The 15 Best VMAs Performances of All Time, From Madonna to Beyoncé (2023)

It’s been more than 30 years since the first MTV Video Music Awards, and in that time dozens of artists, from Madonna to Britney Spears to Ariana Grande, have performed on the Moon Person-decorated stage. But what are the best VMAs performances of all time? We looked back on the most OMG moments from awards shows past to find out.

The VMAs held their first awards show on September 14, 1984, with Madonna, Tina Turner, David Bowie, Rod Stewart and more as performers. Since then, the VMAs have become a cultural phenomenon, with millions of viewers each year. Originally created as an alternative for the Grammy Awards for music videos, the VMAs have become their own milestone for artists in the music industry coveting the awards show’s famous Moon Person award. (The name of the award was changed from Moon Man to Moon Person in 2017 to be inclusive of all genders.) Since 2006, viewers have also been able to vote for their favorite music videos on MTV’s website, making the VMAs one of most fan-oriented awards shows in Hollywood.

But back to our original question: What are the best VMAs performances of all time? In our opinion, here are 15 music award performances that will be remembered for years to come.

Madonna – “Like a Virgin” (1984)

Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” performance at the 1984 VMAs (a.k.a. the first-ever VMAs) is the OG of VMAs performances. The song started with Madonna emerging from a 17-foot wedding cake wearing a wedding dress. However, the most iconic moment from the performance was when Madonna kicked off one of her white high heel shoes. To cover up the mistake, she rolled around on the ground. “So I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just pretend I meant to do this,’ and I dove on the floor and I rolled around,” she told Billboard in 2014. “And, as I reached for the shoe, the dress went up. And the underpants were showing.”

Eminem – “The Real Slim Shady” / “The Way I Am” (2000)

Eminem took home three VMAs in 2000, including Video of the Year for “The Real Slim Shady.” The rapper performed the track, along with his song “The Way I Am,” at that year’s VMAs. A highlight from the performance was when Eminem performed among an army of “Slim Shady” look-alikes dressed in the same white T-shirt and blue jeans as him. “The idea to have all those Slim Shadys was sparked by “The Real Slim Shady” video. I think it was originally Dr. Dre’s idea to create Eminems. The whole idea of the song was—there’s a lot of people like me, but I’m the real deal. And also that there’s a lot of carbon copies, but there’s a Slim Shady in all of us. We wanted to recreate that for the show with MTV,” Eminem’s manager told MTV in 2015.

(Video) Top 10 Memorable Performances from the MTV VMAs

Alicia Keys – “Fallin'” (2001)

Keys took home the award for Best New Artist in a Video at the 2001 VMAs, but one of her highlights from the night was her performance of “Fallin.'” The performance started with Keys at the piano as she played her version of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Für Elise” before she went into a soulful, vocal-filled performance of “Fallin.'”

Britney Spears – “I’m a Slave 4 U” (2001)

Spears may have the most memorable (and controversial) VMAs moment of all time. At the 2001 VMAs, she performed her song “I’m a Slave 4 U” with a host of live animals, including a tiger and a massive albino snake draped over her shoulders. Two decades later, and it’s hard to forget the image of Spears dancing on the VMAs stage with a snake in her arms.

Beyoncé – “Baby Boy” / “Crazy in Love” (2003)

Beyoncé took home her first VMAs in 2003 for her music video for “Crazy in Love” featuring her now-husband Jay-Z. At the VMAs, Beyoncé also performed the track, as well as the song “Baby Boy,” in a performance to be remembered for years to come. While Queen Bey has performed on the VMAs stage countless times since then, we’ll always remember her first performance and her iconic on-stage look.

