MTV’s pop culture shitshow known as the Video Music Awards is arguably the greatest reality show ever created, and the cameras roll to the sounds of self-absorption once more this Sunday night, live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Apparently Somerville’s Davis Square Theatre was booked; maybe next year, Boston Globe. This year’s performer lineup is the real headline grabber: Lady Gaga will aim to reclaim her throne as the Queen of Pop, and Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, Kanye West, Drake, Bruno Mars and others add to a very “now” slate. Then there’s the whole Daft Punk fiasco that drew the wrath of The Colbert Report and the N*Sync rumors, which haven’t even needed a faux kidnapping to stay on everyone’s minds. MTV wants/needs/expects/generates buzz, so you know some #crazyassshit will happen. Predicting what could go down at the VMAs is anyone’s guess — Kanye interrupting Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’ hologram during an unannounced TLC reunion? — so we’re gonna stick to predicting the award winners. Because, you may have forgotten, this is actually an awards show for music videos, and it’s MTV’s terrain until YouTube says “fuck it” and just starts hosting their own party. Here’s who we think will win a Moonman on Sunday, and I’ll keep track with a live tweeting session during the VMAs, which you can follow along @vMichaelv. Also, in case you’re wondering, Miley Cyrus has already licked one. ARTIST TO WATCH Austin Mahone “What About Love” Iggy Azalea “Work” The Weeknd “Wicked Games” Twenty one pilots “Holding On To You” Zedd with Foxes “Clarity” WHO WILL WIN: Zedd with Foxes WHO SHOULD WIN: The Weeknd THOUGHTS: That Zedd track was more than just Evolution 101.7’s calling card, it was one of the biggest songs of the year and gives MTV a fresh face to pimp in a genre that the kids seem to really be into. We think the Weeknd has the brightest future here, as Trilogy is an incredible exploration of post-r&B, but it’s 2013 who gives a shit about tomorrow? BEST SONG OF THE SUMMER OneDirection “Best Song Ever” Miley Cyrus “We Can’t Stop Selena Gomez “Come And Get It” Robin Thicke and Pharrell “Blurred Lines” Daft Punk “Get Lucky” Calvin Harris Featuring Ellie Goulding “I Need Your Love” WHO WILL WIN: Miley Cyrus “We Can’t Stop” WHO SHOULD WIN: Robin Thicke “Blurred Lines” THOUGHTS: This one is tougher than Miley’s chewtoy. The Song of the Summer has been a two-horse race between Thicke and Daft Punk, but it feels like MTV will punk us all by going with Miley, who did, in fact, release the best video of the summer. We still can’t un-see it. BEST POP VIDEO Bruno Mars “Locked Out Of Heaven” Fun. “Carry On” Justin Timberlake “Mirrors” Miley Cyrus “We Can’t Stop” Selena Gomez “Come And Get It” WHO WILL WIN: Bruno Mars WHO SHOULD WIN: Justin Timberlake THOUGHTS: Mars performed at last year’s VMAs and blew the roof off the Staples Center, and a month later, with an assist from Sting, he dropped his biggest hit. This former square-peg-in-round-hole suddenly fits MTV like a glove. True story: A few months ago I was at the airport and saw Mars on the cover of Rolling Stone and thought it was Lenny Kravitz. BEST HIP HOP VIDEO A$AP Rocky featuring 2 Chainz, Drake & Kendrick Lamar “Fucking Problems” Drake “Started From The Bottom” J. Cole featuring Miguel “Power Trip” Kendrick Lamar “Swimming Pools (Drank)” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis “Can’t Hold Us” WHO WILL WIN: Kendrick Lamar WHO SHOULD WIN: Kendrick Lamar THOUGHTS: We all want #tweetable content, and Lamar going on stage to follow-up his infamous “Control” verse in front of a room full of rap royalty is just too much to ignore. Drake might have had a chance before he released that “Nothing Was The Same” album art, but this is Lamar’s game, and if he puts everyone on blast while standing at