20 Best MTV VMAs Opening Performances

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

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15. Lady Gaga feat. Bryan May (2011)

Pop provocateur Lady Gaga showed up as her male alter ego Jo Calderone, a beer-chucking former Gaga paramour with a pompadour, a cigarette and a lot of bleepable jokes about his ex. Depending on your tolerance for Gaga's more meta moments, the monologue was either another ego stroke or a perfectly pitched bit of self-satire. The monologue eventually gave way to the arena-throwback ballad "Yoü And I" — which Gaga/Jo performed first at the piano, then as the frontman for a dance troupe straight out of West Side Story, then with Queen's Brian May serving up a triumphant guitar solo. Jo came back later in the show to (unsuccessfully) mack on that year's Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award recipient, Britney Spears.

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