MTV just announced the nominees for the 2018 Video Music Awards on IGTV and I'm already panicking over narrowing down my vote for Video of the Year!
This year's nominees include the breakout stars of the past year and legends who continue to slay the game. Before you cast your vote, here's all you need to know about each eye-popping visual up for the night's biggest honor.
"No Tears Left to Cry," Ariana Grande
Ariana returned with new music in April following her 2016 album Dangerous Woman and taking a hiatus after the Manchester bombing at her concert in 2017. Looking for a comeback that would address her feelings after the incident while not shying away from pop music, "No Tears Left to Cry" does everything at once. With over 400 million views since being uploaded in April, the music video paints a portrait of the upside-down world Ariana has been living in for the past year.
"Finesse (Remix)," Bruno Mars feat. Cardi B
As if the remix of "Finesse" wasn't good enough already, the music video brought the nineties visuals I always needed to the track. The video brings back the vibe and aesthetics of The Fly Girls, the dance troupe on In Living Color, and features a vintage 4:3 aspect ratio to bring me back to my childhood. This video will truly never get old, as evidenced by its 450 million views since being published in January.
"Havana," Camila Cabello feat. Young Thug
The telenovela-style music video for Camila's "Havana" gives all the drama you could fit into six minutes. There's dancing, romance, fighting and a battle between Camila's inner introvert and bold extrovert. The "Havana" video also scores more star power with its features of social media stars Lele Pons and LeJuan James and actor Noah Centineo. There's nearly 650 million views on the video so far and I've got no plans to stop watching.
"APES**T," The Carters
Just a month after coming out, "APES**T" has scored a Video of the Year nomination and anyone with eyes can see why. Beyoncé and Jay Z got permission to film the video inside legendary Paris museum The Louvre, and still managed to keep the masterpiece a secret until its release. The music video for "APES**T" is a stunning display of two of the most powerful musicians on the planet amongst art history itself. That's how it scored 75 million views in just a month.
"This is America," Childish Gambino
Nothing in music this year struck a chord as quickly as Childish Gambino's "This Is America" video. A dark look at the realities of gun violence and American culture--and how they particularly impact black people in this country--"This Is America" is a chilling work of art for an unfortunate reality of life in 2018. After premiering the song on Saturday Night Live, the video immediately became a center of conversation in pop culture and has amassed nearly 350 million views since.
"God's Plan," Drake
Instead of spending the video's budget of almost $1 million on the actual production, Drake took the money for "God's Plan" and spent it on helping everyday people. It's an incredibly heartwarming video that literally made me cry happy tears for all six minutes. "God's Plan" is such a hit that it never needed a flashy concept to make it succeed, so the fact that Drake chose to make the video charitable makes it that much better -- and the 714 million views agree.