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The Rob’s Favorite Forgotten Performances From the MTV VMAs

The MTV Video Music Awards are coming up this Sunday.  I’m really excited, as I think the show is the most important night in music…  Yes, more important than even the Grammy Awards.  This morning on the show, we discussed Rolling Stone’s list of the Top 24 VMA moments.  There list was pretty solid, I thought.  But they covered the HUGE moments that everybody talks about.  Here are a few lesser-remembered moments that I love from the history of the MTV Video Music Awards.



I’ve never been a huge Kelly Clarkson fan.  In 2005, Kelly was in the peak of her social relevance and hotness.  This “wet t-shirt” performance of “Since U Been Gone” is the sexiest I’ve ever seen her look, and all I remember from the 2005 VMAs was how jiggly and “attentive” Kelly’s ‘Clarksons’ were once they got drenched in the water.  Look for yourself!

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Everybody talks about Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” performance, or her make-out with Britney Spears…  But my favorite performance from the Material Girl was actually in 1998 during a trippy version of “Ray of Light.”  I never particularly liked the song, but about three minutes into the performance, she strips down to her sheer white wife-beater.  To a 15-year-old version of me, it was like Madonna was performing completely topless.  I had taped the show on a VHS tape when it first aired 15 years ago, and I was thankful, because her nipples protruded so much that MTV actually censored them on subsequent broadcasts of the show.  Even today if you pop in that VHS, you can tell a noticeable ‘wear’ on the film when this performance happens…  Thanks Madonna 😉

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I’ve always loved this performance, I don’t really know why.  It’s a HUGE collaboration of some of hip hop’s true legends.  The music is on point.  But I think what I love most about this performance is the ENERGY!!  Especially when all hell breaks loose during Busta’s set at the end.  It still blows my mind that more people don’t talk about this performance.

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GUNS N’ ROSES (2002):

I need to make it very clear, Guns N’ Roses is my favorite band of all time.  And while the band that closed out the 2002 MTV VMAs was NOT the band I grew up listening to, I was completely stoked and shocked when Jimmy Fallon said “Guns N’ f—ing Roses.”  Because it was not the band’s original line-up (Only Axl Rose and pianist Dizzy Read survived the band’s 1993 split), this performance was critically PANNED.  Listen, I love Slash, Duff, and the rest of the early lineup of GN’R as much as anybody, if not more so…  But this is a SOLID performance!  It sandwiched the first taste of new Guns music (“Madagascar”) in between two super-high-energy 1987 favorites (“Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City”).  Do I wish it was Slash up there instead of some weirdo with a chicken bucket on his head?  Yes, I do.  But this performance probably ranks as my all-time favorite performance from the VMAs.

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