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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13. Usher feat. Ludacris and Lil Jon (2004)

In the multi-part "Confessions" saga, Usher says telling the truth is the hardest thing that he ever had to do. On the VMAs, he made it even more difficult by performing while being torrentially doused with a rain machine. Still, he managed to dramatically rip off his shirt like a pro. "Waited 'til the VMAs to say what I'm 'bout to say," he sang, perhaps updating the lyrics to address his estranged situation with TLC's Chilli. "Cause I know you still love me — I feel the same." Before he went full Robin Thicke, he climactically chucked a mic stand through a mirror, which signaled time for Ludacris and Lil Jon to join him for a thunderous, multi-stage stomp through "Yeah!" By the end it was fully crunk: Dancers swung through the air and Lil Jon indulged in a crowd dive.

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