Skip To Content

    58 Pictures That Show How Dramatically The VMAs Changed In 20 Years, Like Sorry Millennials, You Don't Know Any Of This

    What a different world.

    1. Overly affectionate "we get it, you're dating" couple at the 2001 VMAs:

    Kmazur / WireImage / Getty Images

    Overly affectionate "we get it, you're dating" couple at the 2021 VMAs:

    Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS

    2. Like, we got it then.

    Theo Wargo / WireImage / Getty Images

    And we get it now.

    Jason Kempin / Getty Images

    3. Shape-shifting, age-defying legend at the 2001 VMAs:

    Kmazur / WireImage / Getty Images

    Shape-shifting, age-defying legend at the 2021 VMAs:

    Noam Galai / Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS

    4. Guys showing skin at the 2001 VMAs:

    jack black and kyle glass of tenac
    Jim Spellman / WireImage / Getty Images

    Guys showing skin at the 2021 VMAs:

    Troye Sivan
    Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS

    5. Performance featuring a person flying through the air at the 2001 VMAs: Missy Elliott hanging from a giant chandelier:

    Scott Gries / Getty Images

    Performance featuring a person flying through the air at the 2021 VMAs: Doja Cat in a florescent hoop:

    Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS

    6. Cute audience picture at the 2001 VMAs: Britney and J.Lo:

    Kmazur / WireImage / Getty Images

    Cute audience picture at the 2021 VMAs: Avril and Mod Sun:

    Angela Weiss / AFP via Getty Images

    7. Tribute to a legend at the 2001 VMAs:

    Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

    Tribute to a legend at the 2021 VMAs:

    bretman rock
    Taylor Hill / FilmMagic / Getty Images

    8. Awkward older guys at the 2001 VMAs:

    u2
    Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic, Inc / Getty Images

    Awkward older guys at the 2021 VMAs:

    foo fighters
    Theo Wargo / Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS

    9. Fashion at the 2001 VMAs: Nelly's ode to Band-Aids:

    Safilo / WireImage / Getty Images

    Fashion at the 2021 VMAs: Lil Nas X's ode to Lil Kim:

    Axelle / FilmMagic / Getty Images

    10. The host trying to be weird + quirky at the 2001 VMAs:

    jamie foxx
    Kevin Kane / WireImage / Getty Images

    That's Jamie Foxx.

    The host trying to be weird + quirky at the 2021 VMAs:

    Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS

    11. Sisters at the 2001 VMAs: the Simpson sisters:

    Rj Capak / WireImage / Getty Images

    Sisters at the 2021 VMAs: The D'Amelio sisters:

    Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS

    12. Prop at the 2001 VMAs: a desktop computer:

    Scott Gries / Getty Images

    Prop at the 2021 VMAs: a bunch of half-naked men:

    Jeff Kravitz / Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS

    13. Winner at the 2001 VMAs: Fred Durst:

    fred durst
    Vinnie Zuffante / Getty Images

    Winner at the 2021 VMAs: Billie Eilish:

    Bryan Bedder / Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS

    14. Best New Artist at the 2001 VMAs: Alicia Keys:

    Scott Gries / Getty Images

    Best New Artist at the 2021 VMAs: Olivia Rodrigo:

    Scott Gries / Getty Images

    15. "Oh, he's there" at the 2001 VMAs: Christopher Walken:

    Rj Capak / WireImage / Getty Images

    "Oh, he's there" at the 2021 VMAs: David Lee Roth:

    Bennett Raglin / Getty Images

    16. Random group of presenters at the 2001 VMAs: Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore, and iconic girl group Dream:

    Scott Gries / Getty Images

    Random group of presenters at the 2021 VMAs: AJ McLean, Lance Bass, and Nick Lachey:

    Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS

    17. Couples at the 2001 VMAs: Britney and Justin:

    britney and justin
    Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic / Getty Images

    Couples at the 2021 VMAs: Jaden Hossler and Nessa Barrett:

    Jaden Hossler and Nessa Barrett
    Udo Salters / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

    18. Performance at the 2001 VMAs: NSYNC and Michael Jackson:

    Kevin Kane / WireImage / Getty Images

    Performance at the 2021 VMAs: Justin Bieber:

    Bennett Raglin / Getty Images

    19. Performance at the 2001 VMAs: J.Lo and Ja Rule:

    Kevin Kane / WireImage / Getty Images

    Performance at the 2021 VMAs: Camila Cabello:

    Theo Wargo / Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS

    20. Performance at the 2001 VMAs: you already know:

    Scott Gries / Getty Images

    Performance at the 2021 VMAs: Machine Gun Kelly:

    Theo Wargo / Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS

    And last but not least, let's compare the fashion because that's my favorite part and the part that will make you feel like Old Lady Rose clinging for life on that boat diving down to the Titanic.

    21. Fashion at the 2001 VMAs: Destiny's Child in a Tina Knowles original:

    Jim Spellman / WireImage / Getty Images

    Fashion at the 2021 VMAs: Justin Bieber in divorced 10th grade English teacher drag:

    Theo Wargo / Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS

    22. Fashion at the 2001 VMAs: Janet Jackson:

    janet and a date
    Kmazur / WireImage / Getty Images

    Fashion at the 2021 VMAs: Daniela Lalita:

    Daniela Lalita
    Udo Salters / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

    23. Fashion at the 2001 VMAs: the "Lady Marmalade" ladies:

    Jim Spellman / WireImage / Getty Images

    Fashion at the 2021 VMAs: Serena Kerrigan:

    Udo Salters / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

    24. Fashion at the 2001 VMAs: Willa "I Wanna Be Bad" Ford

    D. Kambouris / WireImage / Getty Images

    Fashion at the 2001 VMAs: Lil Huddy:

    Udo Salters / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

    25. Fashion at the 2001 VMAs: Justin Timberlake:

    Kevin Kane / WireImage / Getty Images

    Fashion at the 2021 VMAs: Kacey Musgraves:

    kacey musgraves
    Udo Salters / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

    26. Fashion at the 2001 VMAs: Will Smith:

    Jim Spellman / WireImage / Getty Images

    Fashion at the 2021 VMAs: WhoHeem:

    Taylor Hill / FilmMagic / Getty Images

    27. Fashion at the 2001 VMAs: Shakira:

    Kmazur / WireImage / Getty Images

    Fashion at the 2021 VMAs: Debby Ryan:

    Rob Kim / FilmMagic / Getty Images

    28. Fashion at the 2001 VMAs: Macy Gray:

    Dave Hogan / Getty Images

    Fashion at the 2021 VMAs: Katarina Deme and The Kid Laroi:

    Axelle / FilmMagic / Getty Images

    29. Fashion at the 2001 VMAs: Britney Spears:

    Kmazur / WireImage / Getty Images

    Fashion at the 2021 VMAs: Ashnikko:

    Taylor Hill / FilmMagic / Getty Images

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form