American Music Awards: Top 5 Most Memorable Moments From the Past 40 Years (VIDEOS)
From raunchy performances to drunken acceptance speeches, the awards show — created by the late American Bandstand host Dick Clark — has seen plenty of thrills, spills and buzz-worthy moments that had viewers gossiping by the water-cooler the morning after.
So who made AMAs history and imprinted themselves into our memories? Which starlet’s unforgettable stumble to the podium actual foreshadowed her untimely death?
Read on to find out.
Michael Jackson Sweeps the AMAs (1984): The King of Pop reigned over the competition during the 1984 AMAs by becoming the first artist to nab the most awards in a single year. Raking in a total of eight trophies, including the Award of Merit, Jackson made music history. Whitney Houston is the only artist to have ever achieved the same accomplishment — receiving eight trophies in 1999.
Guns N’ Roses’ Acceptance Speech (1990): In true rock and roll fashion, the members of Guns N’ Roses brought out their alcohol and cigarettes on stage while accepting their award at the 1990 AMAs. Looking a little worse for wear, guitarist Slash even dropped the f-bomb during the family-friendly award show, immediately cuing the “exit stage left” music to kick in.
Adam Lambert Gets Raunchy (2009): The former American Idol contestant had ABC fuming when he simulated several sex acts in his performance of “For Your Entertainment” during the 2009 AMAs. After the debacle, the famous PG network only allowed Lambert back with a recorded performance for The View, but banned him from ever performing live during their broadcasts.
Garth Brooks Says “Thanks, But No Thanks” (1996): In 1996, the country crooner famously rejected the show’s first — and only — Artist of the Year award when he was called to the stage to accept his hardware. “I cannot agree with this,” he told the crowd before abandoning his award at the podium. “Without any disrespect to the American Music Awards and without disrespect to any fans who voted, for all those people who should be honored with this award, I’m going to leave it right here.”
Anna Nicole Smith Introduces Kanye West (2004): In 2004, the late Anna Nicole Smith turned heads when she stumbled onto the stage in a skin-tight gown to introduce Kanye West at the AMAs. Though many laughed off her short — but slurred — 80 second ramble, the memorable moment unfortunately may have foreshadowed what fate would ultimately come to her just a few years later.
The 2012 American Music Awards will air on Sunday, Nov. 18. at 8 PM ET/PT on ABC.