Thursday, January 13, 2011

Your Favorite Madonna MTV Music Video Award Performance


In 1984, at the inaugural MTV Music Video Award show - Madonna - singing the never before heard title track from her highly anticipated Like a Virgin album, was the bride in heat. Singing, moaning and slithering down that cake like a serpent. Virtually ignoring the audience - aside from kicking off her shoes and chucking her bouquet in their faces - the sex drenched lioness prowled that stage, searched and hit each camera man as if they were prey. This was the very first live televised performance of her career.


Madonna ruled MTV in the 80's but Express Yourself was only Madonna's second live appearance on the award show in 1989. This was the prototype of the version we would eventually see on The Blond Ambition Tour. It is also the first time we see Madonna vogueing. Although they were on the Who's That Girl Tour in 1987, this is also the first time we see Niki Harris and Donna DeLory as her primary background singers and dancers. Something that would last until The Drowned World Tour in 2001.


Fresh off the Blond Ambition Tour, Madonna returned to the MTV Music Video Awards stage in 1990 performing Vogue as we had never seen before - Madonna donning Marie Antoinette garb. This highly influential and phenomenal performance set the bar on what we would see singers do at award shows and concerts till date.


In 1993, after The Sex Book and Erotica backlash, Madonna had been rehearsing for her 4th tour, The Girlie Show. That September before she hit the road, she gave a preview of Bye Bye Baby at the 10th annual MTV Music Video Awards.


It had been 5 years since Madonna had performed live on MTV. In 1998, she returned with her highly acclaimed Ray of Light. She started this performance with the album track Shanti/Ashtangi. Lenny Kravitz joined her onstage playing the guitar.


Later that year, Madonna went to Milan and performed the Power of Goodbye from her Ray of Light album at the Euro MTV Music Video Awards.


A few months after the birth of Rocco, Madonna performed Music at the 7th annual Euro MTV Music Video Awards on November 16, 2000. She would then embark on the Drowned World Tour in 2001, her first tour since The Girlie Show.


In 2003, Madonna kicked off the MTV Music Video Awards with an echo of her first ever MTV performance, however, this time she would emerge from the cake as the groom singing Hollywood from her American Life album. Her two brides - Britney Spears and Christina Aguliera - performed Like a Virgin. Missy Elliot also joins this lezbatonical mash up while a sour pussed Mary J Blige, Justin Timberlake and a host of others watch in awe. The Infamous Kiss from this performance spread around the world like wildfire.


In 2005, after being written off by the critics and some of her fan base, Madonna came back to the MTV Music Video Awards with a bang, slaying her competition and stealing the show with Hung Up from her album, Confessions on a Dance Floor.

It's been said time and time again who put the M in MTV. As for live performances on the MTV Video Music Awards, Madonna set the standard and left her contemporaries eating her dust.

What is your favorite performance and why?

30 comments:

  1. To quote M from the Virgin Interview- "Whadda you think?"

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  2. Hands down, Like a Virgin. Because one could glimpse a huge star sparkling through those beautiful eyes, and underneath all those layers of tulle and lace. Simply awe-inducing. Having said this, that Vogue performance may be, to this day, the most technical and artistically inspiring performance ever seen on TV, not to mention one of the most beautiful. Love your polls, Pud:)!!

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  3. My favorite is Bye Bye Baby. It is one of my favorites of hers from the Erotica album and I remember being disappointed at the time that it wasn't being released as a maxi-single w/video, so I was especially happy to see her performing it on MTV. It's an excellent performance.

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  4. I'll go with Vogue (1990). It was unexpected, beautiful, dirty and funny!

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  5. Although Madonna does the "white girl" dance, I loved Express Yourself. I love to see Madonna dance - it was a great performance. I was already excited about the album; it was a fun time for Madonna fans. Theatrically, Vogue was INSANELY INCREDIBLE! It was too beautiful! Of course, Like a Virgin will always be iconic. Her look, the whole 80's era for Madonna fans was crazy. Those are my top 3!

    FANTASTIC POST!

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  6. Vogue for me. But also a bit fan of Bye Bye Baby! (but did she forget to sing at one point?) Never much liked Live a Virgin the song so that puts me off. Express Yourself was great but what on earth is sitting on her head? Looks like she borrowed her hair from my old auntie.

    The one that shouldn't even be included is Power of Goodbye. The WORST performance of her career. Should have taken the wheels off the Ray of Light campaign. To this day I can't watch it the whole way through.

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  7. 1. Impossible for me to choose between Virgin, Express and Vogue, I adore all three. Vintage Madonna.

    Pud, you forgot Music from the EMAs in 2000 x

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  8. i really LOVE every M performance!
    the power of goodbye performance is not one of her best, but when i first saw it on MTV i was like "wtf??? the crowd goes crazyyyyyy!!!". was an unbelievable audience!