Britney Spears, Madonna, Christina Aguilera & Missy Elliot – “Like a Virgin” / “Hollywood” / “Work It” (2003)

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Collab alert. The 2003 VMAs featured not one but four music divas in one performance. Spears, Madonna, Aguilera and Elliot teamed up for a performance of “Like a Virgin,” “Hollywood” and “Work It.” The performance started with a duet of “Like a Virgin” with Spears and Aguilera followed by the two performing “Hollywood” with Madonna herself. Then, Elliott closed the performance with “Work It,” which won Video of the Year that night. Oh, and who could forget Madonna kissing Aguilera and Spears during the performance?

Kelly Clarkson – “Since U Been Gone” (2005)

The 2005 VMAs came three years after Clarkson won the first season of American Idol. But she did not come to play. The pop star took the stage with a performance of “Since U Been Gone” (which won Best Female Video and Best Pop Video at the awards show.) The performance is perhaps best remembered for the full-on rain that poured on Clarkson as she belted out the pop-rock track’s lyrics.

Lady Gaga – “Paparazzi” (2009)

The 2009 VMAs are remembered for many moments. Among them is Gaga’s performance of “Paparazzi.” (The song’s music video also won two VMAs for Best Special Effects and Best Art Direction.) The performance started with a slowed-down, symphonic rendition of “Poker Face” before Gaga descended the stage and went into “Paparazzi.” The performance ended with a bang as Gaga hung herself by her arm in the middle of the stage and covered herself in fake blood.

Taylor Swift – “You Belong With Me” (2009)

Swift’s time at the 2009 VMAs may have been overshadowed by her moment with Kanye West, where the rapper stormed the stage to claim that Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” deserved to win Best Female Video over her, but, for those who remember, Swift also had a killer VMAs performance. Despite the emotions, the singer put everything to the side for an upbeat performance of “You Belong With Me,” which was performed throughout New York City before finishing at Radio City Hall.

(Video) Madonna, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera & Missy Eliot - Like A Virgin/Hollywood (VMA 2003) 4K

Beyoncé – “Love on Top” (2011)

As you can tell, Beyoncé has had several memorable VMAs moments. Another came when she performed “Love on Top” at the 2011 awards show. Dressed in a bedazzled suit, the showstopper happened when Beyoncé revealed that she was pregnant with her first child (now known as Blue Ivy) in the very last second of the performance. She announced the news as she turned to her side and rubbed her baby bump on live TV. The show was the VMAs most-watched broadcast on MTV at the time, with 12 million viewers.

*NSYNC (2013)

Eleven years after their hiatus, *NSYNC reunited in 2013 for a performance of two their songs at the VMAs. Justin Timberlake, Joey Fatone, JC Chasezm, Lance Bass and Chris Kirkpatrick took the VMAs stage with a surprise performance of “Girlfriend” and “Bye Bye Bye.” The moment happened during Timberlake’s medley of his solo music, which included performances of songs like “SexyBack” and “Suit & Tie.”

Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, Jessie J – “Break Free” / “Anaconda” / “Bang Bang” (2014)

Minaj, Grande and Jessie J were the pop divas heard around the world when they performed “Break Free,” “Anaconda” and “Bang Bang” at the 2014 VMAs. The nigh started with Grande’s solo performance of “Break Free” before Minaj went in with a performance of her rap song “Anaconda.” Minaj and Grande closed out the concert with Jessie J as the three performed their track “Bang Bang.”

Beyoncé Medley (2016)

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By far, the highlight of the 2016 VMAs was Beyoncé medley of songs from her album, Lemonade. The performance started with Lemonade’s first track, “Pray You Catch Me,” before transitioning into songs like “Hold Up,” “Sorry” and “Don’t Hurt Yourself.” (Bey also included elements of her past track, “Countdown,” during her VMAs performance.) She closed out the concert with “Formation,” which won several awards that year, including Video of the Year.

Logic, Alessia Cara, Khalid – “1-800-273-8255” (2017)

Logic, Cara and Khalid took to the stage at the 2017 VMAs for an emotional performance of “1-800-273-8255,” which is the phone number for the American National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. After their performance, the Lifeline’s Director of Communications reported that the NSPL experienced a 50 percent surge in calls for their hotline. The emotional aspect of the performance was also boosted by Kesha, who introduced the performers.

