It's crazy to think the first MTV Video Music Awards took place in 1984. Then, acts like Madonna, David Bowie, and Tina Turner took the stage with thousands watching at home. 33 years later, viewership has hit the millions, and the theatrics of the show have become even more extravagant. But one thing has remained the same: When it comes to the VMAs, every artist who touches the stage does so with the intention of creating an experience that will get talked about for years to come.
In an age when typical TV-watching habits are being turned upside down, and audience's attention spans are at an apparent low, acts today have an even tougher challenge in creating an experience that will get viewers tuned in and keep them entertained. It's not enough to simply be perched on stage propped up by a slender mic stand and belt away—audiences expect dazzling displays of choreography, costume-changes, props, acrobatics, pyrotechnics, and more to be wowed. One thing that still rings true however, is that talent will always reign supreme, and an emotional connection will always trump a flashy display.
From Michael Jackson's memorable performance in 1995 to Kanye West's amazing debut of "Runaway" in 2010 and Beyoncé's emotional rendition of Lemonade, here are the 25 Best VMA Performances.