the podium, we’ll be talking about it for weeks. BEST MALE VIDEO Bruno Mars “Locked Out Of Heaven” Ed Sheeran “Lego House” Justin Timberlake “Mirrors” Kendrick Lamar “Swimming Pools (Drank)” Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell “Blurred Lines” WHO WILL WIN: Robin Thicke WHO SHOULD WIN: Robin Thicke THOUGHTS: No Song of the Summer from Alan Thicke’s kid, but this should suffice, allowing him, Pharrell, T.I., and the video’s models to bounce around the podium acting bored as fuck. Speaking of T.I., can we give him a Lifetime Achievement Award for “Whatever You Like”? Few hip-hop songs from the 2000s have held up so well. BEST FEMALE VIDEO Demi Lovato “Heart Attack” Miley Cyrus “We Can’t Stop” Pink featuring Nate Ruess “Just Give Me A Reason” Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko “Stay” Taylor Swift “I Knew You Were In Trouble” WHO WILL WIN: Miley Cyrus WHO SHOULD WIN: Miley Cyrus THOUGHTS: Have you seen this fucking video? It’s the apex of 2013’s pop music vortex. Maybe, maybe, Tay-Sway has a chance here, because she’s certainly the VMA’s current Belle of the Ball, but the song and video just aren’t enough to take down Cyrus’ parental-nightmare clip that’s the year’s best case for abstinence. BEST VIDEO WITH A SOCIAL MESSAGE Beyonce “I Was Here” Kelly Clarkson “People Like Us” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert “Same Love” Miguel “Candles In The Sun” Snoop Lion featuring Drake & Cori B. “No Guns Allowed” WHO WILL WIN: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis WHO SHOULD WIN: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis THOUGHTS: Who won’t win? Miguel, whose social message next year will be “Don’t get arrested for DUI.” But this category was created for Macklemore’s “Same Love”, was it not? Did it even exist last year? Regardless, any exposure for the Seattle rapper’s equality anthem is a great thing and there will be many 13-year-olds watching the show on TV who need this lesson. BEST COLLABORATION Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding “I Need Your Love” Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z “Suit & Tie” Pitbull featuring Christina Aguilera “Feel This Moment” Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell “Blurred Lines” WHO WILL WIN: Justin Timberlake & Jay Z WHO SHOULD WIN: Robin Thicke THOUGHTS: T.I. and Pharrell aren’t Jay Z. Plus JT needs to get up on stage and win something in case the N*Sync reunion goes horribly wrong. And by horribly wrong, we mean doesn’t include marionette strings. BEST ROCK VIDEO Fall Out Boy “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light EM Up)” Imagine Dragons “Radioactive” Mumford & Sons “I Will Wait” Thirty Seconds To Mars “Up In The Air” Vampire Weekend “Diane Young” WHO WILL WIN: Mumford & Sons WHO SHOULD WIN: Just fucking stab me. THOUGHTS: While it’s tough to resist getting Jordan Catalano some face time, chances are we further distort the definition of rock by allowing banjos and suspenders into the mix. Clearly, “Hopeless Wanderer” was released too late, but it doesn’t matter, it’s Mumford’s world. This is the worst Best Rock category in VMA history. Hip-hop is more rock than this. VIDEO OF THE YEAR Bruno Mars “Locked Out Of Heaven” Justin Timberlake “Mirrors” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis “Thrift Shop” Robin Thicke featuring TI and Pharrell “Blurred Lines” Taylor Swift “I Knew You Were Trouble” WHO WILL WIN: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis WHO SHOULD WIN: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis THOUGHTS: He’s on the cover of Rolling Stone, isn’t he? Macklemore’s haircut might be the mullet of our generation, but no doubt he penned one of its definable songs and we can hear it now as the VMAs credits roll. The only question is whether or not he hits up Urban Renewal next time in town.