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All the MTV VMA performances we’re still talking about

A dazzled bottle of tequila. A foam finger. An albino Burmese python.

These are just a few of the things that helped move a handful of MTV Video Music Award performances from the original to the OMG. (You can totally imagine them right now, right?) Since their debut in 1984, MTV VMAs have become the scene of daring, provocative, boundary-pushing and downright outrageous performances of artists’ dreams.

It seems like pretty much everything and everything has happened on the VMA scene over its nearly four decades, whether it’s shocking stunts or wild sets, surprise guests or big news.

Yet each new ceremony manages to usher in a new series of performances that reflect culture and create a Hollywood moment to stand the test of time.

“Every VMA performance is what you are looking for,” Miley Cyrus told MTV in 2013, on the heels of his own infamous outing with Robin thicke. “You want to make history.”

The 2021 MTV Video Music Awards are already set to do just that given the return of a live audience for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, the star-studded show relied on pre-recordings and significant social distancing to bring the show to life amid an unprecedented time.

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