Rihanna is the only one of the three officially listed to attend on the MTV web site, though E! reports that a Staples Centers seating chart shows all three sitting in the same row. That could make things interesting, as Drake and Brown were involved in a nightclub face-off in June that involved flying bottles and ice. Both are nominated for multiple awards. (And both have said the fight was not between them but people who were with them or near them.)
And Brown, you may recall, used to date Rihanna but then beat her so badly she could not attend the 2009 Grammy awards. Brown pleaded guilty and received five years of probation, but the two have kept in touch and even collaborated on a song this year.
Expect a lot of camera pans to the group.
And you can expect a lot of screaming when they show the trailer for "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part II," starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner. With any luck there could be to wildly awkward reunions Thursday night.
Up on stage, actor/comedian Kevin Hart will handle the hosting duties, with the party kicking off at 8 p.m. ET (red carpet coverage starts at 7 p.m. ET). MTV moved up the show's start an hour so that things could wrap up before President Barack Obama takes the stage at the Democratic National Convention to accept his party's nomination.
Hart took the stage at last year's show, delivering a brief stand-up set about how stupid it was that MTV had no host that year, and sharing some of the jokes he might've used if he had been host. Apparently the network was impressed.
Rihanna will open the evening's festivities with a performance alongside A$SAP Rocky. Among the other performers at this year's show are MTV stalwarts Nicky Minaj--with a secret guest in tow, Lil' Wayne, Green Day, Alicia Keys, Pink, Rihanna and Taylor Swift. No word on Beyonce -- who famously announced her pregnancy at last year's show -- or Lady Gaga, an awards show favorite.
The awards, which can sometimes be beside the point at the VMAs, feature Rihanna, Drake and Kanye West lead all others with five nominations apiece, though two of West's are for collaborations with Jay-Z.
As always, the show will also feature new performers, including R&B breakout star Frank Ocean, rapper 2 Chainz, the British boy band One Direction and South Korean rap star PSY, the man behind the insanely catchy "Gangnam Style."
In the running for Video of the Year are Drake, Gotye, M.I.A., defending champ Katy Perry and Rihanna. But the race really boils down to Drake's "Take Care" versus Katy Perry's "Wide Awake," if nominations in the other categories--editing, directing, cinematography--are any guide.
Then again, Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" won best art direction, editing and cinematography last year, but lost the big prize to Katy Perry's "Firework," so it may be best not read too much into the nominations.
Presenting the awards will be 2 Chainz, Ke$ha, The Wanted, "Celeste And Jesse Forever" co-stars Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg, Miley Cyrus, Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, and the Fierce Five of the gold medal winning U.S. Women's Gymnastics team.