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The Biggest Beyoncé Surprises of All Time


Kevin Mazur/Getty

Once again, Beyoncé has proven that we should always expect the unexpected.

Queen Bey’s latest short-notice appearance is just another entry on the long list of evidence that she always has something up her sleeves. And by “something,” we mean things like groundbreaking music, tear-jerking life updates and mind-bogglingly powerful performances.

The woman has probably blessed her fans with more unexpected gifts than any other artist in the world, and to be honest, we all likely have heart conditions because of it.

Emotional whirlwinds aside, we wouldn’t trade these six flawless Beyoncé surprises for the world.

Her surprise CMA Awards performance with the Dixie Chicks
The singer stepped into country territory to perform at the 2016 Country Music Association Awards alongside the Dixie Chicks. While we’re accustomed to Bey slaying at ceremonies like the Grammys and the MTV VMAs, news that the she would be genre-hopping at the CMAs came as a total shock.

Donning a glistening sheer gown, Bey, along with the talented trio, sang the twangy track “Daddy Lessons” from Lemonade. And although news of the star’s first-ever performance at the CMAs broke early on the day of the ceremony, the hours-long anticipation kept the surprise thrilling.

Her post-VMA performance pregnancy announcement

The year was 2011. The place was the MTV Video Music Awards stage. The surprise was momentous.

At the end of her immaculate performance of “Love on Top,” Beyoncé unbuttoned her glistening jacket, gave the crowd a sly smile and rubbed her burgeoning bump, thus announcing to the world the coming arrival of an heir to the Bey throne. The camera cut to Jay Z and his seatmate Kanye West, who summed up all of our reactions to the news by smiling like he had never smiled before.

The release of Beyoncé

Before there was Lemonade, there was Beyoncé. Santa Bey brought Christmas about 12 days early in 2013 when she casually dropped her surprise self-titled visual album. The bombshell was unlike anything the Beyhive — or the music industry — had experienced before.

Despite being given zero promotion — or even warning — before its release, Beyoncé debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and became the fastest-selling album in iTunes history.

The “Formation” debut

We were all busy mentally preparing ourselves for Beyoncé’s return to the Super Bowl stage when she dropped a new track and video just one day before the big game. And what a track it was. Endlessly catchy and unapologetically political, “Formation” defined slaying in its purest form, and forever changed our feelings about Red Lobster.

Even more overwhelming than the stunning choreography and fashion was the brief but glorious cameo from Blue Ivy herself.

The release of Lemonade

We knew something was coming when Beyoncé announced an HBO special, but we never could have imagined she was about to deliver one of her most emotional, revealing and mesmerizing albums of all time in the form of a stunning short film.

Upon its arrival, the surprise album virtually took over pop culture, sending us all into a frenzy of all-consuming mysteries (who is Becky with the good hair?), newly discovered mottos (boy, bye) and tumultuous feels (what does it all mean for the Carters?!).

Her BET Awards opening performance

Even if you didn’t tune in to the BET Awards in Juve, you probably sensed the slight change in Earth’s atmosphere as Beyoncé showed up to perform “Freedom” and the Beyhive collectively ascended to previously unheard of levels of euphoria. Her highness brought along her Formation tour set — complete with water-covered floor and impossibly fierce backup dancers — to the ceremony stage.

And just when we thought we had reached peak musical elation, Beyoncé’s “Freedom” collaborator Kendrick Lamar joined her to finish out the song. We would tell you what happened after that, but we all basically blacked out around the time she started dancing along to his verse.