A History of Every Unforgettable Moment From the MTV Video Music Awards

A History of Every Unforgettable Moment From the MTV Video Music Awards

For as much as things change, they also stay the same. Exhibit A: the MTV Video Music Awards. 

Since the inaugural ceremony in 1984, the event has garnered a reputation as Hollywood’s most unpredictable award show, one that still holds true three decades later. Beginning with Madonna‘s unforgettable live rendition of “Like a Virgin” while dressed as a bride to Cardi B teasing the debut of her newborn daughter on stage last year, stars always find a way to keep fans on their toes when it comes to the VMAs. 

Arguably one of the most famous moments in the MTV show’s history was when Madonna joined forces with top songstresses Britney Spears and Christina Aguilerato open the 2003 show, sealing their place in the annals of VMA history with that kiss before Missy Elliott took over with her iconic hit, “Work It.”

16 years later, the rapper is being honored at this year’s VMAs as the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award recipient. Meanwhile, Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift are leading the nominee pool this year as the two stars tied for the most nods. With performances and appearances scheduled from Shawn Mendes and Camila CabelloLizzo, the Jonas Brothers and Elliot herself, standout moments are once again sure to be in store.

But, until host Sebastian Maniscalco takes the stage at the Prudential Center in New Jersey to kick things off on Monday night, revisit MTV’s history of unforgettable VMA moments in E!’s gallery below: 

Madonna, MTV Video Music Awards


Howard Stern, MTV Video Music Awards

Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect/Getty Images

Kurt Cobain, Axl Rose

Paul Harris/Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Michael Jackson, Lisa-Marie Presley, Lisa Marie Presley, MTV Video Music Awards, VMA

AFP/Getty Images

Fiona Apple, MTV VMA's

AP Photo/Adam Nadel

Lil Kim, Diana Ross, MTV Video Music Awards, VMA


Britney Spears, MTV Video Music Awards

AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser

Eminem, Moby

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; E!

Madonna, Britney Spears, MTV Video Music Awards

Kevin Kane/WireImage.com

Britney Spears, MTV Video Music Awards

Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

Taylor Swift, Kanye West, MTV Video Music Awards

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Lady Gaga, 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, Meat Dress, Worst Dressed

AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Beyonce, Baby Bump, Pregnancy Fashion

Steve Granitz/WireImage

Justin Bieber

Steve Granitz/WireImage

Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, VMA

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for MTV

Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus

Getty Images

Kanye West, 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, VMA

Kevin Winter/MTV1415/Getty Images For MTV

Rihanna, Drake, 2016 MTV VMAs

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Fifth Harmony, MTV Video Music Awards 2017

Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock

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