The 2019 MTV VMAs are rapidly approaching on Monday, August 26, with some of biggest acts of the moment such as Taylor Swift, Lil Nas X, Lizzo, Shawn Mendes, and more slated to perform on music's biggest night. Ahead of this year’s event, however, were a bevy of can’t-miss-events that even predate the YouTube days. So, let’s refresh our memories before the celebrity-filled evening, shall we?
From crazy stunts pulled during performances—who could forget that infamous Madonna-Britney-Christina kiss?—to bizarre interviews held pre-show—please see Courtney Love and Madonna’s awkward meet-cute—these outrageous moments are the most talked-about in VMA history. Will this year serve up a new spectacle? Only time will tell.
Below, the 11 most shocking moments from the VMAs.
Courtney Love Crashes Madonna’s Interview
In 1996, Courtney Love, in her typical fashion, interrupted Kurt Loder’s post–red carpet interview with Madonna by throwing a makeup compact at her. Invited by Loder to join the conversation, Love continued her erratic behavior, eliciting passive-aggressive comebacks from Madge, making for one of the most awkward, cringe-worthy interviews ever caught on tape.
Lil’ Kim Is Fondled by Diana Ross
VMA host and pastie fanatic Miley Cyrus owes a big thank you to Lil’ Kim for being the original pastie trailblazer. In 1999, before introducing the award for Best Hip-Hop Video, Kim walked onstage in her risqué purple jumpsuit and was joined by Diana Ross, who couldn’t help but tap her exposed breast.
Rose McGowan Is Exposed on the Red Carpet
If you think the pasties and bodysuits were bad, they were nothing compared with Rose McGowan’s 1998 naked look—there’s really no other way to describe it—that will forever live on as the most scandalous outfit in red carpet history.
Rage Against the Machine Bassist Climbs the Scaffolding
While Limp Bizkit were celebrating their win for Best Rock Video in 2000, bassist Tim Commerford of Rage Against the Machine climbed onto the VMA stage’s sculpture to protest his band’s loss. Durst appreciated the rebel moment, even saying in his acceptance speech, “This guy is rock ’n’ roll. He should be getting the award.”
Michael Jackson Mistakes a Birthday Cake for an Award
Britney Spears was supposed to present Michael Jackson with a birthday cake at the 2002 VMA awards, which happened to coincide with his birthday. But since she introduced him as the King of Pop and the artist of the millennium, Jackson went onstage under the impression that he was accepting an actual award for “Artist of the Millennium.” Things got even weirder when he thanked David Blaine, saying, “Your magic is real and I believe in you.”
Madonna and Britney Kiss
You knew something great was going to happen when MTV put Madonna and Britney Spears on the same stage in 2003. But the whole world was taken by surprise when the Queen and Princess of Pop locked lips after performing a rendition of “Like a Virgin.” Yes, Christina Aguilera was there, too, but the moment was strictly between Madge and Britney.
Kanye Doesn’t Let Taylor Swift Finish
Before she started inviting everyone onstage with her, Taylor Swift had to deal with an unexpected guest. In 2009, after she won Best Female Video, Kanye West emerged from the audience, took her mic, and uttered those famous last words: “Imma let you finish . . . but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time.” The two made up at the 2015 Grammy awards.
Beyoncé’s Pregnancy Reveal
Beyoncé hinted at a small bump on the red carpet, but when she performed her hit “Love on Top” in a sequined smoking jacket, there was no trace of a pregnancy—until she ended her set by dropping the mic, unbuttoning her suit, and effectively announcing to the world that she was indeed expecting her first child.
Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke Blur the Lines of What’s Appropriate
Where do we even begin? Miley Cyrus, in a furry onesie, twerked her way to infamy when she performed at the VMAs in 2013. She started off by singing “We Can’t Stop” surrounded by stuffed animals, which she humped and fondled. She then stripped down to a nude bikini as “Blurred Lines” singer Robin Thicke joined in. The rest is not-quite-yet history.
Nicki Minaj Asks, "Miley, What's Good?"
When Miley Cyrus hosted the VMAs in 2015, she had already generated pre-show drama with an interview in the New York Times in which she was asked about a simmering beef between Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift. Swift had taken a comment that Minaj made about the VMAs nominating certain types of women (white), with certain types of bodies (slim) for Video of the Year—when prompted for her thoughts, Cyrus replied that Minaj had "made it about [her]." On stage, when Minaj was up to accept an award for "Anaconda," Minaj called out Cyrus with the now iconic “Miley, what’s good?”
Rihanna Swerves on Drake
When accepting the 2016 Video Vanguard Award, Rihanna did not want to accept a kiss from former flame Drake, who took his moment as a presenter to profess that he had been in love with the R&B princess since he was 22. Rihanna initiated a prototypical swerve move, in which she deftly avoided getting into a liplock on national television.
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Originally Appeared on Vogue