VMA Exec Producer Jesse Ignjatovic Talks Aretha Franklin Tribute

No matter how many big shows a person might have attended, the sight of a major arena production being assembled still astonishes. On Friday morning, approximately 80 hours before MTV’s TK annual Video Music Awards begin, New York’s legendary Radio City Music Hall was in the process of being transformed: the stage was loaded with towering sets and light structures swooping overheard, a giant lighting rig covered approximately a third of the ceiling, 1,500 seats had been removed to expand the main stage or clear the way for other stages and camera platforms, and the venue’s iconic lobby was nearly completely filled with anvil cases; hundreds of staffers and technicians bustled everywhere while announcements crackled across the PA. Huge light structures loomed over the sides of the room and hung from the front of the balconies. (Head here for Variety’s exclusive look at the set of the 2018 VMAs.)

In the front rows of seats, placards for stars like Cardi B, Shawn Mendes, Millie Bobby Brown, Rita Ora, Logic, Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, Travis Scott and Kylie Jenner, Tiffany Hadish, Keegan Michael Key and Aerosmith (huh?) were in place, yet standing in one place for more than a couple of minutes guaranteed you’d be in the way of anything from a giant roadcase being pushed along by workers or a technician crawling under the stage at your feet.

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