Top 10 most memorable MTV VMA moments

July 21 00:13 2014

It’s almost that time of year again for the MTV Video Music Awards. Since the live award show has brought us so many outlandish performances and appearances over the years we thought it would be fun to count down the top 10 most memorable moments.

The first VMA ceremony premiered on September 14, 1984 and was hosted by Dan Aykroyd and Bette Midler. The event was held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. While the ceremonies are usually held in New York or Los Angeles, some have taken place in Miami and Las Vegas.

Today, the VMAs are considered the Oscars for the MTV viewing audience and the Moonman statue has become a coveted award for recording artists.

This year, the telecast will air on Aug. 24 at 9 p.m. and is sure to bring us more wild, crazy and exciting moments that will leave us talking for years to come.

Now, without further ado, let’s take a look back at of some of the most memorable moments of the past thirty years.

image Courtesy of Kirkland/MPI/

[new page = Madonna’s 1984 Like a Virgin performance]

10. Madonna’s 1984 Like a Virgin performance

We start with the Queen of Pop’s 1984 performance of her hit song Like a Virgin. Madonna, known for shocking audiences with her on-stage antics and risqué videos, did not disappoint at the first-ever VMA show. Rolling around in bustier, wedding gown and garter belt while grinding on the stage, the diva cemented her place as one of the most memorable performances in VMA history.

[new page = Britney Spears’ disastrous 2007 performance]

9. Britney Spears’ disastrous 2007 performance

Obviously 2007 was not a good year for Britney Spears. During her very public meltdown, she was in and out of drug rehabilitation facilities, shaved her head bald and exhibited plenty of bizarre behavior that kept the tabloids busy. It was also the year that she put on a VMA performance that she would like to forget. The pop star looked out of shape and almost emotionless during her lip-syncing, lackluster Gimmie More performance.

[new page = Snoop Dogg declares his innocence at the 1994 VMAs]

8. Snoop Dogg declares his innocence at the 1994 VMAs

In 1994, the rapper also known by his stage names Snoop Doggy Dogg and later Snoop Lion, was facing murder charges in connection with the killing of Ethiopian immigrant Phillip Woldemeriam. Just about everyone in the building that night and most of those watching at home, knew he was in legal hot water. The rap superstar appropriately, or inappropriately depending on how you look at it, chose to sing his single Murder Was the Case and told the crowd, “I’m innocent.” Snoop was reportedly met by police after he stepped off stage and was taken into custody. He was later acquitted of the charges.

[new page = Afeni Shakur and Voletta Wallace on stage together]

7. Afeni Shakur and Voletta Wallace on stage together

Staying with rap royalty, the mothers of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G came together on the VMA stage approximately three years after their sons were murdered. Tupac and Biggie famously had a feud that pinned record labels, fans and essentially one coast against another. Both men were gunned down within months of each other. Tupac was shot on September 7, 1996 and died in a Las Vegas hospital several days later. Biggie Smalls was fatally shot on March 9, 1997 in Los Angeles. No one has been charged for the murders, but the strength and class that Afeni Shakur and Voletta Wallace displayed after their losses was inspiring and certainly memorable.

[new page = Kiss between Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley]

6. Kiss between Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley

Another 1994 VMA moment that made our list was when the late King of Pop and the King of Rock and Roll’s daughter kissed on stage. Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley were married that year in what many thought was just a publicity stunt. Either in an effort to prove everyone wrong or just keep everyone talking, the two showed up at the VMAs and went on stage to kiss in front of everyone. The kiss itself seemed awkward and Presley looked uncomfortable from the second she stepped out onto the stage. Their marriage did not last, but the kiss will forever be one of the most memorable moments.

[new page = Beyonce lets audience know she’s pregnant]

5. Beyonce lets audience know she’s pregnant
For Queen B, just a simple announcement may have been cliché, so with speculation and pregnancy rumors swirling, Beyonce found a way to let the audience know she was pregnant with Blue Ivy. At the start of her 2011 Love on Top performance the singer said “I want you to feel the love that’s growing inside of me.” For anyone that didn’t catch on, Jay-Z’s wife confirmed the news at the end of the song by unbuttoning her sequined Dolce & Gabbana blazer to reveal her baby bump. The crowd went nuts as B rubbed her stomach and smiled.

[new page = Kanye West interrupts Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech]

4. Kanye West interrupts Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech
One of the most memorable moments from the 2009 VMAs was when Kanye West rudely interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech. Swift won Best Female Video for her hit You Belong with Me. As she was making her gracious acceptance speech Kanye West stormed the stage and interrupted her declaring that he thought “Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time.” The crowd, including Beyonce, was stunned, but perhaps no one was more shocked than Swift herself. Later, Beyonce won an award and invited Swift to come on stage again and give an uninterrupted acceptance speech. The singer told the media that after the incident Kanye personally apologized to her and she accepted.

[new page = Diana Ross grabs Lil Kim’s breast]

3. Diana Ross grabs Lil Kim’s breast

Rapper Lil’ Kim really turned heads in 1999 when she showed up at the award show wearing a one-sleeved jumpsuit and just a pasty covering her left nipple. When Diana Ross joined Mary J. Blige and Lil’ Kim on the stage to present an award, the former lead singer of the Supremes coped a feel. The little jiggle Ross gave the rapper’s exposed breast is a moment that will definitely live on as one of the most memorable from the VMAs.

[new page = Madonna shares a kiss with Britney Spears]

2. Madonna shares a kiss with Britney Spears

The second most memorable moment on our list is one that generated a lot of buzz over the years. Pop music’s most recognizable ladies make our countdown this time for their performance together. Almost two decades after Madonna’s Like a Virgin performance at the first VMAs, she hit the stage with Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears after their recreation of her iconic number. Madonna then shared a kiss with both ladies, however, her kiss with Spears is the one that everyone was talking about. If you blinked you wouldn’t have caught her kiss with Xtina, but the one with Spears looked much more sensual. And a shot of Spears’ ex, Justin Timberlake, after the sexy smooch made it even more memorable as he looked less than pleased. Here is the memorable moment again.

[new page = Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke’s performance]

1. Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke’s performance

It just happened last year, but we have a feeling that this moment will be remembered as one of the most shocking, infamous, outrageous, bizarre, provocative and memorable performances of the VMAs. After Cyrus sang and twerked with teddy bears to her hit We Can’t Stop, Robin Thicke joined her on stage to sing Blurred Lines and that’s when things really got crazy. Cyrus stripped down to a flesh-colored bikini, grinded with Thicke, had fun with a foam finger and couldn’t keep her tongue in her mouth. Viewers did not know what to think and most of them, including Will Smith and his kids, just looked on in astonishment. This moment really kicked off Miley-mania this past year and had the singer trying to outdo herself and think of new ways to continue to shock us. Let’s relive the No. 1 most memorable MTV VMA moment of all time:



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Michelle Kapusta
Michelle Kapusta

At Large Senior Editor, Temple University graduate, Philadelphia resident and avid sports fan.

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