Here's Proof Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande Will Always Reign Supreme at the VMAs

Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande head into tonight's VMAs with nine nominations each. The pop icons are set to take the stage with a performance of their hit collab, "Rain On Me."

By McKenna Aiello Aug 30, 2020 1:00 PMTags
Watch: Best Music Videos of 2020: VMA Nominations

At this year's MTV VMAs, it's legends only. 

Case in point: Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande, who head into tonight's telecast with nine nominations each. As the most-nominated artists, it makes perfect sense that they'd join forces for what's sure to be a showstopping performance of their hit collab, "Rain On Me."

The pop music mavens and close friends are no strangers to the VMAs stage after all. In fact, both Gaga and Ari are responsible for some of the greatest moments in VMAs history. 

Between Ariana's evolution from up and coming pop darling to a fully realized chart topper, and Gaga's endless domination of past VMAs ceremonies, we can't wait to see what they have in store in just a few short hours. 

MTV VMAs: Riskiest Fashion Moments of All-Time

In celebration of our forthcoming trip to Chromatica, look back at the duo's unforgettable contributions to the VMAs hall of fame. 

On the Rise

Forget Kanye West and Taylor Swift's onstage debacle. The 2009 VMAs bore witness to Gaga in all her glory as she hung from the rafters covered in (fake) blood. It was a historic VMAs debut for the then 23-year-old, who took home three awards, including Best New Artist. 

No "Poker Face" Necessary

Gaga brought Kermit the Frog as her date to the 2009 soiree—because of course she did. "It's our first date, but we've been eyeing each other for a while," she teased on the red carpet. 

Cat Valentine Who?

What Ariana lacked in Gaga-esque theatrics at her very first VMAs, she made up for in showstopping vocals and a bouncy ponytail that would ultimately become her signature 'do. The pop singer's pre-show performance of "Baby I" and "The Way" helped establish Ariana as so much more than a Nickelodeon child star.  

Girl Power

New year, new Ari! At the following VMAs in 2014, she got to "Break Free" from her bubblegum persona with a kickass performance alongside Nicki Minaj and Jessie J. The powerhouse trio opened the show with "Bang Bang," and Ariana won her first VMA for Best Pop Video. 

She Has the Beef

The 2010 VMAs will always be remembered for Gaga's infamous meat dress, her third and final ensemble of the evening. After sweeping eight of the 13 categories she was nominated in, Gaga spoke to Ellen DeGeneres about the inspiration behind the daring look.

"I, as you know," she told Ellen, "am the most judgment-free human being on Earth. However, it has many interpretations. But for me this evening it's that if we don't stand up for what we believe in, if we don't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're gonna have as much rights as the meat on our bones. And I am not a piece of meat."

You Want a Piece of Me?

Gaga went method for the 2011 VMAs, appearing as her male alter ego, Jo Calderone. The brooding Italian even presented Britney Spears with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, however she rejected Gaga—err, Jo—after attempting to recreate the pop princess' VMAs kiss with Madonna. "I've done that already," Brit teased. 

Break a Sweat

Ariana and Nicki brought the heat as they reunited on the VMAs stage in 2016. Their performance of "Side to Side" included a full on spin class, and TBH we're burning calories just thinking about it. 

Part of 1D's World

Gaga channeled her inner Little Mermaid at the 2013 ceremony, and she stopped for this photo with One Direction. 'Nuff said.


Fresh off their whirlwind engagement, Ariana brought Pete Davidson as her plus-one to the 2018 VMAs. The couple's red carpet debut dominated headlines that night, but two months later the engagement was off. Fortunately for fans, we'll always have this moment (plus their many matching tattoos and pet pig) to remember them by. 

God Is a Woman

That same year, Ariana reimagined The Last Supper for her performance of "God Is a Woman." The visually stunning spectacle concluded with a heartwarming cameo from the star's beloved mom, grandmother and her cousin. 

The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards kicks off tonight, Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. E! News is bringing you nonstop coverage of the show, so be sure to check back for all the must-know details!