Tokio Hotel, T-Pain Among Classic VMA Entrances

NYC-centric vehicles could replace monster trucks and elephants at this year's show, which airs live Sunday at 9 p.m.

In just a few days, the lights on the red carpet will be lit and the 2009 edition of the MTV Video Music Awards will begin welcoming the music world’s biggest superstars into the confines of Radio City Music Hall . There, a handful of celebs will no doubt continue a relatively new VMA tradition: the big, flashy red-carpet arrival . Anybody can pull up in a stretch limo, but it takes a real man to arrive to the show on an elephant, as T-Pain did at last year’s show.

In fact, 2008 was a watershed year for big arrivals, as Tokio Hotel (who later went on to win the Moonman for Best New Artist) pulled up to the show in a gigantic monster truck that bore the band’s logo. Paramore also arrived on four wheels, though their means of conveyance was significantly smaller, as they were in Smart cars. Fall Out Boy turned down the volume even further when they showed up in a horse-drawn carriage. But the most audacious arrival from last year belonged to Young Jeezy, who made his presence known in a motorcade fit for a president. The rapper appeared in a T-shirt that read “My President Is Black” and even had a driver who wore a John McCain mask — further proof that even though he wasn’t present, Barack Obama was still the biggest star of the night.

That’s not to say that 2008 had the market cornered on interesting arrivals. The VMA sojourns to Miami in 2004 and 2005 allowed a number of stars — including Ricky Martin, Usher and Diddy — to arrive via luxury yacht. The 2005 show had a custom-car theme, which allowed musicians to hit the white carpet riding some of their favorite high-end automobiles: Snoop Dogg was in a 1967 Pontiac Parisienne convertible, Ludacris pulled up in a bouncing 1975 Pontiac Grandville and Green Day had a beat-up ’68 Mercury Monterey (not unlike the vehicle that carries the band in the “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” video). And some people took the “go big” idea seriously, as 50 Cent and his G-Unit crew took a giant customized bus, and the five dudes from My Chemical Romance arrived in the back of an armored truck (“We just want to be safe, you know?” frontman Gerard Way said then).

The security surrounding the arrivals for this year’s show has been tight, though rumor has it that a number of New York-centric vehicles will be put to good use. But which will they be and who will they deliver? You’ll have to tune in to the VMA Preshow to find out.

Watch the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards Preshow this Sunday, September 13, at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the big event, airing live at 9 p.m. New York is celebrating the VMAs all week long, so stay tuned for party coverage, concert reports, behind-the-scenes updates and more.