It's the one awards show where black tie isn't an option, but that's not all that sets MTV's Video Music Awards apart from its stuffier counterparts!
The show is known for its off-the-wall presenter pairings (Martha Stewart and Busta Rhymes, anyone?), bleeped-out speeches (Tyler the Creator didn't get an FCC-approved word in edgewise during his 2011 spiel) and outrageous commentary.
As we get set for the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, check out 5 of the most memorable "VMA" speeches of all time.
Talk about sour grapes! Back in 1997, new kid in town, Fiona Apple, beat out other newbies Hanson, Meredith Brooks, the Wallflowers, and Jamiroquai for the Best New Artist Award. But instead of thanking MTV or her fans, Apple used her speech to announce, "Everybody out there who is watching this world, this world is bulls - -t." She did give a shout out to inspirational poet Maya Angelou, but closed her rant with, "It's just stupid that I'm in this world."
Enter Sandman or Enter Fart Man? In 1992, Metallica's Best Hard Rock Video speech was overshadowed by an uninvited visitor: Shock jock Howard Stern dressed as his "Fart Man" character -- complete with cut-out pants that exposed hiss saggy buttocks. If the sight of Stern's flabby cheeks wasn't enough of a buzz kill, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich had to tell him, "Shut up! Don't steal all the attention here!" as the towering character hammed it up alongside the podium while Ulrich attempted to give his speech. Show host Dana Carvey later said, "I'm still trying to recover from Howard's a- -." Twenty years later, so are we.
At the 2000 VMAs, Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford was enraged when his band lost the Best Rock Video award to Limp Bizkit. A belligerent Timmy C. climbed the stage scaffolding and proceeded to rock back and forth. During his speech, Limp Bizkit front man Fred Durst coaxed the bassist to stage dive. Commerford didn't dive, but he did spend that night in jail. Durst later told MTV, "It was weird, and it would have sucked if he got hurt getting out of there. It looked like he was struggling. I hope he gets his head checked real soon."
By the time the 2002 VMAs rolled around, Eminem's feud with Moby was legendary. But when hand puppet Triumph the Insult Comic Dog insulted Eminem during the show, Eminem got in Moby's face. Moments later, Eminem was presented with the Best Male Video Award-- by another one of his enemies, Christina Aguilera-- and as he struggled with his acceptance speech, the rapper blamed Moby for distracting him while he was making up his thank-you list. "That little Moby girl threw me out of my zone for a minute" Eminem said, amid a sea of boos from the audience. Em later threatened, "Keep booing, little girl. I will hit a man with glasses." In his memoir, "Eminem: The Way I Am," the rapper later wrote of the incident: "My instinct was, if someone talks about you, you see them, you fight. But MOBY? Really? I was going to fight MOBY? And I was going to fight a puppet? In hindsight, I should have handled it differently."
And who can forget 2009, when rapper Kanye West jumped on stage during Taylor Swift's acceptance speech for the Female Video of the Year award? West promised the country star, "I'm gonna let you finish," before proclaiming Beyonce the queen bee of the video music world. Swift was stunned-- and West was swiftly booed by his peers. (He later apologized for the incident.)
Of course, true VMA aficionados know that Kanye wasn't the first person to rush the stage to interrupt a VMA speech! That distinction goes to Nathaniel Hornblower, the bearded alter ego of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch. At the 1994 VMAs, Hornblower interrupted REM Front man Michael Stipe's speech, declaring "This is an outrage… a farce!" after The Beastie's "Sabotage" lost the Best Direction award to REM's "Everybody Hurts."
The 2012 MTV Video Music Awards will air live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on September 6 at 8/7c on MTV.
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