The MTV Video Music Awards may pass out Moonmen to its winners, but the award show is better known for giving music fans unforgettably shocking moments.
It’s been 30 years since Madonna popped out of a wedding cake and rolled around on the stage, but her VMA performance is still fresh in our minds. And it was only last year that Miley Cyrus twerked up a storm of controversy with Robin Thicke – certainly no one’s forgotten that. While viewers can depend on MTV to deliver the OMGs to kick off awards season, some things have changed.
To make it easy for VMA viewers of all ages, we transformed the award show’s most shocking moments into today’s most popular form of communication: Emoji. It’s the easiest way to express our feelings about the events that left us at a loss for words.
The Twerk Seen ‘Round the World (2013)
When two of 2013’s biggest artists, Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus, took the stage together last year, audiences were prepared for a spectacle. But the pair’s booty-shaking bonanza, which propelled the word twerk into daily conversation as well as the dictionary, still managed to leave many agog for days.
The World Meets Blue Ivy (2011)
The VMAs aren’t just a place of shock and awe, it’s an award show where dreams come true. Like our dream for Beyoncé to bring another little B into the world. In 2011 the performer revealed she was pregnant in an epic way, concluding her performance with a smiling belly rub. And so, our love affair with Blue Ivy began.
Lady Gaga Brings the Beef (2010)
Of the array of odd outfits Lady Gaga has sported on the VMA carpet, her meat dress is the most memorable, and probably the worst-smelling. The “Bad Romance” singer donned pounds of raw beef, including on her shoes and hair, fitted into a tight bodice with flowing tenderloins as her award-show ensemble.
Kanye Speaks His Mind (2009)
Most of the world adores Beyoncé, but not as much as Kanye West. The rapper shocked Taylor Swift and VMA viewers when he stormed onstage and interrupted Swift’s acceptance speech for best female video to proclaim that Queen B had the best video of the year. You know what they say: If you like it, you should’ve put a ring on it, Kanye.
The Queens of Pop Get Kissy (2003)
If Madonna steps out of a wedding cake, you know something scandalous is about to happen. In 2003, Madge proved she still had control over pop music by passionately smooching “brides” Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera mid-song, while a befuddled Justin Timberlake watched on.
Britney and Banana Forever (2001)
Fans got a peek at Britney Spears’s wild side with her VMA performance of “I’m a Slave 4 U.” The singer sashayed onto the stage wearing a bright yellow snake – and little else. Together the reptile and Spears gave an unforgettable performance and formed a special, slithery bond. Spears recently went to Twitter to check in on her dance buddy Banana the snake, and was happy to find she is doing well.
All the Slim Shadys Please Stand Up (2000)
Emerging rapper Eminem ensured viewers wouldn’t forget his face by storming the 2000 Radio City Music Hall with a sea of angsty, bleached blond clones. Even surrounded by dozens of doppelgängers, Eminem’s speedy rhyming skills made it easy to tell who the real Slim Shady truly was.
Diana Ross Gets Supremely Handsy (1997)
Music legend Diana Ross wasn’t shy about sharing her thoughts on Lil’ Kim’s revealing outfit; in fact, the Supremes singer was very hands-on. In the midst of their presentation at the podium, Ross reached over and gave the rapper’s partially exposed breast a memorable light bounce.
Bass to the Face (1992)
The godfathers of grunge learned gravity is a cruel and undeniable force during their VMA performance of “Lithium.” Nirvana’s bassist, Krist Novoselic, decided to chuck his axe to the sky in the middle of the number, only to have the guitar fall on top of his head. Ouch!
Like a Virgin-ish (1984)
Before she smooched her way across the VMA stage, Madonna and her cake performed “Like a Virgin” all on their own. What started off as simple wedding-themed number turned into a wild, floor-rolling escapade, setting up the Material Girl as the VMAs’ go-to lady for taboo material.