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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best MTV VMAs Performances

Neil Young jamming with Pearl Jam, Britney wearing a snake and your other favorite moments from MTV’s wild show

britney spears vmas

Britney Spears performs at the The Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in New York City, New York (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

The 2014 MTV Video Music Awards aren't likely to go down in history as anything all that memorable. Sure, Miley let a homeless teen accept an award and Nicki Minaj had a (possibly planned) wardrobe malfunction, but mostly it was rather pedestrian — at least discounting Beyoncé's epic show-closing mega medley. Shortly before the broadcast we asked our readers to vote on their favorite moments from the history of the show. Here are the results. 

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Nirvana – “Lithium” (1992)

MTV expected that Nirvana would play "Smells Like Teen Spirit" at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. The network had been playing the video for months on end and it was up for a slew of awards. Executives freaked out when they learned they had no intention of playing the song, and before they went on one of them said, "Just don't play 'Rape Me.'" Big mistake. Cobain began the group's performance with a few bars of "Rape Me" (no doubt causing the MTV suits to nearly have a collective stroke) before kicking into a killer rendition of "Lithium." Near the end, Krist Novoselic threw his bass into the air, only to have it land directly on his head and nearly knock him unconscious. It's maybe the most unintentionally funny moment in the history of the show. 

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