Counting Down Madonna’s Greatest VMAs Performances

Note: The VMAs would be absolutely NOTHING without Madonna.

6. “Shanti/Ashtangi” and “Ray of Light” (1998)

Madonna — sporting dark straight hair, a bindi, henna tattoos, and an Indian sari — started out by performing her song “Shanti/Ashtangi,” before moving onto her smash hit, “Ray of Light,” accompanied by Lenny Kravitz, who played guitar.

Unfortunately, her serious/faux “spiritual Earth Mother” performance of “Shanti/Ashtangi,” is a bit of a snoozer.

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5. “Bye Bye Baby” (1993)

Madonna — dressed like a modern day Marlene Dietrich — brought her Girlie Show Tour to MTV when she opened the greatest VMAs of all time with a cabaret-style performance of “Bye Bye Baby.”

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4. “Express Yourself” (1989)

Proving that sometimes less is more, Madonna opened up the show with an energetic rendition of her female empowerment anthem “Express Yourself” — it also happened to be the first ever live performance of the song.

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3. “Like a Virgin”/ “Hollywood” medley (2003)

The most memorable opening performance in VMAs history; Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera donned wedding dresses and paid tribute to Madonna’s iconic “Like a Virgin” performance from the 1984 VMAs.

Of course all anybody remembers is THE KISS.

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2. “Like a Virgin” (1984)

An iconic and career-defining performance that not only catapulted Madonna into superstardom, but also gave the VMAs its reputation as the show with the most shocking moments.

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1. “Vogue” (1990)

Madonna’s spectacular Marie Antoinette-inspired performance of “Vogue” is amazing because it didn’t rely on flashy gimmicks, special effects, or large scale sets to wow — but rather it showcased one of her biggest strengths: her ability to dance to complex choreography.

We can even forgive her for lip-synching through it.

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