The Most Jaw-Dropping Opening Performances In VMA History

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Each year, MTV’s Video Music Awards boasts a fantasy lineup of every artist you’d ever want to see in concert. But unlike many festival extravaganzas, the most crucial performance is usually the opener. This prized slot always goes to the superstar guaranteed to bring the gasps with awesomely unexpected antics. Among the unforgettable opening acts are Britney Spears and Madonna‘s infamous kiss, Rihanna and A$AP Rocky‘s sizzling duet, and Eminem leading an army of bleach-blonde Eminems through New York City. This year, reigning pop queen Ariana Grande has been tapped to open the proceedings. How will she measure up to these past greats? We can’t wait to find out!

Start to mentally and emotionally prepare for this year’s festivities by rewatching the absolute greatest openings in VMA history. Don’t forget to tune into MTV this Sunday, August 24th, at 9/8c for the main event!

“Like A Virgin” by Madonna (1984)

Madonna at the MTV Video Music Awards

Madonna kicked off the first-ever VMAs in appropriately irreverent style by rolling around onstage in a wedding dress. The appearance went on to rank among her most iconic performances of all time.

 

Pee-Wee Herman’s Comeback (1991)

Pee Wee Herman

After getting arrested in 1991 for public masturbation and becoming the punchline of every joke churned out by the media, Pee-Wee Herman shook off the criticism and made his comeback at the VMAs with a famous (and ironic) opening line.

 

Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley Kiss (1994)

Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]

When the King of Pop and the daughter of the King of Rock shared a kiss onstage, the moment became an instant moment to remember in music history.

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