MTV VMAs most shocking moments ever
After 32 years, the VMAs have always given people something to talk about. Sometimes, the surprising performances take over -- from the very first show in 1984 when Madonna rolled around in a wedding dress to "Like a Virgin" to the television debut of Axl Rose and the new version of Guns N' Roses in 2002. Sometimes, it's the acceptance speeches -- or lack thereof. (Cough. Kanye.)
In any case, while so many of those moments were water cooler talk -- or, more recently, Twitter trends -- the next day, but to make it onto list of the VMAs' most shocking moments, they have to be stories that still seem unbelievable years later.
Kanye interrupts Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs(Credit: Getty Images / Christopher Polk)
THE INTERRUPTION (2009): When Kanye West hijacked Taylor Swift's acceptance speech for best female video to represent for Beyonce's "Single Ladies," he defined himself as an outsider and Swift as America's wronged sweetheart. "I'mma let you finish" became a catch phrase and West was labeled a "jackass" by President Obama.
Diana Ross jiggles Lil' Kim's breast at the 1999 VMAs(Credit: David Drapkin)
THE JIGGLE (1999): Lil' Kim leaving her left breast exposed, covered by a pastie to get past the censors, was surprising enough. Then, Diana Ross, presenting Kim with an award, reached out and touched it, giving it a playful jiggle. Yes, that happened.
Newlyweds Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley kiss at the 1994 VMAs(Credit: AP / Bebeto Matthews)
THE NEWLYWEDS (1994): It's more poignant now, after Michael Jackson's untimely passing. However, when the King of Pop and Lisa Marie Presley interrupted their honeymoon to start the show with an uncomfortable onstage kiss, they only added to the confusion about their marriage. When Jackson said, "Just think, nobody thought this would last," the divorce clock started running.
Miley Cyrus shows Robin Thicke her Twerk at the 2013 VMAs(Credit: Getty Images)
THE TWERK (2013): Miley Cyrus set tongues around the world a-wagging when she twerked up against Robin Thicke for a version of "Blurred Lines." It was then that everyone knew Hannah Montana was all grown up.
Beyoncé's pregnant belly at the 2011 VMAs(Credit: Getty Images; AP)
THE BELLY RUB (2011): Beyoncé used her performance of "Love on Top" to announce to the world that she was pregnant with daughter Blue Ivy by cradling her baby bump and giving it a motherly rub. The overjoyed reaction of her husband, Jay Z, and Kanye West provided further confirmation, as was her belly clutching on the red carpet.
Laga Gaga dons a meat dress at the 2010 VMAs(Credit: AP / Matt Sayles)
THE MEAT DRESS (2010): Lady Gaga accepted the Video of the Year award for "Bad Romance" wearing a dress made of raw beef, as an artistic statement of "I am not a piece of meat." When she picked up her Moonman award, she handed her jewel-encrusted meat purse to presenter Cher.
Howard Stern is Fartman at the 1992 VMAs(Credit: AP)
FARTMAN (1992): Howard Stern unveiled his flatulent superhero at the VMAs, descending from the rafters to the stage in a costume that bared his midriff and most of his butt, which co-presenter Luke Perry touched, after Stern told him of its magical powers.
Madonna and Britney Kiss at the 2003 VMAs(Credit: AP / Julie Jacobson)
THE KISS (2003): Madonna has been shocking VMA viewers for decades, starting with rolling around in a wedding dress singing "Like a Virgin." But nothing created a bigger scandal than her girl-on-girl kisses with Britney Spears (and Christina Aguilera).
Nicki Minaj calls out MIley Cyrus at the 2015 VMAs(Credit: AP / Matt Sayles)
During acceptance speech for hip-hop video of the year (for "Anaconda"), Nicki Minaj confronted host Miley Cyrus for comments she made about the rapper in The New York Times. Minaj referred to Cyrus as "this [expletive] that had a lot of stuff to say about me in the press. Miley, what's good?" Cyrus seemed stunned, but congratulated Minaj on the win and said her New York Times quotes were "manipulated."
An energy-free Britney Spears at the 2007 VMAs(Credit: AP / Kevork Djansezian)
THE BRITNEY BLACKOUT (2007): Britney Spears, at the height of her tabloid-worthy troubles, took the VMA stage to debut her single "Gimme More," but looked woefully unprepared, mouthing words occasionally and managing only a handful of dance steps as she wandered the stage listlessly.
Nirvana's "Lithium," greeting to Axl Rose, at the 1992 VMAs(Credit: Getty Images)
"HI AXL!" (1992): Nirvana's performance of "Lithium" -- which also included a snippet of their controversial song "Rape Me" -- was one for the ages, ending with Kurt Cobain trashing amps onstage, Krist Novoselic throwing his bass in the air and having it hit him in the head and Dave Grohl, running to a microphone, shouting, "Hi Axl!" repeatedly at Axl Rose, who had reportedly threatened Cobain backstage.
Eminem v. Triumph the Insult Comic Dog at the 2002 VMAs(Credit: AP / Beth A. Keiser)
TRIUMPH INSULTS (2002): Triumph the Insult Comic Dog took on numerous stars at the show, including the good-natured Moby and Carson Daly, a non-amused Jennifer Lopez and an angry Eminem, who pushed the puppet away from him, complaining, "I've had my TV time."
Rage Against the Machine bassist protests Limp Bizkit win at the 2000 VMAs(Credit: AP / Suzanne Plunkett)
THE PROTEST (2000): Upset that Limp Bizkit somehow won best rock video for "Break Stuff," Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford opted for a sit-in, climbing the set and refusing to come down while head Bizkit Fred Durst tried to accept the award. Commerford was eventually removed by security and escorted out of the building.
Pee-Wee Herman's joke at the 1991 VMAs(Credit: AP / Kevork Djansezian)
THE JOKE (1991): Pee-Wee Herman makes his first public appearance at the VMAs, after being arrested for indecent exposure. His opening line, "Heard any good jokes lately?"
Original Van Halen lineup reunites at the 1996 VMAs(Credit: AP / Bebeto Matthews)
THE REUNION (1996): The crowd freaked out when Van Halen reunited with David Lee Roth to present best male video. However, as Roth announced, "This is the first time we've stood onstage together in over a decade," it became increasingly more tense as Eddie Van Halen moved further and further away from Roth.
Host Russell Brand disses purity rings at the 2008 VMAs(Credit: AP / Kevork Djansezian)
THE PURITY RINGS (2008): Host Russell Brand goes on a stand-up rant about The Jonas Brothers abstaining from sex, declaring, "That is not what Jesus wants." Not surprisingly, Brand took a lot of flak from people disagreeing.