Britney Spears & *NSYNC "Baby One More Time" (1999)
Obviously we've all seen the Britney Spears "Slave 4 U" 100 million times, along with her "Satisfaction" performance, so why not focus on this little gem from 1999 that also features *NSYNC? Classic. Also, the guy at 0:29... who was that? He used to be like, semi-recognizable but now I can't remember why. Was he just Britney's back-up dancer forever? If you know the answer to this mystery, email us. Forreal.
Whitney Houston "How Will I Know" (1986)
This was only a couple years after the VMA awards started and there aren't any crazy costumes or frills going on in this performance, but how cute is Whitney in this? She was only 23! And like, just casually k i l l i n g it. ILU, Whitney.
Madonna "Vogue" (1990)
Obviously we've also seen Madonna's "Like A Virgin" performance 5 trillion times, so let's take a look at her equally fun performance of "Vogue" from 1990. After looking videos up for this post, I realized Madonna's been at the VMAs like, every year since the dawn of time. Even her award presentations were exciting: here she is with an unannounced Letterman right after she did a profanity-laced interview with him. (Also, best interview ever, TBH.)
Michael Jackson (1995)
Not much to say about this because MJ speaks for himself, but I sure hope there comes a time in my life when I get to stand over a grate in a flowing white shirt while Slash plays a guitar solo next to me as we both get blasted with air.
Nirvana "Lithium" (1992)
A solid performance and then you get to the end and Krist Novoselic tosses his bass into the air, only to have it smack him in the head, and then Kurt smashes the amp with his guitar while Dave Grohl repeatedly says, "HI AXL!" (Which is why Dave Grohl has been, and will always be, the best guy in the world.)
Eminem "The Real Slim Shady" (2000)
Whatever, we've seen this a million times, but it's a super fun performance! Yeah, YOU HEARD ME, EMINEM. It was FUN.
Lady GaGa "Paparazzi" (2009)
Man, say what you will about Lady GaGa nowadays, but this performance was out of control. The costumes and the piano and the bleeding! And then hearing everyone gasping about the bleeding. So good. Since she's opening the VMAs this year, we can all probably expect something big again. Hopefully it will not be her head on a swan.