Jennifer Lopez Medley (2018)

J-Lo performed a whopping 14 songs at the 2018 VMAs, which is enough of a reason for her to be on this list of the best VMAs performance of all time. She started the medley with a performance of “Waiting For Tonight” before transitioning to songs like “On the Floor,” “Dance Again” and “Jenny From the Block.” Accompanying her was DJ Khaled for “Jenny From the Block” and “Dinero,” as well as Ja Rule for “I’m Real” and “Ain’t It Funny.”

The 15 Best VMAs Performances of All Time, From Madonna to Beyoncé (1)

from StyleCaster

(Video) Madonna - Vogue (Live at the MTV Awards 1990) [Official Video]


Who won the most Vmas in history? ›

Beyoncé performed a 16-minute medley of her album Lemonade and won eight awards, including Video of the Year for "Formation". She became the most awarded artist in VMA history with 24 moonmen, surpassing Madonna's previous record of 20.

Who's performing at the Vmas 2022? ›

Among the slew of performers at the 2022 show were co-hosts Nicki Minaj and Jack Harlow, Lizzo, Måneskin, J Balvin, Anitta, Bad Bunny, Blackpink, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Flo Milli, and many more. Check out the full list of performers for the pre-show and main ceremony below.

Did Ariana Grande win anything at the Vmas? ›

Grande was nominated for five awards at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, including Artist of the Year and Video of the Year for "No Tears Left to Cry", but ultimately won Best Pop Video for the latter song.

What is the best Grammy performances of all time? ›

Here's to the next wave of stars to rock our world.
  • Stevie Wonder, 'You Haven't Done Nothing' (1975) ...
  • Taylor Swift, 'Cardigan/August/Willow,' (2021) ...
  • Beyonce, 'Love Drought/Sandcastles' (2017) ...
  • Prince and the Revolution, 'Baby I'm a Star' (1985) ...
  • Kendrick Lamar, 'The Blacker The Berry/Alright' (2016)
2 Apr 2022

Is Beyonce performing at the Vmas? ›

It probably comes as no surprise to fans that Beyoncé was nowhere to be seen at the MTV Video Music Awards tonight. The megastar's explosive single "Break My Soul" was in the running for Song of the Summer. Despite the nod, she forwent tonight's festivities.

Who won best music video? ›

Grammy Award for Best Music Video

Does Beyonce Have a Vanguard award? ›

2014: Beyoncé

Beyoncé's Vanguard win in 2014 was a family affair, with her husband Jay-Z and their daughter Blue Ivy presenting the pop star with her trophy.

Which rock band has the most VMAs? ›

Fall Out Boy was the first artist to win the award under its new name, Best Group, in 2007. BTS is the most-awarded act in the category, having won four times. They are also the only nominee to consecutively win the award, from 2019 to 2022.

Who won VMAs 2022? ›

2022 MTV Video Music Awards

How much are VMA Tickets? ›

How much are MTV Video Music Awards tickets? MTV Video Music Awards tickets generally range from $45 to $100, with an average starting cost of around $60. Balcony seats tend to be cheapest, with orchestra seats and reserved center seats averaging closer to $250. VIP and premium seating options can average around $300.

Where is 2022 VMAs held? ›

The 2022 MTV Video Music Awards were held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on August 28, 2022. The show was emceed by LL Cool J, Nicki Minaj, and Jack Harlow. Minaj was honored with the Video Vanguard Award, presented to her by her fans.

Who hasn't won a Grammy? ›

Some of the most popular musicians of all time have never won Grammy Awards. Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, and Blake Shelton have several nominations but no Grammys. Rappers Busta Rhymes and Tupac both have at least one nomination but zero wins.

