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These 14 Musicians Defied VMAs' Best New Artist Loss And Went On To Achieve Massive Success

The VMAs are nearly here! On Tuesday, the awards show that honors the best in music videos will take place in Newark, New Jersey, hosted by none other than last year's cohost, Nicki Minaj.

A closeup of Nicki Minaj onstage in a satin gown

Last year, she hosted alongside LL Cool J and Jack Harlow. This time, though, she's emceeing solo.

Jeff Kravitz / Getty Images for MTV/Paramount Global

Nicki and the VMAs have a long history. She's received seven awards, including last year's Video Vanguard, and has been nominated for many, many more. Given the love the VMAs have showed her over the years, it might come as a surprise that she didn't win her first nomination in 2010 for Best New Artist.

Nicki Minaj on the VMA red carpet
Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic

In fact, Nicki is among several hugely popular musicians who lost Best New Artist at the VMAs over the years. Call it a blessing in disguise or just the reality of some equally talented competitors, but these 14 musicians (including Nicki) who lost prove that missing out on some feats early in your career doesn't have to hold you back.

FYI, the VMAs have over the years oscillated from honoring a new artist for a single video and honoring a new artist for all their musical work in one year. This is why you'll see a specific music video named alongside an artist in their nomination while nominees in other years are just designated by their name.

1.Lil Nas X (2019)

Closeup of Lil Nas X
Jim Spellman / FilmMagic

Who won: Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish

Other nominees: Ava Max, H.E.R., Lizzo, and Rosalía

Rich Fury / Getty Images for RADIO.COM

2.SZA (2017)

Aaron J. Thornton / Getty Images

Who won: Khalid


Other nominees: Noah Cyrus, Kodak Black, Julia Michaels, and Young M.A

Jason Laveris / FilmMagic

3.Sam Smith for "Stay with Me" (2014)

Sam Smith
Pa Images / PA Images via Getty Images

Who won: Fifth Harmony for "Miss Movin' On"

Fifth Harmony holding their Moon Man award

Other nominees: 5 Seconds of Summer for "She Looks So Perfect," Charli XCX for "Boom Clap," and ScHoolboy Q for "Man of the Year"

Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic

4.The Weeknd for "Wicked Games" (2013)

The Weeknd
C Flanigan / FilmMagic

Who won: Austin Mahone for "What About Love"

Austin Mahone poses for photos with his award

Other nominees: Iggy Azalea for "Work," Twenty One Pilots for "Holding on to You," and Zedd (featuring Foxes) for "Clarity"

Doug Peters - Pa Images / PA Images via Getty Images

5.Frank Ocean for "Swim Good" (2012)

Frank Ocean
C Flanigan / WireImage

Who won: One Direction for "What Makes You Beautiful"

One Direction posing for photos backstage with their VMAs

Other nominees: Carly Rae Jepsen for "Call Me Maybe," fun. (featuring Janelle Monáe) for "We Are Young," and The Wanted for "Glad You Came"

Jeffrey Mayer / WireImage

6.Nicki Minaj (featuring Sean Garrett) for "Massive Attack" (2010)

Nicki Minaj
Gregg Deguire / FilmMagic

Who won: Justin Bieber (featuring Ludacris) for "Baby"

Justin Bieber holds up his award

Other nominees: Broken Bells for "The Ghost Inside," Jason Derulo for "In My Head," and Ke$ha for "Tik Tok"

Pa Images / PA Images via Getty Images

7.Drake for "Best I Ever Had" (2009)

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Who won: Lady Gaga for "Poker Face"

Lady Gaga smiles as she holds her award

Other nominees: 3OH!3 for "Don't Trust Me," Kid Cudi for "Day 'n' Nite," and Asher Roth for "I Love College"

Pa Images / PA Images via Getty Images

8.Taylor Swift for "Teardrops on My Guitar" (2008)

Taylor Swift
Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

Who won: Tokio Hotel for "Ready, Set, Go!"

Tokio Hotel

Other nominees: Miley Cyrus for "7 Things," Katy Perry for "I Kissed a Girl," and Jordin Sparks (featuring Chris Brown) for "No Air"

Ian West - Pa Images / PA Images via Getty Images

9.Amy Winehouse (2007)

Amy Winehouse
Rune Hellestad - Corbis / Corbis via Getty Images

Who won: Gym Class Heroes

Gym Class Heroes

Other nominees: Lily Allen, Peter Bjorn and John, and Carrie Underwood

Robyn Beck / AFP via Getty Images

10.Rihanna for "SOS" (2006)

Closeup of Rihanna
Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

Who won: Avenged Sevenfold for "Bat Country"

Avenged Sevenfold

Other nominees: Angels & Airwaves for "The Adventure," James Blunt for "You're Beautiful," Chris Brown (featuring Juelz Santana) for "Run It!," and Panic! at the Disco for "I Write Sins Not Tragedies"

Patrick Mcmullan / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

11.John Legend for "Ordinary People" (2005)

John Legend
Lawrence Lucier / FilmMagic

Who won: The Killers for "Mr. Brightside"

The Killers

Other nominees: Ciara (featuring Missy Elliott) for "1,2 Step," The Game for "Dreams," and My Chemical Romance for "Helena"

J. Merritt / FilmMagic

12.Kelly Clarkson for "Miss Independent" (2003)

Kelly Clarkson
Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

Who won: 50 Cent for "In da Club"

50 Cent onstage holding multiple awards in his arms

Other nominees: The All-American Rejects for "Swing, Swing," Evanescence (featuring Paul McCoy) for "Bring Me to Life," Sean Paul for "Get Busy," and Simple Plan for "Addicted"

Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

13.Lenny Kravitz for "Let Love Rule" (1990)

Lenny Kravitz
Gie Knaeps / Getty Images

Who won: Michael Penn for "No Myth"

Michael Penn onstage playing the guitar

Other nominees: Bell Biv DeVoe for "Poison," The Black Crowes for "Jealous Again," Jane Child for "Don't Wanna Fall in Love," Alannah Myles for "Black Velvet," and Lisa Stansfield for "All Around the World"

Clayton Call / Redferns

14.And finally, Whitney Houston for "How Will I Know" (1986)

Whitney Houston
Mediapunch / MediaPunch via Getty Images

Who won: A-ha for "Take On Me"

A-ha sitting on the ground in a promo shot

Other nominees: The Hooters for "And We Danced," Pet Shop Boys for "West End Girls," and Simply Red for "Holding Back the Years"

Brian Rasic / Getty Images

Be sure to tune in to the 2023 VMAs, airing live from New Jersey’s Prudential Center on Tuesday, Sept. 12th at 8 PM ET/PT on MTV. You can catch all of our coverage of the show here.

A live hosted simulcast will air on UniMás at 8 PM ET/PT with an encore to follow on Univision at 11:30 PM ET/PT, making it available to the most global audience in VMA history. Univision’s Alejandra Espinoza will host exclusive live in-show segments throughout the broadcast.

The VMAs will also be simulcast across MTV sister networks BET, BET Her, CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV2, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, Pop, TVLand & VH1. The 2023 VMAs pre-show will air at 6:30-8:00 PM ET/PT. NLE Choppa and Sabrina Carpenter are set to perform during the 90-minute event, hosted by award-winning rap star Saweetie with Nessa, Dometi Pongo, and Kevan Kenney.