If anybody knows how to make a splash at the VMAs, it’s Britney Spears. Over the past nine years she’s dazzled us with stripteases, barely there outfits and some of the finest reptilian-accessorized dance moves ever to grace an MTV stage. With Britney’s 2008 VMA appearance looming on the horizon, we here at MTV News want to take a few moments to reminisce about her finest moments on the show.
Before her first VMA appearance in 1999, an anxious 17-year-old Spears went shopping for the big event with MTV News correspondent Serena Altschul, finally picking a sparkly, black Todd Oldham number. Little did we know how important Brit’s wardrobe choices would later become. She changed into a body-hugging black belly shirt and pants to team up with fellow teen dreams ‘NSYNC for their classroom-themed performance of ” … Baby One More Time” and “Tearin’ Up My Heart.”
The following year, Britney made another fashion statement. While covering the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction,” Spears was apparently unsatisfied with her tuxedo. So, when it was time to switch over to “Oops … I Did It Again,” she ripped it off to reveal a flesh-colored outfit that left very little to the imagination.
Spears tried to top that striptease in 2001, giving us three different moments to remember. In a promo for the show, she agreed to teach host Jamie Foxx some of her moves, and the two got down to Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell.” Things got weirder on the red carpet, when she met Mick Jagger, who appeared not to know who she was. But our own Kurt Loder made Brit happy by pointing out that Keith Richards’ daughter was a huge fan of hers. Of course, the main event that year was her sultry performance of “I’m a Slave 4 U,” for which she draped herself in a python and slithered around a steamy garden setting, surrounded by dancers in zebra and tiger outfits. The whole affair pleased teenage boys everywhere, but left PETA very angry.
Not all of Britney’s moments have been about sexing up the show. In 2002, she donned a dominatrix costume, presented Michael Jackson with a birthday cake and referred to him as the “artist of the millennium.” Michael thought that meant he was receiving some new Artist of the Millennium award and gave an acceptance speech, turning what was supposed to be a sweet birthday celebration into one memorable moment.
This paved the way for what would be Britney’s most provocative VMA performance yet: Her now infamous 2003 kiss with Madonna, who also kissed Christina Aguilera, during “Like a Virgin.” The lip-lock shocked and amused everyone in the audience, including Spears’ ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake.
In 2006, a pregnant Britney made her tamest VMA appearance via video, as she and Kevin Federline presented the award for Best R&B Video. At the time, she and K-Fed were happily married and expecting their second son. It was only a matter of time before that all came crashing down.
Last year’s “Gimme More” fiasco is still fresh in everyone’s memories, and the events of Spears’ life since then made many wonder if yet another hyped Britney comeback was wise this year. But the pop princess appears to be getting back on her feet at last, and she has three VMA nods at stake this year (she’s come home empty-handed after her previous 16 nominations). We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the former VMA queen can dazzle us the way she used to.