The Wildest, Most Memorable MTV VMAs Moments Ever
The MTV Video Music Awards always bring the drama. (We're STILL dying over Nicki Minaj's now-infamous "What's Good" line from 2015, and we'll never get over the Kanye West-Taylor Swift debacle from 2009.) Take a look back at some of the most jaw-dropping moments from the show to date. (Photos via Kevin Winter/MTV1415/Getty Images for MTV + Christopher Polk/Getty + Kevin Winter/Getty + Scott Gries/ImageDirect)
Madonna performs at the first-ever VMAs (1984). Long before Britney Spears danced with a snake and Miley Cyrus twerked in latex, Madonna set tongues wagging with her 1984 performance of "Like a Virgin." After popping out of a wedding cake, the singer — dressed in a sexy bridal-inspired getup — rolled around on the ground for a *very* steamy rendition of her hit tune. It was the first of many outrageous moments to come on the VMAs. (Photo via Ebet Roberts/Redferns)
Fiona Apple uses her voice (1997). One might have gathered that Apple was a firecracker simply by listening to the lyrics of her debut LP, Tidal, but it was her 1997 VMAs acceptance speech for Best New Artist that made the world sit up and take note. Rather than giving the traditional "thank you" speech, Apple launched into a tirade about the facade of fame. "I'm gonna use this opportunity the way that I want to use it," she began. "What I want to say is, everyone out there that's watching, everyone that's watching this world, this world is bullsh*t. And you shouldn't model your life about what you think we think is cool and what we're wearing and what we're saying and everything. Go with yourself." She closed with this: "It's just stupid that I'm in this world, but you're all very cool to me, so thank you very much." (Photo via Vinnie Zuffante/Getty)
Lil' Kim gets a lift from a legend (1999). The look on Mary J. Blige's face says it all! When Lil' Kim showed up to the 1999 VMAs with one of her breasts covered only by a purple pasty, her co-presenter Diana Ross reached out to cop a feel, giving the rapper's breast a gentle shake in a move that was instantly seared into our minds forever. (Photo via Scott Gries/ImageDirect)
Britney Spears strips down (2000). Spears showed everyone she was no longer a girl but all woman at the 2000 VMAs, when she ripped off a black suit to reveal a nude, sequined bodysuit underneath. Other stars have worn sparkly nude bodysuits since, but Spears' performance will always be our favorite. (Photo via Scott Gries/Getty)
Rage Against the Machine rages on the scaffolding (2000). Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford didn't need Twitter or a microphone to voice his displeasure over his band's loss to Limp Bizkit for Best Rock Video. He proved that actions speak louder than words when he began literally climbing the walls — er, scaffolding — during Fred Durst's speech. He reportedly spent the night in jail as a result. (Photo via Dave Hogan/Getty)
Britney Spears performs "I'm a Slave for You" (2001). We didn't think anything could top Spears' glitter bodysuit striptease from 2000, but the very next year, she proved us wrong with an equally if not more shocking performance of "I'm a Slave 4 U." She was joined onstage by a very special guest — a live albino Burmese python. Spears draped the then-20-pound creature (who was still alive and well as of 2016) around her neck while she danced her way through the duration of the number. (Photo via Scott Gries/ImageDirect)
Michael Jackson accepts an imaginary award (2002). Britney Spears brought the King of Pop onstage to wish him a happy 44th birthday in 2002, but he misunderstood what they were celebrating. Having heard her refer to him as the "artist of the millennium," Jackson mistook the birthday wishes for a very prestigious award, taking his place onstage to accept. The Artist of the Millennium Award didn't exist, but who's to say he wouldn't have won it if it did? (Photo via Scott Gries/ImageDirect)
Madonna performs with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera (2003). We were elated to see the Queen of Pop onstage with the next generation of divas — especially when Spears and Aguilera came out in full "Like a Virgin" getups — but NOTHING could've prepared us for the shocking double smooch that occurred as Madge passed the proverbial torch. (Photo via Kevin Kane/Getty)
Kelly Clarkson redefines singin' in the rain (2005). During her 2005 performance of "Since U Been Gone," Kelly Clarkson belted the high notes and head-banged under a shower of pouring water. She made it look fun, but it couldn't have been all that fun to set up — the singer reportedly used 3,000 gallons of water and several thousand feet of tubing for the stunt. (Photo via Kevin Winter/Getty)
