Once a year, we're treated to a cultural event unlike any other: the MTV Video Music Awards. Some of the moments from ceremonies past will live forever in our mind, from Chris Rock joking about Jennifer Lopez and her derrière's need for more than one limousine to Diana Ross jiggling Lil Kim's exposed breast. The show knows how to provoke controversy, and has thus remained a lightning rod for pop culture discussion since it began in 1984. This list isn't about the most controversial moments in the award show's history, but the most mesmerizing live performances it gave us (some of which, yes, surely did drum up some controversy).
1. Madonna - "Like A Virgin" 1984
Possibly one of the most iconic performances ever, period. Madonna's signature wedding dress and 'boy toy' belt are still synonymous with 80s pop culture, and it's all thanks to this performance. She rolls around on the floor quite suggestively, setting the tone for what we've come to expect from both the Queen of Pop and the VMAs.
2. Madonna - "Vogue" 1990
Madonna returned to the stage in 1990, decked out in Marie Antoinette-inspired clothing, and delivered this perfectly choreographed rendition of her classic "Vogue." Though completely covered as an 18th century aristocrat, Madge still managed to sexualize the performance by shoving faces into her bosom and lifting up her skirt to allow her backup dancers a peak beneath.
3. Madonna, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliott - "Like A Virgin/Hollywood Medley" 2003
Now that's how you open an award show. Or is it? The downside of this majesty: it ended up being all anyone could talk about... for ten years. I don't think anything in VMAs history earned this must discussion until the dawn of Miley. Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, at the time the two biggest pop stars around, having been so clearly influenced by Madonna, took to the stage to pay homage to her 1984 VMA performance only to be joined by the Queen herself. As everyone knows, eventually the Material Girl smooched both Spears and Aguilera (though for some reason, we mostly just focus on Britney Spears) before Missy Elliott came in and got everyone dancing away the shock.
4. Beyoncé - "Love On Top" 2011
NO. SHE. DIDN'T. This was a moment I'll never forget. Beyoncé came out, annihilated the song (which is an incredible feat in and of itself, spanning six key changes in one number), but then dropped the microphone and grabbed her budding baby bump to announce her pregnancy to the world. This performance still gives me chills, and when I think about it, I can't help but want to jump up and down like Kanye does at the end. It's just perfect.
5. Miley Cyrus & Robin Thicke (feat. 2 Chainz & Kendrick Lamar) - "We Can't Stop/Blurred Lines/Give It 2 U" 2013
The performance that everyone knows about... so much so that my grandfather just called me to ask how he can clear "Miley Cyrus twerk" from his YouTube history. In combination with her video for "Wrecking Ball," this performance made sure everyone would be talking about Miley Cyrus for months to come. It provoked discussions about sexuality, racial appropriation, and age differences. Not to mention, it helped destroy a marriage (thus leaving us to deal with a groveling Robin Thicke).
6. Diddy, Sting, Faith Evans, 112 - "I'll Be Missing You" 1997
A tribute to The Notorious B.I.G., this is an undeniably beautiful and meangingful song. Sting coming on stage to perform the sample of "Every Breath You Take" shows more than just artists collaborating to make wonderful music, but it demonstrates the music community coming together in remembrance of loved ones.
7. Beyoncé - "Ring the Alarm" 2006
Beyoncé is a goddess. We know. Beyoncé can do no wrong. We know. At the time of this performance though, Queen Bey was just beginning to prove just how much of a force to be reckoned with she was. I distinctly remember not being familiar with this song as she descended to the stage, but this performance sold me on it. The highlight isn't the amazing trench coat she twirls around in during the beginning of performance, but that unexpected hydraulicks-inspired dance routine that she does in the middle. Girl just slayed and slaaaayed.
8. Chris Brown & Rihanna - "Wall to Wall"/"Umbrella"/"Billie Jean"/"Kiss Kiss" Medley 2007
Let's go back to a time when saying "Chris Brown" and "Rihanna" in the same sentence didn't immediately present a problem and focus on this gem of a performance from 2007. The two were rising stars with some of the biggest songs of the year, joining forces on stage for a magical moment. Say what you will about Chris Brown, but he's the best dancer we've had around since Michael Jackson. As he table-top dances and leaps from table to table, even eventually paying tribute to MJ, we were reminded of just how good he is.
