Biggest MTV VMAs Snubs and Surprises of All Time

Check out some shocking VMA moments over the years ahead of the 2018 ceremony

By Corinne Heller Aug 15, 2018 10:00 AMTags
Kanye West, Taylor Swift, VMAKevin Mazur/

Remember when Kanye West felt Beyoncé was snubbed in a key MTV VMAs category and decided to air his grievances onstage, at winner Taylor Swift's expense?

Or how about when Britney SpearsMadonna and Christina Aguilera turned the heat way, way, way up?

The MTV Video Music Awards are known for their shocking moments—some planned, some unplanned. The 2018 ceremony returns to New York City's Radio City Music Hall this month and fans are waiting in anticipation to see who will take home an award, who will be shockingly snubbed and who will do something so crazy that will make everybody's jaws drop.

Check out some of the biggest MTV VMAs snubs and surprises over the years.

1984: Michael Jackson Snubbed

His hit video "Thriller," one of the most famous videos of all time, was nominated for Video of the Year and lost to The Cars' "You Might Think."

2017: Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee Snubbed

Their YouTube record-breaking music video for "Despacito" was not nominated, although the song was nominated for song of summer.

1994: Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley's Surprise

The King of Pop and Elvis Presley's daughter, his new wife at the time, flaunted their love to the theater audience and the rest of the world with an awkward kiss.

1999: Lil's Kim and Diana Ross' Surprise

Lil' Kim showed up in a sparkling outfit that included a pasty and Diana got a little touchy-feely onstage.

2003: Britney Spears, Madonna and Christina Aguilera's Surprise

The veteran Queen of Pop sensually kissed both singers onstage during a performance.

2006: David Bowie and Prince Snubbed

The rock icons died in 2016 and did not receive tributes at the VMAs that year, as was expected.

2009: Kanye West vs. Taylor Swift

The two have been feuding since the rapper famously interrupted the singer's acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV VMAs. He said Beyoncé should have won Best Female Video instead of her. Bey later won Video of the Year and brought Taylor back onstage to allow her to "have her moment."

Taylor and Kanye later reconciled but their feud was reignited in 2016 when he released the song "Famous," which contains the lyrics, "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous." Kim later leaked partial audio of a phone call between her husband and Taylor, which he discusses the track with her before its release. The singer said she never approved the "bitch" lyric and famously added, ""Being falsely printed as a liar when I was never given the full story or played any part of the song is character assassination. I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009."

2010: Lady Gaga's Surprise

The singer showed up in a meat dress. A dress. Made. Out. Of. Meat.

2011: Beyoncé's Surprise

She announced she and Jay-Z were expecting their first child together when she showed off a baby bump on the red carpet and then at the end of her performance of "Love On Top."

2013: Miley Cyrus' Surprise

The former star of Disney's Hannah Montana shocked viewers with a sexy new look and a raunchy performance, during which she twerked against co-performer Robin Thicke while wearing a foam finger.

2015: Nicki Minaj vs. Miley Cyrus

Miley had hosted the ceremony. Before the event, she incurred the rapper's wrath by making negative remarks about her in a New York Times interview. Nicki confronted her publicly onstage at the VMAs while accepting an award, asking her "What's Good?" and calling her a bitch.

"We all do interviews," Miley later responded. "We all know how they manipulate s--t. Congratuf--kinglations, Nicki."

2015: Snubbed Nicki Minaj vs. Taylor Swift

In 2015, Nicki vented online after it was revealed her "Anaconda" music video wasn't nominated for Video of the Year at the 2015 MTV VMAs. She said, "If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year." Taylor was nominated for her "Bad Blood" video, which featured a slew of models and actresses. She interpreted Nicki's tweet to be a diss on her, saying, "I've done nothing but love & support you. It's unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot.."

Nicki then said she never said a word about her, adding, "I love u just as much. But u should speak on this." Taylor apologized and she and Nicki ended up performing together at the VMAs.

2018: Taylor Swift Snubbed

Taylor's fans were left seething after it was revealed that her "Look What You Made Me Do" video, largely seen as a clapback against her haters and a response to Kanye and Kim, was not nominated for a major MTV VMA.

2018: Missy Elliott Snubbed (Again)

For years, her fans have campaigned for her to receive the honorary Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, the show's lifetime achievement honor for music videos.

Biggest MTV VMAs Snubs and Surprises

The 2018 MTV VMAs will air live on Monday, August 20, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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