Thursday 19 September 2019

From Britney to Kanye - the MTV Video Music Awards' most memorable (and awkward) moments

Drake speaks with Rihanna after presenting her with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award during the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York, U.S., August 28, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Drake speaks with Rihanna after presenting her with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award during the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York, U.S., August 28, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

It's the weirdest and most wonderful of all awards shows mainly due to the fact that the antics of the winners and attendees usually garner more column inches than awards themselves.

Here are some of the most memorable moments from the VMAs over the years.

Kanye West announces he will run for President of the United States of America (2015)

Kanye West accepts the Video Vanguard Award at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, August 30, 2015. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Rap superstar Kanye West railed against awards shows and announced he would run for president in 2020 as he collected MTV's highest honour at the Video Music Awards.

West received the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award from singer Taylor Swift six years after he famously interrupted her acceptance speech for an award at the same ceremony.

In a long and rambling speech at the ceremony in Los Angeles, West admitted he had smoked something before arriving to calm his nerves.

Addressing Swift, he said: "I often think back to the first day I met you. You know I think about it when I'm in the grocery store with my daughter and I have a really great conversation about fresh juice and they say to me, 'Oh you're not that bad after all'.

"I think about it sometimes, it crosses my mind a little bit when I go to a baseball game and 60,000 people boo me. It crosses my mind a little bit. I think if I had to do it all again what would I have done? Would I have worn a leather shirt, would I have drunk half a bottle of Hennessy and given the other half to the audience? If I had a daughter, would I have gone on stage and grabbed the mic from someone else's?"

Watched by his pregnant wife Kim Kardashian, he continued: "I still don't understand awards shows, I don't understand how they get five people who work their entire life, sold records, sold concert tickets, to stand on a red carpet, to come and for the first time in their life stand on the chopping block and be considered a loser.

"I don't understand it, I'm conflicted bro. I just want people to like me more but f*** that bro.

"I will die for the art, for what I believe in and the art ain't always going to be polite. I bet they are thinking right now if I smoked something before this and the answer is yes, I rolled up a little something to take the edge of."

After holding his head in his hands for an extended period of time, he added: "It's about ideas, people who believe in truth. And yes, as you probably could have guessed, I have decided in 2020 to run for president."

Just one more year till he hits the campaign trail guys.  Brace yourselves.


Another too-long Kanye speech (2016)

Kanye West on stage during the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York. Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Kanye West took six minutes – instead of his allotted four – to give his speech before introducing the video to his new song Fade, and he compared himself to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Walt Disney.

He addressed his war of words with Taylor Swift, insisting he informed the pop singer about the lyrics to his single Famous in which he raps: "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why? I made that bitch famous."

West told the VMA crowd: "I love all y'all. That's why I called her."

He went on: "I know at times for me, I sit down and talk to older, rich people, AKA white, and they tell me don't compare yourself to Steve Jobs and don't compare yourself to Walt Disney.

"My role models are artists, merchants. There's less than 10 I can name in history: Truman, Ford, Hughes, Disney, Jobs, West."


Drake declares his love for Rihanna - and she doesn't acknowledge it (2016)

Drake presents Rihanna with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award during the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York, U.S., August 28, 2016. REUTERS/

Rihanna had no less than four performances at last year's VMAs before she was presented with the prestigious Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award by her frequent collaborator and rumoured then-boyfriend Drake.

He delivered a heart-warming speech hailing the R&B beauty's achievements, declaring he had been "in love" with her since he was 22, and honouring Rihanna as a "living, breathing legend in our industry".

They then shared a kiss on the cheek as Rihanna stepped up to accept the special Moonman award, which she celebrated as "such an amazing moment" in her career, without addressing Drake's love declaration.


Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke (2013)

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke. Photo: Reuters


Prior to the 2013 VMAs Miley Cyrus was still Hannah Montana.  Despite starring in The Last Song and getting engaged to co-star Liam Hemsworth she just couldn't shake her wholesome, innocent image. 

Until that performance, perfectly timed to garner as much publicity as possible ahead of the release of Wrecking Ball three weeks later (it became her first single to reach No 1 on the Billboard Hot 100).