9. Lady Gaga - "Paparazzi" 2009
Ladies and gentleman, Lady Gaga has arrived. She gave the sort of performance we've come to expect from her: theatrical, filled with musical ability, bizarre, and shocking. Mostly in the way it ended, with Mother Monster hanging on stage and bleeding to "death." Um... this was truly a shocking moment, even for her.
10. Britney Spears - "I'm a Slave 4 U" 2001
What made this one memorable? For one thing, she beings the performance in a cage with a tiger. That's just the start. Then she gives us the sort of magnificent dance routine that we love so much we're willing to worship whatever she does now just in memory of a performance like this. Just as you're thinking it won't get any better, the python comes out and Britney shimmies around the stage with the albino snake around her shoulders. (Can you believe there is an entire generation of people who were only able to witness Britney performances like "Gimme More?" I shudder to think).
11. Britney Spears - "Satisfaction/Oops! I Did It Again" 2000
This performance is perfect (and by that, we mean that it's flawed in a variety of ways, but if you're looking for real singing or anything substantial, watch the Grammys and hope for the best). Watching it now, knowing that she's going to rip off that suit and hat and give us one of the best choreographed hair tosses ever recorded, we can't help but get excited. The nude body suit and that booty grab at the 2:00 mark really cemented her place as a sex icon (as if the subtle schoolgirl costume and red latex catsuit hadn't already).
12. Hole - "Violet" 1995
Courtney Love is nothing if not raw. She dedicated this performance to a slew of deceased musicians and loved ones, including husband Kurt Cobain and bandmate Kristen Pfaff, and proceeded to rock out in typical Courtney style and tried to destroy everything on the stage. This, of course, happened before she threw the contents of her purse at Madonna and struck up a conversation in the middle of an interview.
13. Eminem - "The Real Slim Shady" / "The Way I Am" 2000
Eminem made a statement in 2000 by proving that he was the real Slim Shady, marching through Radio City Music Hall with a sea of imitators. More impressively is how many times he grabs his crotch. You'd think he was in genuine fear of being assaulted or something.
14. Kid Rock (feat. Run-DMC, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and Joe C.) - "King of Rock"/"Rock Box"/"Bawitdaba"/"Walk This Way" 1999
What's not to like about this performance? As much as I wish I didn't like Kid Rock, I have to give him his props. This performance was stellar, and is probably one of the only performances on this list that my brother enjoyed watching too (just kidding, we mentioned Britney Spears stripping into a nude bodysuit, right?).
15. Michael Jackson - Medley 1995
At a whopping fifteen minutes long, this performance is more of a Michael Jackson concert than a VMA performance. However, it's definitely one of the better ways to spend fifteen minutes, as this performance is jam-packed with everything you'd expect from a Michael Jackson performance. He is the King of Pop, after all.
Actors Aldis Hodge and Neil Brown, Jr. have been added to the cast of the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. Hodge will play MC Ren, while Brown Jr. will portray DJ Yella in the film, which will also feature Ice Cube's son O'Shea Jackson, Jr. as the MC, Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre and Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E.
F. Gary Gray will direct the film about the Compton, California rappers' rise to fame in the late 1980s, and their subsequent split in 1991.
The movie is scheduled to hit theatres in August, 2015.
Rapper/actor Ice Cube has opened up about his controversial decision not to cast the late Eazy-E's son as the hip-hop icon in his forthcoming N.W.A. biopic, insisting the role required an experienced actor with "a lot of range". Eazy-E's son, Eric Wright, Jr., auditioned for the Straight Outta Compton film job and recently admitted he was disappointed after movie bosses decided to cast newcomer Jason Mitchell as the younger version of his tragic father.
Now Ice Cube, who is serving as one of the project's producers, has explained the reasons behind the decision, insisting aspiring actor Wright, Jr. simply wasn't a good fit.
Speaking to Colorado radio station KS 107.5, Ice Cube says, "He (Wright, Jr.) is an up-and-coming actor trying to do it, but we needed somebody who was a little more polished to play Eazy, because he goes through a lot in his life. He goes from selling dope in Compton to fighting for his life in a hospital bed. So we needed to find an actor with a lot of range. And we just couldn't use just anybody. We gave him (Wright, Jr.) a shot, and it just didn't work out."
Wright, Jr. wasn't the only N.W.A. offspring snubbed for a role in the film - Dr. Dre's aspiring actor/rapper son Curtis Young was also passed over in favour of Corey Hawkins, although Ice Cube's kid, O'Shea Jackson, Jr., will play his dad onscreen.
