Most Iconic VMA Moments: Lady Gaga Kills Herself and Gives Us Life While Performing ‘Paparazzi’

By: Matt Russoniello / July 30, 2013

Is Lady Gaga’s 2009 performance of “Paparazzi” the greatest VMA performance ever? In anticipation of the 2013 MTV VMA ceremony on August 25, we want you to help us name the most iconic VMA moment ever.  We’ve selected five of the most memorable performances; vote for your favorite below. Continue reading after the poll for more Gaga goodies. Return each day this week for a new feature on each of the performances. You may vote once per day.

Return next week to vote for your favorite VMA fashion moment. Then, the week of August 12, we wil ask you to vote for your favorite VMA scandal. And now… it’s voting time!

A Few Things to Consider About Lady Gaga’s Jaw-Dropping “Paparazzi” Performance

Some context: Lady Gaga was famous well before her iconic performance of “Paparazzi” at the 2009 VMAs. “Just Dance,” “Poker Face,” and “LoveGame” smashed the charts earlier that year, and everyone was all, “That Gaga chick is so crazy!” But remember, this was pre-“Bad Romance,” pre-“Telephone.” It was before the meat dress, before the massively successful world tours. So when the curtain went up, people didn’t really know what to expect.

The unsuspecting — along with everyone else — were in for a treat. When Gaga took the stage for her first-ever VMAs performance, she let everyone know that she was The One To Beat. This performance helped catapult her to a level of superstardom not seen since Britney Spears rose to fame a decade earlier. Let’s be honest: do you really remember any performance from that night? (Not counting Kanye West’s interruption of Taylor Swift, of course.)

But it wasn’t over yet. After a fierce dance routine, Gaga was all like “Oh, you think I’m a basic pop tart? Let me play you the song of my people” and gave us a few dramatic bars on the piano — one foot up on the keys like a modern day Tori Amos.

The rest, as they say, is herstory. Gaga’s outfit began bleeding, and as she stumbled across the stage, “dying” before our very eyes, it was clear that this would be a performance to remember. And we did.

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite iconic VMA performance above. Return each day this week to vote again — and for a new feature on the other performances.

Read our feature on Britney Spears’ iconic “I’m a Slave 4 U” at the 2001 VMAs.