VMAs: 8 Memorable Moments at Radio City Music Hall

9:30 AM 8/14/2018

by Zoe Jones

As MTV's awards show returns to where it all began 35 years ago, take a look back at some highlights (Lisa Marie and Michael kiss! Taylor and Kanye kick off their feud!) from its 11 previous appearances at the iconic venue.

The 2018 MTV VMAs -VMA Moon Person- Getty-H 2018
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

A variety of different venues have hosted the MTV Video Music Awards in New York and Los Angeles, but Radio City Music Hall is the most frequent. The first edition of the event was held there in 1984, and the 2018 ceremony, airing live Aug. 20, will mark its 12th time in the New York venue.

In honor of its return to the iconic site, take a look back at eight memorable VMA moments: Radio City Music Hall edition.

  • Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley Kiss

    At the 10th annual VMAs, Michael Jackson and his wife of four months, Lisa Marie Presley, opened the award ceremony. Clad in complementary black outfits, and walking out onto the stage holding hands, it was clear that the couple was making it clear to the public that they were actually together, despite tabloid reports that tried to disprove their marriage was real. After being greeted with a standing ovation by nearly half the audience, the King of Pop pulled Presley into a dramatic embrace and gave her a kiss for the camera.

  • Tupac Makes His Final Public Appearance

    Before Tupac’s death in a September 1996 drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, he made his last public appearance at the VMAs, which were held three days before the incident that took his life. In an interview with MTV News, he made some pointed digs at his one-time friend turned enemy, Notorious B.I.G. Addressing the tension between the two rappers, he stated that he did not want it to escalate because he was “here to enjoy and support the Video Music Awards for MTV, because they support us.”

  • Fiona Apple Says "This World Is Bullshit" in Acceptance Speech

    Enigmatic singer Fiona Apple doesn’t shy away from sharing her opinions, and was given the perfect opportunity to do so during the 1997 VMAs ceremony when she accepted her best new artist award. In a strikingly poignant moment, Apple simply stated that "this world is bullshit." She then criticized the standards that young people are held to, and urged them to follow their own path.

  • Rage Against the Machine's Tom Commerford Climbs the Stage Set

    After Rage Against the Machine lost the award for best rock video to Limp Bizkit, bassist Tom Commerford responded in protest by leaping onto the stage from the audience, then climbing the set scaffolding. It took a concentrated effort from MTV producers to get him to come down, but he eventually did –– and spent the night in jail.

  • Eminem and His Army of Slim Shadys


    For a medley of his hits "The Real Slim Shady" and "The Way I Am," Eminem enlisted a group of lookalikes –– complete with dyed blond hair and white tanks –– to line up and follow him military-style into Radio City Music Hall. The performance was instantly iconic, leading viewers and attendees alike to wonder how the rapper pulled off such a feat.

  • TLC Mourn Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes On Stage

    In their first public appearance since the tragic death of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes in a Honduras car crash a few months before, T-Boz and Chili of TLC took the stage to honor their lost groupmate and friend. T-Boz took the lead, thanking Left Eye’s family and friends, and MTV, for their support. As they spoke about their loss, visibly choked up, the singers’ fellow musicians empathized with their pain.

  • Madonna Kisses Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera

    During the opening performance of the 2003 ceremony, Madonna performed a medley of her hits with assistance from pop princesses Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. In a move that shocked both the audience at home and in the crowd, she turned to each of them for a sultry kiss.

  • Kanye West Steals the Mic From Taylor Swift

    In what is perhaps the most infamous VMAs moment of all time –– Kanye West, quite literally, stole the show. After Taylor Swift snagged a Moonman for her “You Belong With Me” video, West walked onto the stage, took her mic and declared that Beyoncé had the best music video of all time for “Single Ladies,” which Swift beat out. The moment has followed the rapper for quite a long time –– even former President Obama called him a “jackass” for interrupting the pop singer’s big MTV moment.