The accompanying video - featuring Cyrus swinging, naked, from a giant wrecking ball, set a Vevo record with 19.3m views in the first 24 hours.


Diana Ross feels Lil Kim's boob (1999)

Mary J. Blige( left), Lil' Kim (right), and Diana Ross presenting the award for Best Hip-Hop video during the 1999 MTV Music Video Awards at the Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center in New York City on September 9, 1999. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect)

Diana Ross was very taken by Lil Kim's costume, or lack of costume.  Intrigued by the rapper's nipple tassle, she went ahead and copped a feel.


Michael Jackson does a medley (1995)

Michael Jackson during 1995 MTV Video Music Awards Show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

It was like being at the ultimate wedding.  Michael Jackson performed a 15-minute medley of his hits including Billy Jean, Don't Stop Til You Get Enough, Black or White, Dangerous, You Are Not Alone and Beat It.  One of the most memorable performances ever.


Kanye West was a bit rude (2009)

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13: Kayne West (L) jumps onstage as Taylor Swift accepts her award for the "Best Female Video" award during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on September 13, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

When Taylor Swift won the award for Best Female Video, Kanye West was outraged because as far as he was concerned "Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time.  One of the best videos of all time!".  This is what he roared when he crashed the stage during poor Taylor's acceptance speech.  Cringe.


Courtney Love steals Madonna's thunder (1995)

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 7: American rock musician and actress, Courtney Love, is dragged off the press podium backstage at the 12th annual MTV Awards on September 7, 1995 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Catherine McGann/Getty Images)

Courtney was in exuberant form at the 1995 VMAs.  During Madonna's post-awards interview, the Hole frontwoman started chucking items from her makeup bag.  Host Kurt Loder invited her to join them.  Awkward.  Love was then removed from the press room.


Madonna, Britney, and Christina kiss (2004)

NEW YORK - AUGUST 28: (U.S. TABLOIDS OUT) Singers Britney Spears(L), Madonna, and Christina Aguilera perform onstage during the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 28, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)

Madonna kissed the girls four years before Katy Perry.  But the prospect of seeing the pop veteran on stage with her two pretenders (Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera) was a lot more interesting than the reality. 


Britney's cringeworthy comeback (2007)

LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 09: Singer Britney Spears performs during the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards at The Palms Hotel and Casino on September 9, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by John Shearer/WireImage)

Before the night in question, the hype about Britney's 'comeback' performance on the VMAs was deafening.  When the 'performance' actually unfolded, however, all you could hear was the gnashing of teeth as viewers shielded their eyes from the car crash unfolding before them.  A clearly under-rehearsed Britney looked like she was walking through treacle as her backing dancers out-danced her and her timing went askew. 


Lady Gaga wore a deli counter for a dress (2010)

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Singer Lady Gaga accepts the Video of the Year award onstage during the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards at NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE on September 12, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Back in 2010 Lady Gaga offended veggies the world over by wearing a dress made of raw beef on the VMA red carpet, as you do.  Thankfully, her style has evolved since then, and stunts for the sake of stunts appear to have taken a back seat to her music.


Beyonce reveals she is pregnant on stage (2011)

Beyonce memorably announced she was pregnant on stage at the VMAs (PA)

After performing at he 2011 VMAs, Beyonce pulled back her sparkly black jacket and began rubbing her belly – announcing she was expecting.

The camera cut to husband Jay-Z, who was being congratulated in the crowd by Kanye West.


Nicki Minaj confronts Miley Cyrus (2015)

Singer Nicki Minaj performing at the European MTV Awards in Bilbao, Spain (Vianney Le Caer/AP)

Cyrus was involved in another memorable VMAs moment when rapper Minaj called her out on stage.

Minaj was unhappy about comments Cyrus had made about her in an interview days previously, and took revenge while accepting the best hip hop video award for Anaconda.

She said: “And now, back to this bitch that had a lot to say about me the other day in the press the other day. Miley, what’s good?”

Additional reporting by PA.

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