The 2015 VMAs nominations have proven one thing — that Taylor Swift is in line for the throne. (I predict that she will be a kind and gentle ruler.) With nine nominations, the pop star leads the way in the race for those lil’ Moonman statues that’ll be given out Sunday, August 30 at 9/8c.
A lot of Swift’s homies are nominated, too. Pal Ed Sheeran has the second-most nominations, and there a few more of Tay’s besties sprinkled throughout the list, which was revealed on Tuesday (July 21). Kendrick Lamar, with four nominations of his own, is also sharing noms with Taylor for his “Bad Blood” remix.
Let’s take a look at how the VMA nominees are related to Taylor Swift, proving that this year’s show will probably just be a giant tea party with cookies and cats.
1. Ed Sheeran
Ed is one of Taylor’s closest collaborators. Not only did they write “Everything Has Changed” together off her Red album, but they’ve dueted on multiple occasions. They’re best buds who challenge each other to ice cream eating contests and sew customized cross stitch projects for each other. Ed’s videos for “Thinking Out Loud” and “Don’t” have garnered him six noms.
After Kanye West interrupted Taylor at the 2009 VMAs, Beyoncé was the one who offered up her acceptance speech time for Tay. Five years later, Bey was celebrating Swift’s 25th birthday with husband Jay Z in her NYC apartment. “It’s like, normal for everyone to love Beyoncé,” Swift said in a radio interview. “But I love her more than that amount, like more than the normal amount.” Fans are dying for a duet from them. Bey is up for five Moonmen for “7/11.”
3. Fall Out Boy
Taylor and Patrick Stump walked the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show catwalk together when they sang “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark” in July 2013. A few months later, she invited Stump to surprise fans on her Red Tour when they sang it again. Fall Out Boy is nominated for Best Rock Video for “Uma Thurman.”
4. Ellie Goulding
Taylor and Ellie are close friends. The British singer is featured as a member of her girl gang in the “Bad Blood” video. They’ve also performed “Anything Can Happen” together onstage. They’re constantly hanging out, and Ellie was even there when Taylor chopped off her hair. Ellie is nominated for “Love Me Like You Do” in the Best Female Category.
5. Kendrick Lamar
The mutual appreciation between these two stars is real. It started when Taylor lipsynced his “Backseat Freestyle.” He returned by rapping a little bit of her “Shake It Off” on the radio. Soon enough, he was laying down verses on “Bad Blood” and appearing by her side in the song’s video. “Shout out to Taylor Swift,” he told The Fader. “You can’t put great music in different genres. I enjoy great music outside of my own music all the time, so I definitely can see where she’s coming from when she says that she listens to the record, and it’s a great thing for her to acknowledge that and put that good energy out into the world like that.” Kendrick has four nominations of his own, and shares an additional nine noms with other artists.
6. Nicki Minaj
Once upon a time, just as Nicki Minaj was rocketing to stardom, Taylor Swift was obsessed with her song “Super Bass.” She and friend Selena Gomez would rap all the words to the song (yes, they had it memorized) in interviews until, finally, Nicki and Taylor performed the hit together in 2011. Nicki is chasing Moonmen in the Best Hip-Hop Video, Best Female Video and Best Collaboration categories.
7. The Weeknd
Just recently, The Weeknd joined her on the 1989 World Tour to sing “Can’t Feel My Face.” They met at the Grammys after-party, where she told him how beautiful he was for 15 minutes, apparently. He’s up for Best Male Video for “Earned It” and Best Collaboration with Ariana Grande for “Love Me Harder.”
8. Nick Jonas
Nick Jonas is another friendship that goes way back. Taylor briefly dated his brother Joe, and was featured on their “Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience” after she took the stage with them in 2008. She also interviewed them on the 2008 VMAs red carpet. Recently, she brought out a solo Nick to sing “Jealous” on tour. He’s nominated for Best Male Video for “Chains.”
9. Vance Joy
The Australian singer is the opener for Taylor 1989 World Tour, and now he’s nominated in the Artist to Watch category. She covered his song “Riptide” on piano in 2014.
10. Ariana Grande
Ariana and Taylor definitely shared some love backstage at the 2014 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and have remained pals, most recently when Taylor backed her up for her feminist Twitter post. Our girl Ari is nominated twice in the Best Collaboration category — once for “Bang Bang” with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj, and once with The Weeknd for “Love Me Harder.”
11. Justin Bieber
Bizzle and Swizzle rose to fame in the same era, and we’ve grown with them. They performed “Baby” onstage together in 2011 and were the subject of that faceswap meme (remember?!?). He’s been on and off with her best friend Selena Gomez for four years. Bieber is nominated with his friends Skrillex and Diplo for their Jack Ü song “Where Are U Now” in three professional categories.
The 2015 MTV Video Music Awards will air live from L.A.’s Microsoft Theater on MTV and MUCH at 9e/6p, on Sunday, August 30.