6 Things to watch for during the 2014 MTV VMAs: Beyonce, Taylor Swift and more

The producers of MTV”s annual Video Music Awards show often try a little too hard to be edgy and try to act like the video channel still represents the cutting edge in some way. Not this year. Sunday”s 2014 VMAs, which will air live on MTV from Los Angeles” Forum, look like a straight-ahead, mainstream, pop fare with performances from Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Charli XCX, Eminem, Nicki Minaj and Maroon 5, who, incredibly, are making their VMA performance debut.

Here are six things to expect from the Aug. 24 awards:

*Look for Taylor Swift to debut her new song, “Shake It Off.” She premiered the video for her latest tune -the first single from forthcoming album “1989”- via a Yahoo chat on Monday (18) Now we can see her perform it for the first time at the VMAs. The big question is how much of the video”s plot will she incorporate into her performance? Will it be ballerina Taylor or ’80s rapping Taylor or tweaking Taylor that shows up on Aug. 24 or a combo of all three? I predict she”ll play totally off her album”s title, “1989.”

*Beyonce will deliver the water cooler performance of the evening. She steals the spotlight now just by showing up, but given that Beyonce is the leading nominee with eight VMA nods and the recipient of this year”s Video Vanguard Award AND she seems to be into making cryptic statements from stage, expect her performance – which we hear is a solo one- to give us all something to discuss Monday morning. Will it be a nod to the ever-swirling divorce rumors or a hint at what”s next? Only Beyonce knows for now.

*Girls Run The World: We”ll have our official predictions on Friday, but this feels like a very female-centric VMAs,  between Bey and Iggy Azalea  leading nominations with eight each, the heat behind Sia”s “Chandelier,” performances by Azalea, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj… Move over, boys, the ladies have got something to say.

*5 Seconds of Summer will bring the all the girls to the yard. 5SOS is taking a break from opening for 1D to perform at the VMAs and it is the act”s chance to really prove that when it comes to numerically-named boy bands, they are more One Direction than 98 Degrees.

*Nicki Minaj will throw some shade at Iggy Azalea: She almost can”t help herself at this point. The question is how will she do it? We think she should have a tall, skinny white dancer who moves clunkily on  stage during her performance of “Anaconda.” That”s really the only chance she”ll get since Minaj is not up for any awards. As far as Azalea, she”ll probably be too busy collecting Moonmen to take any digs: she”s up for 8 awards. Looks like she”s already won the Minaj/Azalea VMA battle before the night even begins.

*This award show is for the girls: To expand on an earlier point, between all the female performers, 5SOS,  and “Pretty Little Liars”” Lucy Hale hosting the pre-show (no host has been named for the main telecast), this year”s VMAs seem squarely aimed at girls 12-to-18. Yes, there”s something there for the guys, with acts like Eminem appearing (and surprises not yet announced), but the demo for this show is your little sister. You”ll be able to hear the squeals all over the house.