The singer was to perform a song from her 'Solar Power' album, which was released last month.
"Due to a change in production elements, Lorde can no longer perform at this year’s show," read a statement tweeted by the VMAs handle last week. "We love Lorde and cannot wait for her to perform on the VMA stage in the future! 💛."
On Thursday, Lorde sent a newsletter to her fans explaining her cancellation, and insisting that she "can't make anything less than outstanding."
"I saw some people were very concerned about me pulling out of the VMAs, you're so sweet, I'm totally fine!" she wrote. "It's just that we were planning this insanely amazing many-bodied intimate dance performance, not fully understanding the (very necessary!) safety protocols that are in place, and the masking and distancing just meant it wasn't gonna be what I dreamed, and you know I can't make something less than outstanding for you guys."
"I hope you understand," Lorde's message continued. "There will be many more TV performances, don't you worry."
The 24-year-old musician last sang at the VMAs in 2017, and was previously announced as part of a lineup of performers for this year's event that included Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Doja Cat, Camila Cabello, Lil Nas X, Machine Gun Kelly and Olivia Rodrigo. She was expected to perform a song from her third album, Solar Power, which was released last month.
Though she's not performing at the VMAs, cinematographer Andrew Stroud is still nominated for Best Cinematography for Lorde's "Solar Power" music video.
Meanwhile, Bieber came out on top as this year's most-nominated artist. He received seven nods -- including Artist of the Year and Best Pop for "Peaches" -- followed closely behind by Megan Thee Stallion with six.
Other top contenders include Billie Eilish, BTS, Doja Cat, Drake, Giveon and Lil Nas X. Additionally, MTV PUSH artists Rodrigo, The Kid LAROI and 24kGoldn all received multiple first-time nominations.
The 2021 VMAs, hosted by Doja Cat, will air live from the Barclays Center in New York City on Sunday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.