Britney Spears probably won't be gracing us with her presence this year at the MTV Video Music Awards — she's got a big event of her own coming up, since she's due to give birth soon. While going into labor at the VMAs would top her previous performances, we don't recommend it. And besides, she's made enough other unforgettable appearances to tide us over until she gets back into party shape.
Here are the top five most memorable Britney VMA moments ...
5. The First Time
Britney's first performance at the VMAs, at New York's Metropolitan Opera House in 1999, was shared with then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake and his group, 'NSYNC. The stage was decked out like a classroom — inspired by her hit "... Baby One More Time" — but she showed she was no ordinary schoolgirl in her tight, spangly outfit. In retrospect, yes, she did look that innocent (see "'NSYNC, Britney Tag-Team On VMA Stage").
4. The Biker Chick
Britney had become an almost squeaky-clean sex symbol by 2002, so when she rocked a full-on fetish biker look at Radio City Music Hall, it was a bit strange — stranger still when the reason for her being onstage was to present a birthday cake to Michael Jackson. Jacko thought the glitter-dusted treble clef on the cake table was an "artist of the millennium" award (see "Christina Strips, Britney Goes Biker, Pink Shows Off Tats On VMA Red Carpet"), which he promptly and gratefully "accepted" as Britney smiled nearby.
3. Union of the Snake
Britney played snake charmer in her 2001 performance of "I'm a Slave 4 U," angering animal-rights advocates but delighting her fans (see "Britney, J. Lo, 'NSYNC Turn To Jungle, Ja Rule, Jacko For VMA Performances"). Not quite the sweaty, near-orgy of her music video for the track, but close enough.
2. The Strip Tease
Britney's take on the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" may not have been musically innovative, but tearing off her suit to reveal a flesh-toned outfit as she ripped into "Oops! ... I Did It Again" at the 2000 VMAs solidified her sex-symbol status (see "Britney, Eminem, 'NSYNC Get Wild, Weird For VMA Sets"). Who can blame any drooling fans who might have hoped that she'd actually take everything off?
1. The Kiss
Previously, Britney had been all tease. But with Madonna, she delivered (see "Beyonce, 50, Mary J., Metallica Overshadowed By Two Little Kisses"). Unlike another famous VMA kiss — the one that supposedly proved Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley's undying love — this one in 2003 did anything but turn viewers' stomachs. TiVo and VCR-equipped Britney fans replayed that moment over and over as if it were free soft-core porn. No wonder Britney's sitting out this year's VMAs — how, especially in her present condition, could she ever top that one?