20 Best MTV VMAs Opening Performances

Michael Jackson, Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga and more: Who kicked it off the best?

MTV VMAs
(Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

If the Grammys are "music's biggest night," then the MTV Video Music Awards are music's most memorable. For three decades, the VMAs have had an incomparable ability to distill a year's worth of pop music into a single killer ceremony-opening performance. Things don't always turn out well — Britney's 2007 comeback, for starters — but that's what makes the VMAs the most adventurous award ceremony in the game. We relived 30 years of the MTV Video Music Awards, handpicking the best 20 opening performances, from the Eurythmics storming the second-ever show in 1985 to Lady Gaga's debut as Jo Calderone in 2011.

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