About the Show

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Hosted by Chris Rock

In addition to being our annual celebration of music, the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards were also marking a rather significant milestone: the 20th Anniversary of MTV. If that's not a reason to party, we really don't know what is.

Almost 20 years after shocking the world with her nuptial-themed antics Madonna and Christina Aguilera(see: Madonna writhing around onstage at the 1984 VMAs), Madonna returned to the stage at New York's Radio City Music Hall to open our anniversary show. Rising out of a giant wedding cake wearing a tuxedo, the Material Girl performed a medley of "Like a Virgin" and "Hollywood." Accompanying her were her heirs apparent, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, both clad in sexy wedding dresses.

But then came "the kiss." It was a lip smacker that blew away the Michael Jackson/Lisa Marie Presley smooch of a few years before. This one, a few minutes into the performance -- 419 seconds exactly, but who's counting? -- set off a media storm and fueled the dreams of millions of men worldwide. Yes, that's when the music paused and Madonna French-kissed Britney. The director called for a quick cut to catch the reaction of Brit's ex, Justin Timberlake, in the audience, then back to the stage for the double whammy! Madonna gets hot AGAIN with Xtina!! Oh, those "Dirrty" girls.

That's a hard act to follow, but Chris Rock was up for it. Back for his third time as host, he had the hang of this thing and knew how to hit it hard. Thus, he pulled no punches as he took jabs at 83% of the celebrities in the audience, performing the funniest opening VMA monologue since Eddie Murphy took to the streets to find a co-host way back in 1985.

Recovered from the kiss, Justin Timberlake proved that he didn't need Britney or four dancing men in trendy clothes by his side to be successful. He spent a fair amount of time on stage taking home three Moonmen, including Best Pop Video and Best Male Video for his "even though the actress in the video looks exactly like her I swear this isn't about Britney Spears" clip for "Cry Me a River."

Rapper 50 Cent won the Best New Artist Moon Man for "In Da Club," marking the beginning of a successful music/movie/literary/videogame/clothing/flavored water career. Flavored water? Pimp indeed.

Later, 50 performed "P.I.M.P." with Snoop Dogg's assistance (he's a real pimp, fo sho), and the show also featured tunes from Good Charlotte, Mary J. Blige (with 50 Cent), Coldplay, Beyoncé with Jay-Z and Metallica, as well as Christina Aguilera, who added Redman and guitarist Dave Navarro to her performance of "Dirrty/Fighter."

Our favorite highlight of the night has to be comedian (and future VMA host) Jack Black's parody of Michael Jackson's "Artist of the Millennium" gaffe from the previous year. Dressed as the King of Pop for a birthday tribute, Black stumbled onstage gushing about how he never believed he would be named the Super Genius of the Universe at such a young age.

Not that we're playing favorites or anything. We love all of our VMA shows equally. But when people aren't looking, this is the one we'd give the candy to -- with no concerns about ruining its dinner...