Music · Workouts · Sep 13, 2021

Box to the Beat of these 2021 VMA-Nominated Artists with Liteboxer

On Sunday, September 12th the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) celebrated their 40th anniversary with big and bold performances and even bolder red carpet looks. The night was hosted by Doja Cat, the third woman of color ever to host or co-host the VMAs. She kept busy as host, performer, and nominee with plenty of outfit changes in between. 

Notable performances from the night included Justin Bieber, Olivia Rodrigo, Lil Nas X, Camila Cabello, Normani and Teyana Taylor, and Kacey Musgraves. The Foo Fighters also put on a show as 2021 Global Icon winners. 

The artists with the most nominations this year were Justin Bieber with seven nominations and Megan Thee Stallion with six. Artists Billie Eilish, BTS, Doja Cat, Drake, Giveon, Lil Nas X, and Olivia Rodrigo each earned five nominations. 

The big winners of the night were Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo, and BTS. Each walked away with three coveted MTV Moon Person awards, uniquely designed this year by American artist Kehinde Wiley. 



Learn more about some of the top VMA-nominated artists from the night and where you can punch it out with them in your next Liteboxer workout: 

Olivia Rodrigo

For several months now it seems the world has been caught up in the breakup drama of Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour album. The VMAs reflected the young star’s rising popularity with five nominations and three wins:

    • Wins:
      • Song of the Year – “drivers license”
      • Best New Artist
      • Push Performance of the Year - "drivers license"
    • Nominations:
      • Artist of the Year
      • Best Pop Song – "good 4 u"

Olivia also marked her first time at the VMAs with a performance of “good 4 u”. Plenty of fans sang along to this coming-of-age angsty single as the young singer danced with disco balls and bright purple balloons in the background. 

The star’s rise to fame began with roles as Paige Olvera on the Disney Channel series Bizaardvark and Nini Salazar-Roberts on the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

After signing with Interscope and Geffen Records in 2020, she dropped her first studio album Sour on May 21, 2021. The album quickly topped the charts worldwide. The top single from the album, "Drivers License"broke two of Spotify’s world records with the most daily streams ever for a non-holiday song and as the first song in history to hit 80 million streams in 7 days. 

How you can box to this artist’s music on Liteboxer:  

  • Punch Track: "good 4 u" by Olivia Rodrigo



Ariana Grande

Although this pop queen didn’t walk away with any wins in this year’s VMAs, she was nominated for three categories including:

  • Artist of the Year
  • Best Pop Song – "positions" by Ariana Grande
  • Best Choreography – "34+35" by Ariana Grande, Choreography by: Brian Nicholson & Scott Nicholson

Like many of the other VMA-nominated artists, this pop star got her start in the industry at a young age. She was cast in a supporting role in the 2008 Broadway Musical 13. But her career really took off when she starred as Cat Valentine in the Nickelodeon series Victorious from 2010-2013 and the spinoff series Sam & Cat from 2013-2014. 

Thanks to her YouTube channel, Republic Records discovered the artist’s wide vocal range and unique pop and R&B sound. It wasn't long after signing with the studio that she debuted her first album Yours Truly in 2013. 

Ariana is the first solo artist to hold the top three spots on the Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously. She’s won numerous awards including two Grammy Awards, one Brit Award, two Billboard Music Awards, three American Music Awards, and 22 Guinness World Records. As for the VMAs, the pop artist has received 42 nominations and nine wins so far in her career. 

How you can box to this artist’s music on Liteboxer:

  • Punch Track: "positions" by Ariana Grande
  • 20 Min Pop + EDM bands with Lissa
  • 3 Song Sparring Ariana Grande with Lissa
  • 4 Song Sparring Pop with Chris
  • 10 Minute Express Pop with Jill

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber took the crown in this year’s VMAs with seven nominations, the most of any artist. He walked away with two wins for Best Pop Song and Artist of the Year. 

