Why Nicki Minaj, Lorde and More Stars Did Not Attend the 2021 MTV VMAs

While the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards were jam-packed with celebs and unforgettable appearances, a few notable stars were missing from the audience.

By Kisha Forde Sep 13, 2021 12:18 PMTags
Watch: 2021 MTV VMAs: By the Numbers

It was a star-studded night at the 2021 MTV VMAs—but some celebs were noticeably absent.

Lorde was among the artists missing from the Sept. 12 award show. On Sept. 3, the official Twitter account for the VMAs confirmed the "Royals" star be unable to perform this year "due to a change in production elements."

In a newsletter sent out to fans a few days later, the New Zealand singer-songwriter assured fans she was A-OK with the change. "I saw some people were very concerned about me pulling out of the VMAs, you're so sweet, I'm totally fine!" she wrote per Entertainment Tonight. "It's just that we were planning this insanely amazing many-bodied intimate dance performance, not fully understanding the (very necessary!) safety protocols that are in place, and the masking and distancing just meant it wasn't gonna be what I dreamed, and you know I can't make something less than outstanding for you guys."

Your Guide to the 2021 MTV VMAs

"I hope you understand," she added. "There will be many more TV performances, don't you worry." As fans may remember, Lorde last graced the VMAs stage four years ago, in 2017.

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Another star who was M.I.A.? Nicki Minaj. While the rapper wasn't announced in the original lineup, in a Sept. 9 tweet that's since been deleted, she wrote she had to drop out of her slated performance and would "explain why another day." Nicki's last VMA performance was over three years ago in 2018, when she also snagged the VMA Award for Best Hip Hop Video.

Christopher Polk/MTV1415/Getty Images

Fans also couldn't help but notice that Miley Cyrus wasn't there. More than eight years after she shook households everywhere with her memorable on-stage performance with Robin Thicke and six years after she hosted the star-studded night, the singer hinted to fans in advance that she would not be part of this year's festivities. Cyrus has been busy with a slew of projects around the same time as the awards night, and she suggested she'd spending the evening at home, posting a photo of herself relaxing in a bathtub underneath the words, "Me when my fans ask where I am on VMAs night."


To see all the stars who were in attendance and the winners from the big night, click here and here.

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