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  9. I'd go with Express Yourself for pure showmanship and one of her best vocal performances ever.

    Reegarding Vogue, it isn't often mentioned, but Madonna purposely failed to use any form of microphone as a rebuttal to those out there who were trying to lump her in the Milli Vanilli/Paula Abdul school of lip-syncers following speculation that she did not sing live while touring earlier that year. That was perhaps one of the funniest statements, and yet it was probably too subtle for the morons watching at home.

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  10. vogue was pretty good, but when she did hung up EVERYONE was blown away. with that performance, after so many years behind her in music she showed the world who is the queen!

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  11. My favorites are:
    1. Vogue for never-seeing-something-like-this-before,
    2. Express Yourself for its choreography and energy,
    3. Hollywood for shocking values)))

    Pud, did you forget Causing a Commotion telecast 1988?

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  12. For me, it's definitely Vogue. It's Madonna doing what she does best, and clearly enjoying it in the process. When you see a performance like this, you see that Madonna was born to be famous. Not only is she dance-step perfect, but she exudes charisma and star quality.

    None of the starlet pretenders who would like to think they are the heir to her throne have ever come close to pulling off such a truly iconic performance.

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  13. I love Express Yourself and Hung Up for their pure performance value, but Vogue does it for me. It's iconic, artistic and timeless. She could do that performance the exact same way today and it would still look current.

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  14. It's so hard to pick one, so I won't :). I love Express Yourself for it's pure fabulousness. Bye Bye Baby for it's genderfuckiness. Vogue - an artpiece. Hung Up for it's wonderful energy and glamour. And, of course, Like A Virgin is iconic.

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  15. Vogue,no doubt about it. Why ? Because is iconic !

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  16. For me it's a tossup between Express Yourself & Vogue - and only for the fact Vogue is lip-synched, I'm going with Express Yourself.

    Apart from everything else that's amazing about that performance, I love how looking back on it, we've got all that Blond Ambition stuff but also the Who's That Girl tour opening - it's still mind blowing!

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  17. Vogue. Simply one of the best live performances I've ever seen. The costumes, choreography, attitude... amazing!

    I also love 'Express Yourself' for the choreography, and the recreation of the 'Who's That Girl' tour opening behind the screen. The only thing that lets it down is her outfit/hair.

    'Bye Bye Baby' is cool too, even when she misses her cue 'Does it make you feel good to see me cry?' and then does an over the top 'I think is does!'.

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  18. so hard 2 choose.. I remember being a kid and the vogue performance showing on mtv and I sat with my mouth open in awe,,couldnt believe what I witnessed. I love Power of Goodbye, because it was two days before she would come to Stockholm doing a pressconference where I sat frontrow, because my mothers cousin is a journalist :)).. and I loove Hung Up, I was so nervous for her, because I was wondering how she would do, still healing after that horsefall. Shes just everything!!

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  19. and OMG Music in stockholm of course!! My God what a SEX BITCH GODESS!!! I was so proud being a fan, just shaking HA!

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  20. DIFICULT! BUT I LOVE AND PREFER THE LAST, "HUNG UP".

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  21. This is an easy one. LAV of course, followed closely by EY. Brilliant live performances!

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  22. I think the Vogue performance is probably the best of all because like you said, it really set the standard higher for everyone after that. It's so Iconic and legendary. Too bad I wasnt a fan during those days. My time came shortly after that.

    i also like Hung Up performance (and the whole Confessions Era) because she really brought us back to the early days of dance/disco. The body, the bodysuits, the Farrah hair were all brilliant!

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  23. Bye Bye Baby... what a shock that performance was for me at that time :)

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  24. it's a toss-up between bye bye baby or vogue. BBB was sooo cool. the attitude, the choreo, the androgyny, the era. but then it was also a tour performance, whereas vogue was a special little island of its own... ok vogue it is.

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  25. "Like A Virgin" and "Vogue"...

    "Like A Virgin" was such a mind-blowing performance and one that made me realise how astonishing a performer she was... and like you say, totally played to the cameras. I remember hating Bette Midler for her nasty comments after it.

    "Vogue" was simply Madonna at her triumphalist best. Glamorous, ground-breaking, sexy, provocative, funny... and effortlessly cool. I adore the idea of her watching the audience through her opera glasses lorgnette... who is watching who?

    I would also mention the magnificent 'drag queen' tribute at her appearance on the 1999 show...

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  26. Definitely her performance at the 1998 awards...Never would Madonna be seen again singing in a full Indian sari

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  27. Absolutely no doubt about it - Vogue. No one had ever brought that sort of planning and theatricality and balls and homoeroticism and intellectualism to the VMA's. It still outshines almost any performance before or since. The smashing of the boobs, the guys going under her dress and that exit! Way beyond! Amazeballs! Long live the queen!

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