  • Wins:
    • Artist of the Year
    • Best Pop Song – "Peaches" by Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon
  • Nominations: 
    • Video of the Year – "POPSTAR" by DJ Khaled ft. Drake and starring Justin Bieber
    • Best Collaboration – "Peaches" by Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon
    • Best Direction – "POPSTAR" by DJ Khaled ft. Drake and starring Justin Bieber, Directed by: Julien Christian Lutz aka Director X
    • Best Cinematography – “Holy” by Justin Bieber ft. Chance The Rapper, Cinematography by Elias Talbot
    • Best Editing – "Peaches" by Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon, Editing by Mark Mayr, Vinnie Hobbs

This is Justin’s sixth VMA win out of 30 nominations so far in his career. The Canadian singer rose to fame as a young artist in 2008 with the release of his debut album My World in 2009. 

Growing up in the music industry has put the young pop idol through his fair share of highs and lows. But he’s managed to maintain a high level of success across multiple music genres including pop, hip hop, Latin, and even country. 

His most recent sixth studio album Justice debuted in 2021 with his latest and VMA-winning hit single, "Peaches". Justin returned to the VMA stage for the first time since 2015 with a performance of “Ghost” and “Stay” alongside rapper The Kid LAROI. 

How you can box to this artist’s music on Liteboxer:

  • Punch Track: “Hold On” by Justin Bieber
  • Punch Track: “Intentions” by Justin Bieber Feat. Quavo
  • Punch Track: “Sorry” by Justin Bieber
  • 4 Song Sparring Pop with Max
  • 10 Minute Express Pop with Max



Imagine Dragons

The Las Vegas pop-rock band Imagine Dragons received their sixth ever VMA nomination for their single “Follow You” from their fifth studio album, Mercury – Act 1. The song was nominated for Best Alternative Song but ultimately lost to Machine Gun Kelly and Blackbear’s "My Ex's Best Friend". 

The band consists of lead singer Dan Reynolds, guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben McKee, and drummer Daniel Platzman. They first started gaining popularity after the release of their single "It's Time" from their first studio album Night Visions in 2012. Rolling Stone dubbed their song “Radioactive” from the same album the “biggest rock hit of the year”.

The band has continued to put out popular albums and singles over the years. They've won three American Music Awards, nine Billboard Music Awards, one Grammy Award, one MTV Video Music Award, and one World Music Award. 

How you can box to this artist’s music on Liteboxer:

  • Punch Track: "Follow You" by Imagine Dragons
  • Punch Track: “Believer” by Imagine Dragons
  • Punch Track: “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons
  • 30-Minute Trainer Led with Chris
  • 3 Song Sparring Pop + Punk with Jill

Glass Animals

This British indie rock band was nominated for the first time at this year’s VMAs in two separate categories:

  • Best Alternative Song –  "Heat Waves" by Glass Animals
  • Best Visual Effects – "Tangerine" by Glass Animals, Visual Effects by: Ronan Fourreau

Although the group didn’t take home the win they have a lot to be proud of given “Heat Waves” is one of their biggest hits to date. The song is their fourth single from their third album Dreamland, released in August 2020. Not only is it the group’s first Billboard Hot 100 entry but it’s also placed first on the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2020. 

The group consists of childhood friends Dave Bayley, Joe Seaward, Ed Irwin-Singer, and Drew MacFarlane. Bayley wrote and produced all three of the band’s albums and pulled together “Heat Waves” late one night after a long day in the studio. 

How you can box to this artist’s music on Liteboxer: 

  • Punch Track: "Heat Waves" by Glass Animals

Experience more VMA-Nominated Artist Punch Tracks

Here are a few other 2021 VMA-nominated artists you can punch to today with Liteboxer’s Punch Tracks. Access them via the Quickplay tab of our Liteboxer iOS or Android app: 

  • “bad guy” by Billie Eilish
  • “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga
  • “Beautiful Mistakes” by Maroon 5, Megan Thee Stallion
  • “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd
  • “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga
  • “Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd
  • “Happier” by Marshmello, Bastille
  • “love race” by Machine Gun Kelly Feat. Kellin Quinn
  • “Money In The Grave” by Drake Feat. Rick Ross
  • “One More Night” by Maroon 5
  • “Royals” by Lorde
  • “Take My Breath” by The Weeknd 
  • “Team” by Lorde
  • “This Love” by Maroon 5
  • “Top (Remix)” by Fredo Bang Feat. Lil Durk
  • “You Only Live Twice” by Drake Feat. Lil Wayne, Rick Ross

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