A Complete History of Taylor Swift at the MTV VMAs
From stagecrashes to shaking it off
While Taylor Swift can claim one of the most iconic MTV Video Music Awards moments ever, her history with the show spans red carpet slays, buzzworthy performances and, of course, cameos from her famous squad. Scroll down to immerse yourself in every major moment of Taylor Swift at the VMAs.
Taylor made her first VMAs appearance in 2008, resplendent in fluffy curls and a sweet white dress. It was the perfect VMAs debut look for America’s newest country sweetheart.
The singer kicked off her VMAs career on a strong note, interviewing celebs on the red carpet. Oh, and did we mention that she was nominated for the artist to watch category alongside Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus?
In 2009, Taylor’s return to the VMAs was even more exciting: She rolled up in a literal carriage, because why not, and made us all instantly question why we wanted cars for our 16th birthdays.
Of course, 2009 was also the year that Kanye West famously stagecrashed Taylor Swift after she won the best female video award for “You Belong with Me.”
Taylor was in the middle of thanking everyone for the award saying, “I always dreamed about what it would be like to maybe win one of these some day, but I never actually thought it would have happened. I sing country music so thank you so much for giving me a chance to win a VMA award.” That’s when West broke in, “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, Imma let you finish, but Beyoncé has one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!”
The singer handled the shocking moment with grace, and in 2013, Vanity Fair even revealed that she has a framed photo of the incident in her house.
Believe it or not, her night wasn’t over yet.
Swift performed “You Belong with Me” on a moving subway (which might be the most glamorous thing to ever happen on the subway).
Swift capped off one heckuva eventful night when Beyoncé brought her up to give her back her moment.
How do you follow up an awards show like that? In 2010, Taylor was back to perform “Innocent,” which was inspired by the previous year’s interruption. “I think a lot of people expected me to write a song about him. But for me it was important to write a song to him,” she told New York magazine of West. The emotional performance included a clip from the stagecrash and a barefoot Swift.
Taylor went on a brief VMAs hiatus, returning to the awards show in 2012. With freshly chopped bangs and now-signature red lipstick, the singer was beginning to usher in the Red era.
Of course, she took to the stage (in stripes!) to perform “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”
Take a moment to relive the glory that’s now a half-decade old.
The next year, Taylor walked the carpet in an ultra form-fitting navy gown and faux bob. (A sign of haircuts to come?)
In 2013, she also scooped up a best female video award for “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
Taylor didn’t slow down in 2014, walking the carpet in sky-high heels and a blue romper.
She was about to drop her fifth studio album, 1989, and performed a very sparkly rendition of “Shake It Off.”
Seriously. We will never be over the spangly two-piece and the tux-clad dancers.
However, nothing could ever prepare us for Taylor’s 2015 entrance. She was nominated for “Bad Blood,” so it only made sense that she brought her squad — a.k.a. the stars of her music video — as her date(s).
Speaking of “Bad Blood,” yes, it won the video of the year honor.
She also took to the stage to perform a “The Night Is Still Young/ Bad Blood” mash-up with Nicki Minaj. (The performance quashed any rumors of beef between the two musicians, who got into a Twitter tiff ahead of the awards over a lack of diversity among nominees.)
The singer capped off her night by presenting Kanye West with the iconic Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.
While Taylor opted out of the awards the next two years, she left fans absolutely shook when she premiered her “Look What You Made Me Do” video during the 2017 show.
The audience was still reeling from the epic visual (so many iconic Taylors!) when the singer and Zayn won the best collaboration award for their song “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever.” In their absence, co-writer Jack Antonoff stepped up to the mic to accept the trophy.
Swift is slated to perform at the 2019 VMAs after a four-year hiatus from the awards show. She’s nominated for a whopping 10 Moonmen, tied with Ariana Grande as the most nominated artist of the night. “You Need to Calm Down” earned seven nominations, while “ME!” earned three. Her most nominated song to date is “Bad Blood,” which was nominated eight times in 2015.