Meanwhile, the remaining N.W.A. bandmates MC Ren and DJ Yella will be played by Aldis Hodge and Neil Brown, Jr., respectively.
F. Gary Gray will direct the film about the rise of the iconic California rap group and their split in 1991.
The biopic is scheduled for release next summer (15).
R&B star Deborah Cox has reportedly been tapped to provide the singing voice for Whitney Houston in the late star's biopic.
Former America's Next Top Model star Yaya DaCosta will be playing Houston in the TV movie, but Cox is in talks to recreate the music legend's songs for the film, according to E! News.
Reports suggest a deal for the music rights is still being ironed out, but the Nobody's Supposed To Be Here singer is on track to provide the vocals for Houston's iconic discography.
I Will Always Love You: The Whitney Houston Story also features Final Destination 5 star Arlen Escarpeta as Houston's former husband Bobby Brown, and Angela Bassett is stepping behind the camera for her directorial debut.
Houston died in 2012 aged 48.
Adriana M. Barraza / WENN
Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez appear to be very much back together following a visit to a bible study class.
The on/off couple was spotted at a friend's Hollywood party at the beginning of the week (16Jun14) and then stunned fellow soul searchers on Wednesday (18Jun14) when the pair stopped by a local bible class.
One regular tweeted, "Justin & Selena were in a very popular weekly bible study tonight. It was a packed house and I was so happy to see them there..."
The bible study class came just hours after Gomez was spotted visiting Bieber in the recording studio, where he is developing new music with fellow bad boy Chris Brown.
Country music group Zac Brown Band has joined the ranks of The Police and the Rolling Stones after selling out two concerts at Boston's historic baseball stadium Fenway Park in record time. The Chicken Fried hitmakers are hitting the road for The Great American Road Trip Tour this summer (14), and they were due to play just one show at the Massachusetts venue on 27 June (14).
However, after eager fans purchased tickets in just minutes, they have added a second gig for the following night (28Jun14), which sold out in record time as well.
A statement on the band's official website reads: "With this incredible accomplishment, ZBB (Zac Brown Band) joins the ranks of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band, the Police and the Rolling Stones - all of whom have notched two-night sellouts at the historic ballpark."
Zac Brown Band kick off their U.S. trek on 24 May (14).
Oprah WInfrey Network
We don't normally think of Oprah Winfrey as being desperate. The Queen of All Media is one of the most powerful women in the world and could buy several small countries if she so chooses. But, as any number of entertainment executives could've told her, cable television is a whole different animal. Winfrey's OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) has been around since 2011, but is only available to about 73 percent of the viewing public (for comparison, cable giants like TNT and ESPN reach about 86 percent). For a cable network to grow, it needs buzz and, with only a few exceptions, OWN has had very little. So, how does Winfrey's network go about generating some excitement?
By hitching its wagon to Lindsay Lohan's flaming star.
Winfrey interviewed Lohan when she was fresh out of her sixth stint in rehab for substance abuse last August and almost immediately began filming the actress for a "docu-series" called simply Lindsay. Presumably, this was to chronicle the struggles that a recovering addict faces. Of course, that's how VH1 tried to sell Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, too.
In reality, what it amounts to is filming someone drowning. During the initial interview with Winfrey, Lohan came away sounding like she was poised and in control. She also sounded like she had been coached and was still carrying a healthy amount of denial.
The premier episode of Lindsay showed just how far the actress has to go to really become a contributing member of society. She refused to go to a scheduled Alcoholics Anonymous meeting because she didn’t want to deal with paparazzi. She backed out of commitments to promote her movie The Canyons, causing director Paul Schrader to call her out to the media. (Not that Schrader is all that innocent; he used Lohan's extensive nudity in the film to help market it.) And, she backed out of a commitment to help a friend promote a lingerie line… which was the right move, but brought into question her judgment for agreeing to it in the first place.
Worse, it was clear that the people around Lohan are still afraid to tell her when she's wrong. She berated a real estate agent over the phone because he wasn't giving her what she wanted during an apartment search in Manhattan... and it seem that mostly what the guy didn't want to say is that no one wants to rent an apartment to Lindsay Lohan. Her "sober coach" let her off the hook for skipping the AA meeting. And, her personal assistant seems sick of dealing with her and appears to just be sticking around for some screen time.
