Every year, the MMVAs (now the iHeartRadio MMVAs) shut parts of Queen Street down in order to accommodate the event and all the randomness that ensues. And from outrageous entrances to controversial fights to on-stage love affairs, the MMVAs have housed some memorable moments indeed.
This year—the 28th!—we’ll see performances from Lorde (who just released her incredible new album, Melodrama), Imagine Dragons (who are putting out EVOLVE next week), Post Malone, rising star, Julia Michaels, and plenty of others. Whether we’ll get some memorable moments this year is yet to be seen, but until tomorrow… here are 10 of the best MMVA moments that we still think about from time to time.
1990 – Maestro Fresh Wins
This was the year that Maestro Fresh Wes’s song “Let Your Backbone Slide” became a massive hit and won him an MMVA for best hip-hop video. At this point though, the MMVAs as we know them were called the Canadian Music Video Awards. Back then the show had performers popping up at different locations around Toronto (instead of in one centralized spot like today) and one of them was Maestro Fresh Wes, who had his performance of the 1990 smash hit broadcast live from Union Station. Just look at that getup.
2003 – Avril gives us a full moon
Avril Lavigne was Canada’s poster girl at the time, and she made pink hair, ties and skate gear oh-so-trendy. In addition to her style and talent, Lavigne carried with her a laissez-faire attitude, so her showing up to the show with the letters MMVA scrawled across her butt (a call back to when her pants drooped down the year before) was quite fitting.
2008 – New Kids return as Older Men on the Block
There have been plenty of memorable performances over the years, but can anything top the prodigal sons of boy bands, New Kids on the Block, reuniting on stage in Toronto after 14 years apart?
2009 – Lady Gaga lights it up
Gaga, known at the time for her outrageous outfits (meat dress, anyone?) did not disappoint when it came to spectacle. Not only did Gaga show off her extreme vocal talent and serious dance moves (even her rehearsal was top grade) while performing “Poker Face,” she introduced us her now infamous flaming-bra which blew up the stage and our minds, one more literally than the other.
2009 – Perez gets a black eye(d) punch
2009 was also year that the Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am got into a heated exchange with celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. While they each have their own side of the story, will.i.am and Hilton allegedly began arguing over Perez’s trashing of the Black Eyed Peas’ new album on his website. Hilton claims the argument escalated outside of an MMVA afterparty and that the band’s manager (Polo Molina) assaulted him, leaving him bleeding and with an injured eye. Hilton then took action, posting the above video and filing a civil lawsuit against Molina.
In addition to medical costs, Hilton claimed he suffered damages of “humiliation, mental anguish, and emotional physical distress.” However, Hilton also went on record to say he called the Black Eyed Peas member a “faggot” inside the club, which is not cool.
Whatever actually happened, it made headlines around the globe, and it didn’t take long for videos like this to pop up:
2010 – Katy Perry, Ice Cream Woman
Red carpet arrivals can either be really lame or really fun, and Katy Perry is all about fun. Perry stepped it up on the MMVA red carpet in 2010, rolling up in an ice cream truck and delivering frozen treats to fans and anyone who could actually reach the cones.
2011 – R.I.P., Jelena
Remember Jelena? While Gomez has since moved onto a new Canadian beau, The Weeknd, her and Bieber were the pop power couple of the era.
Back in 2011, when Gomez—who hosted the show—announced that there was a tie between Drake and Justin Bieber, young Justin delivered a charming acceptance speech that had him pretending to meet his lady for the first time, saying “You’re very beautiful. Maybe we can go out sometime.” Ah, young love. This exchange has forever been cemented in their never-ending love saga scrapbook. RIP Jelena.
2011 – Black Keys rock out
If you’ve ever watched the MMVAs you’ll notice a trend: most of the performers are more pop than not. So, when acclaimed rockers, the Black Keys, performed “Howlin’ For You” in 2011 it was an almost random, incredibly delightful surprise for fans. But honestly, simply watching Auerbach do anything is delightful.
2015 – Ed Sheeran is R rated
Ed Sheeran was the co-host of the 2015 iHeartRadio MMVAs, and to say some of his jokes were a bit raunchy would be an understatement. While it’ll never be known if Sheeran was a little tipsy (or a lot tipsy), he decided it would be a good idea to say that his co-host for the night, model Gigi Hadid, was someone that “13 year old boys like to pleasure themselves to.”
Yeah. Weird. But the awkwardness and inappropriateness didn’t stop there. After Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz gave cats (actual cats) to actresses Bella Thorne and Sarah Hyland, the Sheeran spit out “I love this pussy,” leaving people confused on whether to laugh or gag.
2015 – Nick Jonas, HUNKy dory
Nick Jonas used to be part of the Jonas Brothers—you know this—but in 2015 the youngest JoBro stepped on the MMVA stage and performed solo for the first time. Gone was his chastity ring and “wholesome” image, and so began his transition into “sex symbol.”