Michael Jackson's 15-Minute Performance In 1995
Michael Jackson proved once again why he wears the King of Pop crown at the 1995 Video Music Awards. Not only did he give MTV viewers a 10-minute medley of many of his biggest hits, including, "Billie Jean," "Beat It," "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" and "Black or White." He did it with on-stage costume changes, Moonwalking, Slash shredding on the guitar, dance-fighting and of course crotch-grabbing. That same night, Michael and Janet Jackson shared the VMA stage when "Scream" picked up VMAs for Best Dance Video, Best Art Direction and Best Choreography.
Notorious B.I.G. Tribute At The 1997 VMAs
P.Diddy, at the time going by Puff Daddy, delivered one of the most memorable moments in VMA history when he performed “I’ll Be Missing You” at the 1997 Video Music Awards. The song, which features a sample from the Police's "Every Breath You Take," was a tribute to recently slain rapper Biggie Smalls. Puff was joined on stage by Biggie's widow, Faith Evans and ex-Police frontman Sting.
Afeni Shakur & Violetta Wallace Appear On Stage At 1999 VMAs
The mothers of rap's greatest artists, Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G., took the stage with each other at the 1999 VMAs. Afeni Shakur and Violetta Wallace presented the Best Rap Video award with Will Smith, and got to congratulate Jay-Z on his win. Though their sons had been embroiled in a long-running feud, Ms. Shakur said goodbye to all that, declaring, "We stand united as mothers preserving their legacies."
Britney Spears' Disappointing Come-Back Performance
2007 was not the year for Britney. She shaved her head, attacked a paparazzi’s car with an umbrella and had a nasty public divorce and custody battle. Oh, and then there was rehab then checking out of rehab, then back in rehab and so on and so forth. But nothing really took the cake quite like trying to make a come-back on a highly-watched program and failing miserably. Before Britney’s performance of “Gimme More” on the VMA stage the pop star had been off the scene for almost four years and MTV was billing this performance as “Britney’s Big Come-back.” Expectations were incredibly high; after several years of false starts and bad publicity, people were ready to welcome Britney back as the Queen of Pop.
Unfortunately the performance was a total disaster. However, fans and critics chalked this up to part of downward spiral which continued for the rest of that year. It is safe to say that Britney has redeemed herself but she's still not the same pop star we saw during 2001’s VMA performance.
Janet Jackson’s Dance Tribute To “Scream” For Michael Jackson At The 2009 VMAs
With Michael Jackson’s surprising and untimely death less than three months prior to the 2009 VMAs MTV could not go on without a fitting tribute for the King of Pop. The tribute started off with aN emotional eulogy from Madonna and followed up with a mind-bending, pop spectacle dance performance from Janet and team of the best choreographers in the business. Through her post-modern performance of "Scream," in lockstep with the visual of her brother on the screen behind her – she allowed Michael, the King of Pop, to perform and dance – for an audience all over again. When the performance came to a close Janet left blowing a kiss to her brother above, leaving the audience at Radio City astonished.
Britney Spears Performs “I’m A Slave 4 U” With A Live Snake At The 2001 VMAs
Who knew all it would take was dancing around stage with a seven-foot albino python to become an instant VMA legend. Well Britney must have because that’s exactly what she did at 2001 Video Music Awards. The pop star performed her hit “I’m A Slave 4 U” with a live python named Banana. Britney was a true star in that moment and after that performance no one could mention “Britney Spears” and “snake” without bringing up the image of Britney in a sexy green bikini top fearlessly gyrating across the pyro-rigged stage.
Eminem Performs "The Real Slim Shady/The Way I Am" In 2000
Before taking over Radio City Music Hall, Eminem took to the streets of NYC leading an army of hundreds of Eminem impersonators dressed in his signature style – highlighter yellow hair, an over-sized white tee and baggy jeans – into the 2000 VMAs for his performance of hit songs “The Real Slim Shady” and “The Way I Am.” After killing his performance Eminem was on a high that night winning three awards for: Best Male Video, Best Rap Video and Video of the Year.
Lil Mama Crashes Jay Z & Alicia Keys' "Empire State Of Mind"
Though many people may be sick of the song now, “Empire State of Mind” had every New Yorker and non-New-Yorker standing up and singing along uncontrollably. That has to be what happened to Lil Mama at the 2009 VMA’s when Jay-Z and Alicia Keys performed their brand new hit. The “Lip Gloss” rapper invited herself onstage to dance with Jay and Keys and even striking a pose with the other artist at the end of the song. The stunt left the audience, TV viewers and even the artist wondering, "what is she doing?" Lil Mama did apologize for her actions and said she was just “caught up in the moment” and at the time she didn’t realize Jay wasn’t feeling it, saying, “I was definitely caught up in the moment. ... Now that I'm home, I was like, 'Wow, Jay-Z wasn't feeling it.'”
Beyoncé Shows Off Baby Bump At 2011 VMAs
After nailing her debut performance of "Love On Top" Beyoncé let the world in on her little secret, she was expecting her first child. Until Bey hit the VMA red carpet earlier that night, no one knew she was pregnant. And even by the time she took the stage, word wasn't completely out to the masses.
So you can only imagine everyone’s reaction when Beyoncé finished the song and unbuttoned her jacket to reveal her baby bump. Everyone in the audience cheered and the camera cuts to proud papa Jay Z and Kanye West, who were both nothing but smiles.
Kanye West Interrupts Taylor Swift At The 2009 VMAs
This has got to be one of the most memorable moments in VMA history. Poor Taylor Swift, just minutes after winning Best Female Video at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, was rushed by Kanye West, who grabbed the microphone out of the startled teen's hands and aired his objections to her win.
"I'm sorry, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!" West complained, referring to the undeniably dance anthem "Single Ladies." Taylor looked confused and saddened but had her moment to speak again when Beyoncé won Video of the Year and brought the country music starlet on stage to have her moment. Kanye later apologized but the damage had already been done.