicke in 2013. But star power is star power.
“With our audience and within culture at large, she’s one of the biggest stars out there,” said English. “With what she’s done over the years at the channel, whether it’s Unplugged with Madonna or her performance in Brooklyn a couple of years ago, she is someone who resonates with our audience in massive ways.”
3. No beefed up security
There have been instances of violence at events related to the VMAs in years past, and the Virginia shooting is still fresh on everyone’s minds, but English doesn’t foresee a need for heightened security at the event at the moment.
“I’m not aware of any security concerns that are happening right now,” he said. “From time to time there’s a lot of energy that percolates around the show and there certainly have been incidents in the past that have happened tangentially to the show, that have put us in a position of looking at security through a different filter, but right now the vibe at the show is a very positive one.”
4. No hard feelings, Inglewood
After only a year at the remodeled Forum in Inglewood, a suburb of Los Angeles, the VMAs are back downtown, at the Microsoft Theater, for the 2015 awards.
“We were excited to be there, we had a fantastic time there,” he said of the 2014 venue. “The VMAs is a complete reinvention every year, that’s part of the show. We tend to not get too ahead of ourselves in terms of venue or things that begin expectations until we really understand what the show is about. So being at the Forum last year was fantastic and we would love to return to the Forum at some point.”
5. Plenty of other surprises
With the potential for big moments already high from Kanye and Miley, English says there are plenty of opportunities for more. The performers announced so far include Justin Beiber, Demi Lovato and Nicki Minaj, who will open the show.
“It’s all in the spontaneity,” he said. “Things going viral are not things you can manufacture, and I think when people try to manufacture those things, it generally doesn’t work terribly well. We just try to create the environment where those special moments can happen organically.”
The 2015 MTV VMAs air live from the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, Aug. 30 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.