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Alicia Keys, Normani added to MTV VMA lineup, Lorde explains why she pulled out

Normani and Alicia Keys have joined the start-studded lineup of the 2021 MTV VMAs — and Lorde has now explained why she pulled out of the show last week.

Normani will perform her new hit “Wild Side” on the show, marking her first time on the VMAs since 2019, when she performed “Motivation” and took home the Moonperson for Best R&B, for her single “Waves.”  Alicia, meanwhile, will debut her new single, “LALA,” featuring Swae Lee.  Her performance will be backed by “spectacular city views,” according to a press release.

Meanwhile, Billboard reports that in a message to fans, Lorde explains that she was “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.”

“You know I can’t make something less than outstanding for you guys. I hope you understand,” she adds. “There will be many more TV performances, don’t you worry.”

This is the second time that Lorde’s VMA performance has been unexpectedly impacted: In 2017, she was so ill with the flu that she wasn’t able to sing, and instead performed an interpretive dance to “Homemade Dynamite.”

In other MTV news, the channel has confirmed to Billboard that for the second year in a row, no Video Vanguard trophy will be presented.  It hasn’t been presented every year, but last year’s omission of the trophy broke a seven-year streak that saw the honor going to the likes of Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, Pink, Rihanna and Missy Elliott. Instead, this year’s big award is the Global Icon Award, which will be presented to Foo Fighters.

The 2021 MTV VMAs, hosted by Doja Cat, air Sunday night live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY at 8 p.m ET/PT.

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