Here’s How Things Are Shaking Down In Our Ultimate VMA Showdown


We are just about a week into our Ultimate VMA Showdown and the polls are really heating up.

Classic MTV artists like Michael Jackson, Bon Jovi and, in some categories, Madonna are garnering big numbers, leaving more recent artists like Lady Gaga and Britney Spears, who typically dominate our polls, struggling to keep up.

How’s your favorite artist faring so far? Let’s take a look.

Most Iconic VMA Performance

This category has basically turned into a showdown between Michael Jackson and Bon Jovi. MJ’s medley of hits at the 1995 VMAs is leading the way with 45 percent of the vote, though Bon Jovi’s take on their classic “Wanted Dead or Alive” from the 1989 show trails it by less than 2 percent. The number separating the two is insanely small, respective to the crazy amount of votes cast in this category (which we will reveal after polls close).

Our two main girls, Gaga and Britney, are in third and fourth place, respectively, though they trail the two leaders substantially and are themselves separated by just 0.1 percent. That said, the number of votes for Gaga’s 2009 performance of “Paparazzi” and Britney’s sexy “I’m A Slave 4 U” from the 2001 VMAs are substantial. Very substantial.

Can they catch up to the poll leaders? Maybe. Keep voting, Gaga and Britney fans, your girls need you!
Surprisingly less substantial are the number of votes for Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” from the first-ever VMAs in 1984. It’s one of the most known and commented upon performances in VMA history – and many look at it as one of the major events that kicked Madonna’s career into the pop stratosphere – yet it is holding court with a mere 0.84 percent of the vote. Weird.

Best VMA Video of The 1990s

Recent birthday girl Madonna is, however, destroying her competition for best VMA-winning video of the ‘90s. “Ray of Light” currently has over 49 percent of the vote, with its closest competition coming from Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” and TLC’s “Waterfalls,” both of which have 11.87 percent.


Multiple videos are within spitting distance of Hill and TLC. Aerosmith’s “Cryin’” is less than a thousand votes away from both, and the Smashing Pumpkins “Tonight Tonight” isn’t out of the game either.

Most Outrageous VMA Moment

Her Madgesty is also holding court among the VMAs most outrageous moments, though the King of Pop is giving the Queen a run for her money. Madonna’s infamous kiss with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera in 2003 is leading here with just over 50 percent of the vote, while MJ’s kiss with then-wife Lisa Marie Presley is close behind with 46.5 percent.

(Isn’t it interesting that a kiss between a married couple is considered almost as outrageous as a three-way lady kiss fest between three of music’s biggest divas? Just sayin.’)

If you added up the numbers for M, B and X(tina if you’re nasty) and MJ and Lisa Marie, you’ll see that they tower over the rest of the field. The only other moment with even a full one percent of the total vote is Diana Ross kinda-sorta feeling up Lil Kim at the ’99 VMAs.

Best VMA Pop Performance

MJ is in the thick of it here as well, and his biggest competition is … the Backstreet Boys, who trail him by just 3 percent. (You guys really liked MJ’s 1995 greatest hits medley performance, huh?)

BSB’s 1998 performance of “Everybody” at the peak of their enormous fame still resonates enough with fans to be giving the King a run for the title of Best VMA Pop Performance. The Boys, who are currently enjoying a resurgence thanks to their hugely successful tour with New Kids on the Block, have just over 40 percent of the vote.

Next up is Britney, with just over 9 percent for her 2002 medley of “Satisfaction” and “Oops … I Did It Again.” Much like the Iconic Performance category, the amount of votes cast here is pretty huge, so it’s going to take a big push from Britney fans to get her back in the game. But if we know one thing in the MTV Newsroom, it’s that when Britney Spears’ fans rally around her, things can get a little nutters. You ready?

Wildest VMA Outfit

One place Britney is not having trouble racking up votes is in the Wildest VMA Outfit category. Her leather biker chic look from the 2002 VMAs is currently in a heated contest with the Queen of Wild Outfits, Lady Gaga, for the title here. Gaga is in the lead (38.8 percent) but just barely – Britney currently trails her by just one percent.

When we do polls here in the Newsroom, this is usually how things shake out. It becomes a neck and neck contest between Gaga and Britney just about every time. The strength of Britney’s performance here is interesting, though, because she is up against arguably the most talked about VMA outfit ever: Lady Gaga’s meat dress, which is already on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Wow.

Best VMA Video of the 2000s

For us in the Newsroom, this category is shaping up to be the most surprising of all – not only because Lady Gaga is not winning it, but because the leader, by a wide margin, is Panic! At The Disco. Their video for “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” is great, of course, but how is “Bad Romance,” a clip viewed over 400 million times (!) on YouTube, not dominating this category?

Where are you, Little Monsters?

Best VMA Video of the 1980s

It may arguably be the lowest-key category of all, but Best VMA Vid of the ‘80s is turning out to be the most democratic. While fan sites and Twitter have driven millions of votes (seriously, wait until we reveal the numbers next week – they are INSANE) to many of the other categories, things are more organic here.

INXS is leading with 37 percent of the vote, but really this is anybody’s game. Dire Straits and Peter Gabriel can see victory from their current positions, and with just under a week to go in the showdown, either could take this category.

Best VMA Rock Performance

Have you noticed that many categories are shaping up to be two-way showdowns? Best VMA rock performance is no different, with fans of The Killers and Blink-182 thrusting the bands into an almost unbeatable lead over all the other contenders. The Killer are currently tops with 47 percent, but Blink are nipping at their heels with nearly 45 percent.

That certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t vote for Muse, Nirvana, Oasis, Metallica or any of the other contending bands. At the very least, a vote for any of them would make this category seem like less of a bloodbath.

Best VMA Hip-Hop Performance

Again, this category is mostly a two-way split. Eminem, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s medley of “Nothing But a G Thang” / “My Name Is” / “Guilty Conscience” leads Kanye West’s 2010 performance of “Runaway” 38 percent to 34 percent. But at least some other VMA all-stars are getting some love.

50 Cent’s 2007 performance of “In Da Club” currently has just over 17 percent of the vote. Now, it might seem like he’s trailing Kanye and Em by a lot, and he is, but looking at the actual numbers (and seeing how quickly these things can change when fans gather around their favorite artists), it is in no way a gap that cannot be closed. 50 isn’t out of this game just yet.

Polls close Wednesday, August 24 at noon, so vote now and vote often! Results will be announced in the lead-up to the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, which air live from Los Angeles on Sunday, August 28 at 9 PM on MTV. Don’t forget to tune in!

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