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16 Surprising Facts About The MTV VMAs

The VMAs nomination process is shrouded in secrecy.

1. This year's VMAs mark the 33rd time MTV has presented the awards show honoring the best music videos of the year.


The first VMAs was in 1984, when MTV was just three years old. This year's eligible videos were those released between early July 2015 and July 2016.

2. In the 33 years of the awards, the ceremony has only taken place outside of the New York or Los Angeles areas three times. Miami hosted In 2004 and 2005, and Las Vegas hosted in 2007.

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Britney Spears last performed in 2007 at Las Vegas' Palms Casino Resort, also the site of MTV's infamous The Real World: Las Vegas season. Sunday's show will be held in New York's Madison Square Garden.

3. The most awarded video in VMAs history is Peter Gabriel's 1987 Claymation masterpiece "Sledgehammer," which took home 9 VMAs in a single night.

Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" won 7 in 2010, making it the second most awarded video.

4. Though she hasn't won an award in 17 years, Madonna is the most awarded artist in VMAs history. Between 1986 and 1999, Madonna won 20 Moonmen.

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Madonna also stole the show at the first ever VMAs in 1984 when she performed "Like a Virgin" while wearing a wedding dress.

5. Meanwhile, Beyoncé has the second highest number of VMAs with 16.

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However, as she's nominated in 10 different categories, it's highly possible that Beyoncé could take the top spot on Sunday.

6. New York's Radio City Music Hall has hosted the VMAs 11 times, more than any other venue. Tonight will be the first time the show will be held at Madison Square Garden.

While New York City has been generally accommodating to the awards show, MTV has definitely tested that relationship. In 2000 when Eminem assembled hundreds of lookalikes for his performance of "The Real Slim Shady," the NYPD was reportedly NOT happy. They had to cut rehearsals short because the police said "New York City needs their street back."

7. While viewers get to vote for VMA winners at, a secret committee is responsible for selecting nominees. And, if you ask them, MTV won't tell you who picks the nominees.

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

In light of last year's controversy over Nicki Minaj getting snubbed, the secrecy makes the selection process all the more curious.

8. There are also six "professional categories" that are voted on by a secret committee of industry veterans instead of the general public.

These categories are art direction, choreography, cinematography, direction, editing, and visual effects.

9. The seating chart takes months to figure out. Celebs get to request who they want to sit by, but the camera crew makes the final decision.


In an interview with Cosmopolitan, MTV vice president for music and talent Gina Esposito said Taylor Swift's squad is usually one of the biggest challenges "because so many people were requesting to sit by her and sit with her. She's often really requested." Taylor has publicly stated she's not attending this year, so maybe things were a bit easier on MTV this time around.

10. Kanye West famously protesting Taylor Swift's Best Female Video win wasn't the first dramatic public display of dissatisfaction at the VMAs. In 2000, Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford rushed the stage and climbed the scaffolding after losing Best Rock Video to Limp Bizkit.


While accepting the award, Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst dared Commerford to stage dive, and then called him a "pussy" for not following through. The early 2000s, everyone!

11. Award winners have also used the VMAs stage as a place of protest. While accepting the Best Hip-Hop Video award in 1999, the Beastie Boys' Ad-Rock protested the violence and sexual assault that took place a few weeks prior at Woodstock '99.

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While accepting the Video Vanguard award the year prior, now-deceased Beastie Boy MCA protested US military intervention in the Middle East.

12. And while accepting the Best New Artist award in 1997, Fiona Apple famously ranted against celebrity culture by declaring, "This world is bullshit."


She followed this up a few years later by naming her next album When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He'll Win the Whole Thing 'fore He Enters the Ring There's No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might so When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won't Matter, Cuz You'll Know That You're Right.

13. Contrary to popular belief, the yellow Burmese python Britney Spears used in her 2001 performance of "I'm a Slave 4 U" wasn't named "Banana."

Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty Images

It actually probably didn't have a name. A recent MTV News article tracked down the snake's old handler who confirmed she's still alive today and likely 15 feet long and weighs over 100 pounds.

14. Last-minute tickets for the show on Sunday will cost you over $400 on StubHub.


And sorry, there are only nosebleeds available.

15. The only people to win Video of the Year more than once are Eminem and Rihanna.

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Eminem won in 2000 for "The Real Slim Shady" and 2002 for "Without Me." Rihanna won in 2007 for "Umbrella" and 2012 for "We Found Love."

16. Finally, there are 27 awards categories that have been discontinued.

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Some notable past categories include "Best Artist Website" which the Red Hot Chili Peppers won in1999, "Ringtone of the Year" which Fort Minor's "Where'd You Go?" won in 2006, and "Best Video (That Should Have Won a Moonman)" which the Beastie Boys' 1994 video "Sabotage" won in 2009.

Enjoy tonight's show!


The VMAs air live tonight at 9/8c on MTV, with a pre-show airing at 8/7c. Follow BuzzFeed on Twitter for live coverage!