7. Beyoncé, 2011
"Love On Top"
When Beyonce strutted on stage at the 2011 VMAs in her tux-inspired suit and belted out "I want you to feel the love growing inside of me," the internet was freshly alight with reports that she was pregnant following a glowing walk down the red carpet. Her energetic performance of "Love On Top" keyed into the news that she and Jay Z were expecting, but when she dropped the mic, unbuttoned her jacket, winked and rubbed her belly with a big smile, viewers everywhere were captivated.
6. Madonna, 1990
Talk about a cultural mashup: Madonna and co., clad in 18th century Marie Antoinette garb, taught the world how to Vogue, a performance style popularized in underground gay dance clubs of the '80s. Cue in one incredibly animated pants-less dancer, and VMA magic is made.
5. Bon Jovi, 1989
"Livin' On A Prayer"/"Wanted Dead or Alive"
In a performance largely credited with inspiring MTV's massively popular "Unplugged" series, Bon Jovi brought its hair pop-metal down to earth for some acoustic jams. Jon snapped and strummed along with Richie Sambora's double guitar, as the two brought down the house with the band's biggest hits, portrayed this time in a more modest light.
4. Chris Brown (& Rihanna), 2007
"Wall To Wall"/("Umbrella")/"Kiss Kiss"
The carnival-esque Charlie Chaplin routine to "Wall To Wall" that opened Chris Brown's nearly six minutes on stage performing at the 2007 VMAs was just the beginning. Soon he was leaping among the seven mini-stages in the audience. But things truly kicked into high gear when Rihanna, in a sexy black ensemble, joined him for an interlude of her hit "Umbrella." Lest he let her steal the show, he grooved into full-on classic Michael Jackson mode with "Billie Jean" inspired moves before breaking into his own "Kiss Kiss."