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The MTV Video Music Awards have become a stage for musicians to be bold since the awards ceremony premiered in 1984. Madonna’s performance of “Like A Virgin” at the inaugural show would set the tone for the performances at to follow.

The 2021 MTV VMAs are scheduled to air Sunday night. Musicians like Camila Cabello, Justin Bieber and many more will perform at this year’s show while Doja Cat will host.

Ahead of the Starry Night, here’s a look back at some of the most memorable performances.

Madonna (1984, 1990)

Madonna performed at the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on September 14, 1984.
(Photo by Frank Micelotta / Getty Images)

Madonna put on two stunning performances during her time in the spotlight at VMAs. First, in 1984 when she performed “Like A Virgin”, and again in 1990 with her performance of “Vogue”.

Both performances cemented Madonna’s legacy as a provocative performer.

VMAS 2021: HOW TO WATCH, WHO PERFORMS AND ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

Britney Spears (2000, 2001)

MTV VMA 2021: A look back at some of the most memorable performances of all time

Britney Spears (wearing David Dalrymple) at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on 9/7/2000.
(Photo by Frank Micelotta / Getty Images)

Britney Spears had two memorable performances at the VMAs. In 2000, the singer first performed solo at the awards ceremony. Spears wore a dazzled nude outfit and performed his hit songs “Oops! … I Did It Again” and “Satisfaction”.

The pop star managed to get noticed the following year as she showed off her skin and danced with a tiger and a python on “I’m a Slave 4 U”.

Alicia Keys (2001)

MTV VMA 2021: A look back at some of the most memorable performances of all time

Alicia Keys rehearses for the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York on 09/04/2001.
(Photo by Frank Micelotta / Getty Images)

Also in 2001, Alicia Keys stunned fans with her performance of “Fallin”. The musician started her performance on the piano where she played a version of “Für Elise”.

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Kelly Clarkson (2005)

MTV VMA 2021: A look back at some of the most memorable performances of all time

Kelly Clarkson performs “Since You’ve Been Gone” on the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.
(Photo by Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic via Getty Images)

Kelly Clarkson had the honor of performing at the VMAs in 2005, three years after winning “American Idol”. Her performance of her hit song “Since You’ve Been Gone” made history due to the rain that poured down while Clarkson sang on stage.

Lady Gaga (2009)

MTV VMA 2021: A look back at some of the most memorable performances of all time

Lady Gaga performs onstage during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on September 13, 2009 in New York City.
(Photo by Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic)

Lady Gaga’s performance of “Paparazzi” in 2009 left fans speechless as she ended the song suspended from the ceiling by her arm, which was covered in fake blood. “Paparazzi” also won two VMAs for Best Special Effects and Best Art Direction.

Beyoncé (2011)

MTV VMA 2021: A look back at some of the most memorable performances of all time

Beyonce performs onstage during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards at Nokia Theater LA Live in Los Angeles, California.
(Photo by Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic via Getty Images)

Beyoncé’s 2011 VMA performance of “Love on Top” left fans in awe as she used the performance to announce her pregnancy. After she finished performing the hit song, Beyoncé opened her hot pink Dolce & Gabbana costume and showed off her baby bump.

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Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke (2013)

MTV VMA 2021: A look back at some of the most memorable performances of all time

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke perform onstage during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center on August 25, 2013 in Brooklyn, New York.
(Photo by Andrew H. Walker / WireImage via Getty Images)

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke shocked fans with their controversial performance of “Blurred Lines” in 2013. Cyrus’ twerk on stage made the performance one of the most talked about musical performances of all time.

Cyrus and Thicke’s show also featured giant dancing bears and foam fingers.

Jennifer Lopez (2018)

MTV VMA 2021: A look back at some of the most memorable performances of all time

Jennifer Lopez performs onstage during the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
(Photo by Michael Loccisano / Getty Images for MTV)

Jennifer Lopez’s mix of songs in 2018 will be forever remembered by fans. The star sang 14 songs during her performance. Lopez started with “Waiting For Tonight” before moving on to “On the Floor”, “Dance Again” and “Jenny From the Block” among others.

Lizzo (2019)

MTV VMA 2021: A look back at some of the most memorable performances of all time

Lizzo performs onstage during the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards at the Prudential Center on August 26, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey.
(Photo by Kevin Mazur / WireImage via Getty Images)

Lizzo had the honor of performing at the VMAs shortly after gaining fame with her song “Truth Hurts”. She performed one of her other hit songs, “Good as Hell”, on the 2019 show.

The musician’s performance is well known due to the use of an inflatable butt and Lizzo pulling tequila out of a dazzled flask.


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