It’s that time of year again. The votes have been counted, the candidates selected, and America’s finest are lined up and ready to put on a fabulous show. No, we are not talking about the U.S. Elections as many may wish…we are talking MTV’s Video Music Awards. As the annual tradition goes, hosts, presenters, and entertainers push the bar in ways that they never would at other shows, like the Grammy Awards.
Check out some history behind MTV’s moon man awards.
Madonna Set the Bar
At the first VMA show in 1984, pop singer Madonna rolled around on the stage in a bustier and wedding dress singing her then new song which turned into a global hit, “Like A Virgin.” While the risque performance was impromptu, it gave the singer and the awards show the ratings needed to become legendary.
Madonna explained to Billboard that she was nervous to perform, and when a white stiletto fell off, she decided to go with it.
“So I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just pretend I meant to do this,’ and I dove on the floor and I rolled around. And, as I reached for the shoe, the dress went up. And the underpants were showing.”
After the controversial but historical performance, Madge performed several more times at the VMAs, with each being a bit more surprising. Fast forward to 2003 where she shared a dance (and kiss) with Britney Spears and Christina Aguillera.
Prince Wore Butt-less Pants
At the 1991 VMAs, it was the infamous Prince and the New Power Generation that set the bar even higher in aims to stun the younger MTV audience. The all-star performer donned bottomless chaps and gyrated around the stage as he sang, “Gett Off.”
Prince’s performance was so sexy that even talk show host extraordinaire, Arsenio Hall, seemed speechless after the music stopped.
Britney Spears + A Snake
A decade later, Britney Spears took fans a little higher. Performing her hit song, “Slave 4 U” — which, by the way, was a major change from her Mickey Mouse Clubhouse days — the Louisiana native made some history as she danced with a python. Yes, a real one.
But, when asked by E! about her choice 15 years ago, Spears stated, “It’s insane! Why did I do that?”
Lady Gaga Wears The Beef
In 2010, Lady Gaga, who is no stranger to pulling off groundbreaking performances that shock viewers, took a stand by wearing a meat laced outfit to the VMAs.
Later, she revealed her reasons to host Ellen DeGeneres, “If we don’t stand up for what we believe in and if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bone. And I am not a piece of meat.”
Her attire, made of 40 pounds of beef, has been preserved and is now on display at the Rock and Roll hall of Fame.
Kanye West Interrupted Taylor Swift
Of course, no one will ever forget the time Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech to exclaim that Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” was an all time great.
While the much talked about event happened seven years ago, the controversy between the two seems to be ongoing.
Miley Cyrus Did It
At the 2015 VMAs former Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus closed the award show with bad words and a psychedelic trip. But, before performing “Dooo It!” the Disney alum managed to bare her nipple, live, during a wardrobe change. It was one of many times the 20-something singer exposed herself in support of the “Free the Nipple” campaign.
Although it was eye-catching for some, it may never outdo Diana Ross and Lil’ Kim at the 1999 awards show.
Michael Jackson Classics
And to close, the ultimate reasons you should never miss an MTV VMA show — where else could you watch the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, take home the well-deserved but non-existent Artist of the Millennium award in honor of his birthday, August 29th?
Sign off with your favorite MTV VMA memory or 2016 performance in the comments.
[Photos by Frank Micelotta/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images | Chris Pizzello/Invision]