The 9 Best MTV VMA Performances Ever

The MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) are finally here and we know that we can’t wait to see the big event. Over the years, the VMAs have hosted some pretty incredible performances, and we’re pretty sure this year there will be at least one or two more. To get ourselves ready for the big event, we’re taking a stroll down memory look, so join us as we take a look at the 9 best VMA performances ever:

9. Beyonce – 2009

Beyonce stole the show at the 2009 VMAs. She began her performance by singing a remix of her newest song at the time “Sweet Dreams” and quickly switched into her VMA-nominated hit “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” Rocking a sparkly bodysuit, the mega star danced her heart out alongside two backup dancers. Halfway through her performance, she called out more dancers and soon the stage was filled with dancers wearing matching bodysuits.

Beyonce – Single Ladies (Live Mtv 2009) from Raulzapata on Vimeo.

8. Kelly Clarkson – 2005

At the 2005 VMAs, Kelly Clarkson performed her hit single “Since U Been Gone.” The budding pop star didn’t dress up and performed on stage barefoot. Throughout the performance, water rained on the stage and the crowd. According to Clarkson, it was one of her favorite performances: “Performing ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ in the rain for the [2005] VMAs was one of my favorite moments on television! I hate being all dressed up, so the fact that I was soaking wet with mascara smeared all over my face was definitely the highlight of my evening!”

7. Madonna, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears – 2003

Madonna, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears gave one of the most controversial, but memorable, performances at the 2003 VMAs. The two former Mouseketeers sported wedding dresses and sang “Like a Virgin.” The queen of pop then jumped out of a cake wearing a tux and sang and danced alongside her two protégés, kissing them both on the lips. All three, with Missy Elliott, then sang Madonna’s new single “Hollywood.”

6. Michael Jackson – 1995

Michael Jackson opened the 1995 VMAs with a 15 minute medley of some of his biggest hits, including “Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Scream,” “Beat It,” “Thriller,” “Black or White,” “Billie Jean,” “Dangerous,” “Smooth Criminal” and “You Are Not Alone.” The king of pop gave an extraordinary performance. He had no set, used few special effects and practically out-danced his backup dancers.

5. Pink – 2009

Pink got acrobatic at the 2009 VMAs. Held in place by a harness, she proved herself to be quite the daredevil as she performed a medley of “Sober” and “So What” dangling 60 feet above the stage. Assisted by a male acrobat, she successfully completed a series of high-risk tumbles. At one point, as she dangled upside down, she continued to sing. Rumor has it that Pink was singing live for the entire performance, which makes her a superstar in our eyes.

4. Janet Jackson – 2009

Janet Jackson kicked off the 2009 VMAs with a tribute to her brother, Michael. She literally burst on stage to recreate the duet she and her brother recorded together in 1995, “Scream.” With Michael on-screen, she recreated the performance by dancing in unison on stage. Chris Judd, Jennifer Lopez’s ex husband, and Tina Landon, Janet’s choreographer, were some of the dancers that joined her on stage for the performance.

3. Britney Spears – 2000

Britney Spears blew everyone away with her 2000 VMA performance. She began by singing a breathy version of the Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” wearing a black suit and a fedora. Halfway through her performance, she ripped the suit off, revealing a sequinned flesh-colored bodysuit. She then broke into her hit “Oops…I Did It Again.” The striptease combined with the heavy dance routine had everyone talking!

2. Chris Brown and Rihanna – 2007

Chris Brown and Rihanna were easily one of the best things about the 2007 VMAs. The young singers gave a show-stopping performance that included Brown dancing and singing to his hit “Wall to Wall” and then performing a medley of Michael Jackson’s “Blue Jean” and his own hit “Kiss Kiss,” with Rihanna coming out in between to sing “Umbrella.” Brown’s amazing footwork made him look like a young Michael Jackson.

1. Britney Spears – 2001

When it comes to VMA performances, no one can top Britney Spears’ 2001 performance of “I’m a Slave 4 U.” Wearing a skimpy green bikini top and some super short shorts, the pop princess debuted her new single in a jungle-type setting complete with caged tigers. Her dancing was exquisite and her body never looked better. One of the most memorable parts of the performance was when the pop princess danced with a large albino python draped over her shoulders.




Cate has a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature and has been the Managing Editor of Fame10 for more than 6 years. Despite having a love for the works of Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy and Lord Byron, she also has an intense fascination with pop culture. When she isn’t writing for Fame10, she’s planning her next big adventure in Southeast Asia.