The year was 1993. Grunge was king, Bill Clinton was the new president, David Letterman didn’t get the “Tonight Show,” “Jurassic Park” had the biggest movie opening of all time and Victoria Justice, Chance the Rapper, Liam Payne were born.
Oh, and so was 2014 MTV Video Music Awards performer and nominee Ariana Grande! The VMAs 21 years ago were weird and wild, and you don’t need to look any further than the 1993 VMAs for proof. What did the show look like the year Ariana bounced into the world and prepared for her fembot takeover? Nirvana and Pearl Jam were the show’s (and era’s) saving grace, but from the looks of Christian Slater’s vest, the world (and the VMAs) more than needed Ariana at the VMAs.
Here are a few highlights from the tenth VMAs, aka the year Ariana Grande was born.
Christian Slater did the honors the same year he starred as Clarence Worley in “True Romance.” So that was awesome. Plus, he wore a vest at one point during the show in an act of absolute ’90s redundancy.
Pearl Jam Won, Then Walked
After snagging Best Group Video, Best Metal/Hard Rock Video, Best Direction and Video of the Year for “Jeremy,” Pearl Jam basically gave up making music videos… so, way to go out on top? They also played “Animal” on the show, which is one of the only times in VMA history that a song without an accompanying video has been performed on the broadcast.
Odd Couples, Part One
The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tony Bennett presented Pearl Jam with said Video of the Year award. Flea and Anthony wore tuxedos, Tony wore skater shorts, a black t-shirt and tie, white shades and a top hat. And he sang a bit of “Give It Away.” And he pulled a sock out of his pocket joked that Flea left it at his house. Then Anthony pretended Tony left a pack of condoms at his house, and swallowed a whole banana. So that was weird.
Odd Couples, Part Two
If you love uncomfortable TV moments, and who doesn’t? Then do we have a doozy for you. Whoever thought it made sense to pair old-school comedian Milton Berle and drag queen of the universe RuPaul as presenters vastly underestimated just how odd a couple these two were. After Berle (who had dressed in drag in his films) grabbed Ru’s breast, the diva snapped, “So you used to wear gowns, but now you’re wearing diapers?” Ouch. But, because he’s a comedian, Berle shot back, “Oh, we’re going to ad-lib? I’ll check my brain and we’ll start even.” Double ouch!
Lenny Kravitz Wore This
Because he’s Lenny Kravitz, that’s why.
And Steven Tyler Wore This
Snoop Was A Wanted Man
Despite having a warrant out for his arrest in connection with a drive-by murder, Snoop showed up, handed out an award and then slipped out without getting pinched. He later turned himself in and the charges were dropped.
K.D. Lang Beat Janet Jackson
I’ll repeat that, k.d. Lang’s “Constant Craving” beat Janet’s “That’s The Way Love Goes” for Best female Video. So that worked out.
The Cobains Were There
In his final appearance at the show, Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain showed up with wife Courtney Love and their adorable infant, Frances Bean.
Beavis & Butt-Head Presented An Award
Heh. Heh. Cool.
Arrested Development Won Best Rap Video
Nope. Not the show. That hadn’t happened yet. The seminal ’90s hip-hop act. They beat Dr. Dre (“Nuthin’ But a G Thang”) and Naughty by Nature (“Hip Hop Hooray”). I repeat, they beat Dr. Dre. For “People Everyday.”