Who Is Ariana Grande married to? ›

On a Saturday in mid-May, Ariana Grande channeled Audrey Hepburn's timeless elegance when she walked down the aisle wearing Vera Wang Haute to marry real estate agent Dalton Gomez at her home in Montecito, California.

How many times Selena Gomez won Grammy? ›

In addition, Gomez has earned several accolades for her philanthropic efforts, 15 Guinness World Records, and was honored with the McLean Award for mental health advocacy in 2019.
List of awards and nominations received by Selena Gomez.
Awards and nominations
Golden Raspberry Awards01
Guinness World Records1515
Gracie Awards11
Grammy Awards01
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Who has the best performance at the GRAMMYs 2022? ›

Arooj Aftab won the GRAMMY for Best Global Music Performance for "Mohabbat" at the 2022 GRAMMYs; she is the first artist to win in the new category. This is the composer's first GRAMMY win of the 2022 GRAMMYs, and of their career.

Who won best music video GRAMMY 2022? ›

Jon Batiste won Best Music Video for "Freedom,” off his album We Are, at the 2022 GRAMMYs.

Is Beyonce going to the VMAs 2022? ›

The singer and her husband Jay-Z skipped this year's Newark, New Jersey ceremony tonight. The two's decision to not attend is very reasonable, given neither is nominated in any categories. Beyoncé's new album Renaissance will be eligible for next year's award show.

Who won the first video Grammy? ›

Peter Gabriel, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Johnny Cash, Kendrick Lamar, and Beyoncé hold the record for the most wins as a performer in this category, with two each.
Grammy Award for Best Music Video
First awarded1984
Currently held by"Freedom" (2022)
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Who got video of the year? ›

Taylor Swift was the top winner at the 2022 Video Music Awards, with three wins – video of the year, best long-form video and best direction, all for “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor's Version).” This year's VMAs was held at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on Sunday (Aug. 28).

Which song was the first to win the award best video with a message? ›

The MTV Video Music Award for Video for Good is an award handed out at the yearly MTV Video Music Awards, first introduced at the 2011 ceremony. Originally named Best Video with a Message, the word "Social" was added to its name in 2013.

Who won best group of the year? ›

Lisa beat out the likes of BTS to take home the VMA for best K-pop, though BTS was named group of the year (they were not in attendance).

How many awards Does Taylor Swift have in total 2022? ›

three awards

What award did Taylor Swift just win? ›

Aug 28 (Reuters) - Taylor Swift won the top honor at MTV's annual Video Music Awards on Sunday for a 10-minute version of her 2012 breakup song "All Too Well" and made a surprise announcement of a new album coming in October.

Who won what awards at the VMAs? ›

MTV Video Music Awards

How can I watch the VMA 2022? ›

Will the 2022 VMAs Be Streaming? The VMAs will not be streaming live on Paramount+ this year, and will instead be streaming on the service on Aug. 29, the day after the ceremony. You can stream the VMAs live if you have Hulu+ Live TV or YouTube TV, which both have free trial periods.

Is BTS performing at VMAs 2022? ›

BTS did not make the trip to the U.S. for the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards. The seven-member K-pop group—composed of RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook—were nowhere to be seen during tonight's ceremony at New Jersey's Prudential Center.

Who is the youngest person to win a VMA? ›

Justin Bieber became the youngest person EVER to win an MTV VMA in 2010.

Can the public go to the VMAs? ›

All ticketed guests must be Fully Vaccinated and able to prove UPON entry to the Prudential Center.

Where can I buy VMA Tickets? ›

Find tickets for 'Mtv Vmas' at

When was VMAs 2022? ›

Is Taylor Swift going to the 2022 VMAs? ›

Taylor Swift took home the night's biggest prize – and announced a new album – during the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards, a chaotic, bleep-heavy show that nodded to music phenomena past and present, and featured a surprise appearance by Johnny Depp.