Kanye West interrupts Taylor Swift (2009). No VMAs moment has reverberated more in recent years than when West robbed Swift of her time to shine after her win for Best Female Video. In the middle of her acceptance speech, West rushed the stage and stole the microphone in an ill-timed attempt to give props to Beyoncé. "Yo, Taylor, I'm really happy for you," he began. "I'mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!" Though the two publicly made up at the 2015 VMAs, where Swift presented West with the Video Vanguard Award, all the bad feelings between them were dredged up once more in 2016, when West's lyrics about Swift in his song "Famous" sparked a new feud — this time involving Kim Kardashian, too. (Photo via Christopher Polk/Getty)
Beyoncé reveals her pregnancy (2011). It only took the unbuttoning of her coat and a rub of her tummy for Bey to cause a frenzy at the 2011 VMAs. The singer gave a showstopping performance of "Love on Top" before offering the crowd a not-so-subtle clue about Blue Ivy's impending arrival. (Photo via Kevin Winter/Getty)
Miley Cyrus grinds on Robin Thicke (2013). Cyrus has toned down her image in recent months, but back in 2013, when she took the VMAs stage with Robin Thicke, she was all about shock and awe. From the moment Thicke joined her for their, ahem, rousing rendition of "Blurred Lines," Cyrus was in rare form, licking the singer's neck and twerking on him as he sang. (Photo via Neilson Barnard/Getty)
Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj make up onstage (2015). Drama started brewing before the 2015 VMAs even started. Minaj, upset that her "Anaconda" video had been snubbed for Video of the Year, tweeted: "If your video celebrated women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for video of the year." Swift, whose "Bad Blood" video was nominated, took the words to heart, replying that she had done nothing but love and support the rapper, and that it wasn't like Minaj to pit women against each other. Minaj said that she hadn't meant any shade toward Swift, but that the singer should speak on the issue at hand, and the two seemed to be headed for a full-blown feud. Come VMAs night, though, the ladies were not only NOT feuding but joining forces. After Minaj performed "Trini Dem Girls," they launched into an ironic rendition of "Bad Blood." That's one we didn't see coming! (Photo via Kevork Djansezian/Getty)
Nicki Minaj calls out Miley Cyrus (2015). It was a battle of the ‘tudes when Minaj took the stage at the 2015 VMAs to accept her award for Best Hip Hop Video. Though the rapper had cleared up any "Bad Blood" with Taylor Swift, she still had unfinished business with host Cyrus. "Back to… this b*tch that had a lot to say about me the other day in the press," she sniped. "Miley, what's good!?" Days prior to the incident, Cyrus had apparently sparked Minaj's ire when she offered up her opinion on the Taylor/Nicki feud to the New York Times: "If you do things with an open heart and you come at things with love, you would be heard and I would respect your statement. But I don't respect your statement because of the anger that came with it… you made it about you. Not to sound like a b*tch, but that's like, 'Eh, I didn't get my VMA.'" The "Malibu" singer then quipped, "What I read sounded very Nicki Minaj, which, if you know Nicki Minaj, is not too kind. It's not very polite." After Minaj confronted her onstage, Cyrus' aired, censored response seemed "polite" enough. But unedited footage showed her firing back, "Hey, we're all in this industry, we all do interviews, and we all know how they manipulate sh*t. Nicki, congratu-f*cking-lations." Awkward! (Photo via Kevin Winter/MTV1415/Getty Images for MTV)
Rihanna dodges Drake's kiss (2016). Drake declared his love for Rihanna while presenting her with the coveted Video Vanguard Award, sharing how they met on the set of her "Pon de Replay" video and waxing poetic about her body of work. "She's someone I've been in love with since I was 22 years old," he gushed as Rihanna rolled her eyes. After handing her the award, he went in for a kiss, which she artfully dodged. Her body language clearly didn't lie: They broke up shortly after. (Photo via Michael Loccisano/Getty)
What VMAs moment is your favorite? Let us know over @BritandCo.
What VMAs moment is your favorite? Let us know over @BritandCo.
(Photo via Scott Gries/ImageDirect)
Nicole is the weekend editor for Brit + Co who loves bringing you all the latest buzz. When she's not busy typing away into the wee hours, you can usually find her canoodling with her fur babies, rooting around in a bookstore, or rocking out at a concert of some sort (Guns N' Roses forever!). Check out all her latest musings and past work at nicolebjean.com.