In a clip that OWN released last week to promote the show — and subsequently took down — Winfrey herself pays a visit when Lohan begins avoiding the camera crews of her own show. Winfrey tells Lohan that she needs to "cut the bulls**t." That's a great start, but in showing Winfrey confronting Lohan and separately stating "this is what everyone said was going to happen" as she's riding to the meeting, it comes across as Winfrey trying to make sure that there's damage control if the show really goes south.
Lindsay doesn't have the kitschiness of The Anna Nicole Show on E! and its subject isn't teetering quite so close to the edge as Bravo's Being Bobby Brown showed Whitney Houston to be, but it does share something in common with both — a participant that is in a downward spiral and clearly has no idea how to stop, surrounded by people with seemingly little interest in actually helping. Just as with those shows, the process of being filmed for a "reality" series becomes just another enabling mechanism. It might be better for their personal well-being for celebrities to disappear while they try to straighten out their lives, but it's not better for their finances.
As with its predecessors, there are moments of Lindsay where you want someone besides Winfrey to step out from behind the camera and try to talk some sense into Lohan. The previews for future episodes promise not just more of the same self-involved prattle from the actress — in one clip she's confronting her assistant about his tone — but also appearance by her sycophant parents.
OWN is getting plenty of publicity for Lindsay and has made it a social networking opportunity, playing up tweets from viewers with their comments about the show and Lohan. It might even help Winfrey's channel get added to more basic cable packages and reach more viewers.
Winfrey, however, started her network with a promise of providing uplifting and empowering entertainment. With Lindsay, the network is choosing the same kind of attention grabbing programming as every other cable broadcaster. There's nothing wrong with that — it is a business, after all — but if you're going to set yourself up as being above the fray, which Oprah has, then there's going to be collateral damage when you jump in with both feet.
Lohan has dragged down plenty during her continuous descent… it will be a shame if Winfrey's and OWN's integrity joins the list.
British royal Prince Harry, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and actor Richard E. Grant were among those who turned out to remember Nelson Mandela at a memorial service in London on Monday (03Mar14). The civil rights icon died in December (13) aged 95, and he was remembered at a service at London's Westminster Abbey on Monday.
More than 2,000 mourners turned out, including actor Grant, Prince Harry, who represented his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II at the service, and the U.K.'s current leader Cameron, as well as former Prime Ministers Sir John Major and Gordon Brown.
Other attendees included Mandela's daughter Zenani and South African activist Desmond Tutu, who spoke during the service.
The memorial ended with a rendition of South Africa's national anthem. A special stone will be laid in Mandela's honour at Westminster Abbey.
Chris Brown is to stay in rehab for further anger management treatment after completing his 90-day court-ordered stint, according to a U.S. report. A judge ordered the troubled singer into rehab in November (13) for temper therapy amid mounting legal troubles, including having his probation stemming from his 2009 assault on his pop star ex-girlfriend Rihanna revoked.
Brown's treatment finished this month (Feb14), but a judge has ruled he should remain in rehab to receive further help, according to E! News.
The Kiss Kiss hitmaker was reportedly given a pass to leave rehab on Friday (21Feb14) to collect an award from a Los Angeles-based community group. He documented his evening in a series of posts on his Instagram.com page and later announced plans to release a new album in May (14).
Julia Louis-Dreyfus' fake smoking stunt at Sunday's (12Jan14) Golden Globes has sparked outrage among several U.S. senators, who have demanded organisers ensure a similar skit is not televised again. The funnywoman, who was nominated for two acting prizes at the ceremony, was part of hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's opening monologue, appearing onscreen wearing sunglasses and smoking an electronic cigarette.
The gag drew huge laughs from the star-studded crowd, but fell flat with Democrat senators Dick Durbin, Richard Blumenthal, Sherrod Brown and Edward Markey, who insist the skit glamorised the use of electronic cigarettes.
The four politicians have written an open letter to officials at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organisation behind the Golden Globes, and NBC, the TV network which broadcast the show, requesting they refrain from including electronic cigarettes in broadcasts.
The letter reads, "The Golden Globes celebrates entertainers who are an influence on young fans. We ask the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and NBC Universal to take actions to ensure that future broadcasts of the Golden Globes do not intentionally feature images of e-cigarettes.
"Such action would help to avoid the glamorisation of smoking and protect the health of young fans."
Leonardo DiCaprio was also spotted inhaling nicotine-laced vapour from an electronic cigarette at his table during the prizegiving at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California.