17. Robert Palmer (1986)
Unlike the American Bandstand-esque pantomimes of the first two VMAs, the first thing you notice in year three is the presence of real, live vocals — and who better to deliver them than Robert Palmer, one of the Eighties' most underrated vocalists. A no-frills rendition of "Addicted to Love" boasts a cool stage design with its neon MTV logos, smoke machines and Nam Jun Pak-style wall of televisions. The crooner's Hot 100-topping single held up without the video's army of fashion models — itself one of the most iconic images in MTV history and that night's winner of Best Male Video.