The MTV Video Music Awards are essentially the only ceremony left where you’re mocked for not looking ridiculous. Mariah Carey‘s tasteful, chocolate covered gown at the ’98 VMAs? Elton John‘s blue suit for his performance with Guns ‘N Roses in ’92? Shamefully tasteful. Here are 10 stars who weren’t afraid to chill us at the VMAs.
10. Cher, 2010: Turning Back Time For The Hell Of It
You can just picture the conversation that led to Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” moment at the 2010 VMAs. A producer prodded her and prodded her and Cher threw up her arms and muttered, “OK, whatever, I’ll do it. Whatever.” Thank God she did. The woman Mackie’d out, and we’re all the richer for it.
9. Whitney Houston, 2000: Fabulous, Yet Ridiculous
I forget sometimes that in 2000, we were living in a very “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” world where even Whitney Houston felt obligated to wear gaudy furs, bare midriffs, and shiny-ass jeans. I’ll never forgive you, J-Lo, but at least Whitney pulled off a certain amount of kickass flair here. (By the way, Jennifer Lopez looks boringly tacky at EVERY VMAs, for your information.)
8. Missy Elliott, 1997: Supa Dupa Trashbag Pupa
God, I love classic Missy Elliott. She scooped up Video of the Year for “Work It” in ’02, but it’s hard not to cherish her Hefty Bag heyday from ’97 ceremony. M.I.A. tried to achieve this glamor in later years, but only Missy was (literal) trash with class.
7. Lady Gaga, 2009: Where The Wild Things Are? Under That Mask?
As Eminem calcified into a plastic-surgerized Lego man behind her, Lady Gaga took the stage wearing this shocking, very vermilion lace situation that concealed her face. She only wore 45 other outfits the same evening, but I assure you this was the most insane of the bunch.
6. Madonna: Shanti Ash-Tacky
To me, this is one of Madonna’s most glorious moments, a totally unexpected Aztec/Fairuza Balk moment that will never, ever be duplicated. She ran off with Video of the Year that ceremony for “Ray of Light,” and I hope she pumped that Moonman like a barbell for years thereafter.