What time do the VMAs start 2022? ›

The MTV VMAs air tonight, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022. The annual award ceremony is in its 38th year and this year's Video Music Awards will air on MTV starting at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. The event will be simulcast on BET, BET Her, CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV2, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, Pop, TV Land and VH1.

Who did Nicki Minaj lose the Grammy to? ›

Grammys: Bon Iver beat Nicki Minaj 10 years ago - GoldDerby.

How many Grammy do Cardi B have? ›

List of awards and nominations received by Cardi B
Awards and nominations
Global Awards12
Grammy Awards19
iHeartRadio Music Awards425
Juno Awards01
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Who was the youngest individual artist to ever receive a Grammy win? ›

LeAnn Rimes

This “Blue” belter earned her Grammy street cred as the youngest individual winner ever. At the tender age of 14 years old (plus a 182 days), LeAnn Rimes accepted her first two trophies in 1997.

How many exes did Ariana Grande have? ›

The Victorious alum's past relationships include Graham Phillips from 2008 to 2011, Janoskians singer Jai Brooks from 2012 to 2014, The Wanted's Nathan Sykes briefly in 2013. Grande grew close to Big Sean in 2014, but they broke up eight months later due to conflicting tour schedules.

What is Ariana Grande's real name? ›

Ariana Grande's birth name is Ariana Grande-Butera. Grande is her mother's maiden name. She does not have a middle name, as she made very clear in this tweet. She is "Italian American, half Sicilian and half Abruzzese."

How old was Ariana Grande when she got married? ›

Singer Ariana Grande has shared a glimpse of life with her husband Dalton Gomez, three months after they tied the knot. Grande, 28, married the Los Angeles estate agent in May, watched by fewer than 20 people at an intimate ceremony at her property in Montecito, California.

Why didnt Selena go to Grammys? ›

"I have been talking about doing an all-Spanish project for the last 10 years and for one reason or another, it didn't come together," Gomez told in March 2021. "I am thankful I waited though because it would have been a completely different project 10 years ago.

Has Selena Gomez won a Oscar? ›

Selena Gomez

How many awards has Ariana Grande won? ›

Ariana Grande Awards

Ariana Grande has won 8 awards - MTV Video Music Award in 2019, MTV Video Music Award in 2019, MTV Video Music Award in 2019, MTV Video Music Award in 2018, Grammy Award in 2020, Grammy Award in 2018, American Music Award in 2016 and American Music Award in 2015.

Who has won the most Billboard awards? ›

Drake reigns as the artist with the most Billboard Music Awards of all-time, as he takes home five wins. He continues to hold the record with 34 wins total.

When did MTV awards start? ›

The MTV Movie & TV Awards (formerly the MTV Movie Awards) is a film and television awards show presented annually on MTV. The first MTV Movie Awards were presented in 1992.

Which female has the most Billboard Music Awards? ›

This weekend, Taylor Swift is nominated for seven trophies at The Billboard Music Awards. She currently holds the title of the most awarded female artist in history at the BBMAs. The country and pop music superstar won her first award in 2011 and became the most awarded artist before the decade ended.

What artist has the most #1 hits? ›

The Beatles have the most No. 1 hits of all time: 20. Though unclear for how long, the Beatles still reign supreme as the artist with the most No. 1 songs of all time.

What is the biggest award in the world? ›

Nobel Prize is the most coveted and prestigious international award for intellectual achievement in the world. This prestigious award is available in various fields like medicine, physics, literature, peace, economics and also chemistry.

Who won VMAs 2022? ›

2022 MTV Video Music Awards

What is the golden popcorn? ›

At the MTV Movie & TV Awards, winners take note of one of the heaviest awards in Hollywood, the golden popcorn statuette.

How are VMA awards decided? ›

Originally, all winners were determined by a special panel of music video directors, producers, and record company executives. Since the 2006 awards, winners of major categories are determined by viewers' votes through MTV's website, while the jury decides in the technical categories.


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