Why Ariana Grande, BTS and More Stars Missed the 2019 MTV VMAs

Billie Eilish and Drake were M.I.A. too

By Elyse Dupre Aug 27, 2019 12:20 PMTags

The 2019 MTV VMAs took place at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on Monday, and it was certainly a star-studded event.

Taylor Swift opened up the show with epic performances of "You Need to Calm Down" and "Lover." However, she wasn't the only one to take the stage. Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello also sang their steamy hit "Señorita," and Miley Cyrus belted out her raw breakup ballad "Slide Away." In addition, Missy Elliott made fans lose control with her Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award medley, and the Jonas Brothers went all out for their "Sucker" performance. Lizzo, Normani, Bad Bunny, J BalvinRosalia and more artists rocked the crowd, as well.

Of course, there were also plenty of celebrity presenters—including Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, Jonathan Van Ness and Lenny Kravitz—as well as the honorees. Swift took home the trophy for Video of the Year, and Cardi B won Best Hip Hop. In addition, Joe Jonas, Kevin Jonas and Nick Jonas won the Moon Person for Best Pop, and Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus won Song of the Year.

Still, there were famous faces missing from the crowd. To see a few of the stars who were M.I.A. (and why), read on below:

2019 MTV VMAs: By the Numbers

Ariana Grande: Even though the "Thank U, Next" star was tied with Swift for most nominations of the night—and ended up winning Artist of the Year—she wasn't able to attend the big award show. The 26-year-old singer is currently on tour. Over the weekend, she made an emotional return to Manchester for Pride. She's also set to perform in Paris today.

Billie Eilish: The "Bad Guy" artist was another major winner of the night. Not only did she win in the Best New Artist category, but she was also named Push Artist of the Year. However, like Grande, the 17-year-old star was unable to attend due to her tour schedule. In fact, the celeb is scheduled to perform in Russia for the next few days.


BTS: The boy band made history on Monday by becoming the first winner of the Best K-Pop category. However, the singers didn't actually attend the ceremony to collect the award. Why? Earlier this month, the group announced the members are taking a "period of rest" so they can "recharge," "present themselves anew as musicians and creators" and have the "chance to enjoy the ordinary lives of young people in their 20s." Some also wondered if their absence had anything to do with the controversy surrounding the category.

Demi Lovato: The "Sorry Not Sorry" star didn't give an exact reason for her absence; however, she hinted that she's working on something new.

"Okay, I can't tell you guys what I'm doing today (you'll find out super soon tho) but it's making me SO HAPPY, I'm having SO MUCH FUN and I can't stop laughing. Now, go come up with your crazy theories as to what it might be," she wrote on Instagram.

While Lovato added that she "skipped the VMAs for a reason," she also admitted she just hates award shows. Now, it looks like the mystery might be solved. On Tuesday, E! News confirmed the singer is set to play a character named Jenny on Will & Grace.


Priyanka Chopra: Sophie Turner and Danielle Jonas cheered on their hubbies at the award show; however, their fellow J-Sister wasn't able to make it. A source told E! News the actress is currently working on a new movie.

Drake: The 32-year-old rapper was nominated in several categories, including Song of the Year for "In My Feelings." However, he was M.I.A. during the show. Drake didn't reveal why he missed the ceremony—although, he seemed to be a little busy. The artist dropped his music video for "Money in the Grave" on Monday. He also shared a picture of himself standing in front of a score board with the numbers nine and six in the background. Some fans wondered if this was a clue that new music might be on the way.

Kanye West: It's been 10 years since the 42-year-old rapper interrupted Swift's acceptance speech at the 2009 VMAs. So, many viewers were wondering if the two would reunite at the show. However, the "Stronger" star was nowhere to be seen. West's whereabouts weren't specifically known. Although, he was spotted in Ohio over the weekend.

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