You might tune in to the MTV VMAs every year for the performances, or to see which of your favorite artists takes home a Moonman, but let’s be honest — it’s the unscripted, outrageous, and completely inappropriate moments that really get burned into our memories.
Since the birth of the Video Music Awards, there’s been no shortage of these, thanks to artists like Madonna, Kanye West and Michael Jackson, so ahead of the 2015 show, we’re taking a look back at some of the most controversial VMA moments of all time. Yeah, you can thank me later.
Miley Cyrus Twerkin’ Like Her Life Depended On It
Nothing else mattered on the Internet for at least a week after Miley Cyrus twerked, grinded and licked everything on the 2013 MTV VMAs stage. People almost forgot that Robin Thicke was even there for that one.
Will, Jaden And Willow Smith Being Flabbergasted By Miley’s Performance
Okay, turns out this one was just a misunderstanding. Photos seemed to capture the Smith family looked confused, baffled…maybe even alarmed by Miley’s twerktastic performance, and the Internet was very interested in that. But eventually we got the full video from our audience cameras and realized that they were actually just really into Gaga’s performance. Mystery solved.
Taylor Swift Wanting Harry Styles To Shut Up
Ex-boyfriend’s are the worst. Even pop stars like Taylor Swift have to deal with awkward encounters with former flings, and sh-t gets real when the cameras catch you looking upset during a live broadcast. In 2013, while One Direction was on stage getting ready to hand over a Moonman to Selena Gomez for Best Pop Video, the camera’s seem to capture T Swizzle in the audience Harry Styles to just “shut the f–k up.” But, hey, maybe she was actually saying something totally different.
Eminem Beefing With Moby And Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
OK, this is one is personal favorite, because there are so many layers of shade. In 2002, Eminem was already at odds with Moby (since Moby had taken issue with his lyrics), so when Triumph the Insult Comic Dog tried to joke about it at the VMAs, Em was absolutely not amused. Then, when he got onstage to accept the award for Best Male Video — from Christina Aguilera, who also disliked him and made that very clear — he openly dissed Moby. “That little Moby girl threw me out of my zone,” he said, while reading his list of thank yous. He didn’t even care that the crowd started booing him, adding, “Keep booing, little girl. I will hit a man with glasses.” CLASSIC.
The Britney-Madonna-Christina Kiss
If you were watching this with your mom in 2003, she probably banned your from listening to Britney Spears’ music forever. She probably wasn’t too mad at Christina Aguilera, since her contribution to the scandalous kiss was completely downplayed in comparison to Britney’s.
Kanye West Interrupting Taylor Swift
You’ve all seen this one right? Kanye West’s passionate defense of Beyoncé gave us one of the best and definitely one of the most controversial VMA moments of all time. An intoxicated ’Ye famously took the stage to interrupt Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech for Best Female Video in 2009, and no one ever let him hear the end of it. I’mma let you finish, but…
Tim Commerford Climbing Up The Stage Set
Rage Against The Machine’s bassist Tim Commerford wasn’t too thrilled when Limp Bizkit won the Best Rock Video Award in 2000, so he decided to get revenge by interrupting Fred Durst’s speech and climbing the stage set. No one was really amused. And he definitely spent the night in jail.
Diana Ross Jiggling Lil Kim’s Boob
Diana Ross just couldn’t believe that Lil Kim showed up to the 1999 VMAs wearing pasties (she couldn’t have predicted what Miley Cyrus would grow up to do), so when she got on stage to help present the Best Hip-Hop Video award, she lifted up Kim’s arm and jiggled her boob for the camera.
Fiona Apple Calling Out The Industry For Their Bullsh-t
You could get up on the VMA stage and give the typical acceptance speech, or you could do what Fiona Apple did in 1997 and give a big middle finger to the entire music industry. “Everybody that’s watching this world — this world is bullsh-t. And you shouldn’t model your life about what you think that we think is cool, and what we’re wearing and what we’re saying. Go with yourself.” Word to Maya Angelou.
Lady Gaga’s Meat Dress
Someone call PETA. In 2010 Lady Gaga really took things to another level, when she showed up to the awards show literally dressed in meat, accessorized with a meat purse and meat-wrapped shows. Because if you’re really gonna make a point, you should just go for it.
The Michael Jackson And Lisa Marie Presley Kiss
One of the most uncomfortable moments in VMA history happened in 1994 when Michael Jackson took the stage with his then wife Lisa Marie Presley and shared an awkward kiss. This was worse than watching your parents make out at the dinner table.
Did we forget any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments.