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

Does Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Eminem, Beyoncé, or Madonna have the most iconic VMA performance ever?

Vote For Your Favorite Performance!
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.



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  • milan

    gaga is the top.she has various styles. Britney has only one

  • idontcareiloveit

    I feel pitty of those ones who think pop music started in 2009. bitch please. spears is ICONIC. she's already in history with thirty years. gaga is so reductive.

  • idontcareiloveit

    I just cant believe we're comparing THE LEGENDARY MISS BRITNEY SPEARS with this one lady gaga.

  • Adriann Muh Lopez Garcia
    Adriann Muh Lopez Garcia

    Lady Gaga, cause she can actually sing, dance, bleed and die at the same time.

  • Bukeey Hamilton
    Bukeey Hamilton

    Somebody say Gaga can't sing?:

  • Dzakwan Rizaldi
    Dzakwan Rizaldi

    GAGA wow

  • jonathan7894

    lady caca can't sing her own chorus .. lol

  • Higor Castro
    Higor Castro

    Who is madonna?

  • Higor Castro
    Higor Castro

    Who is madonna?

  • Carlos Perros
    Carlos Perros

    yas @ the magde stans already seething because the queen is winning + she actually sings good live and dances her ass off unlike madge who needs those backup vocals to save her life yaaas

  • Lucian Gabriel
    Lucian Gabriel

    MADONNA ... !!! she is the best , the first , the last

  • Ivan Rodriguez Gomez
    Ivan Rodriguez Gomez

    LAY WHO? wtf? who is he? or she? MADONNA THE BEST!!

  • Juana de Triana
    Juana de Triana

  • Juana de Triana
    Juana de Triana

  • Juana de Triana
    Juana de Triana

    sorry but Madonna was the first , like virgin <3 of course ! and Madonna + Britney + Chrstina + missy

  • Rob John-Paul Wilkinson
    Rob John-Paul Wilkinson

    Nothing that Gaga has done is iconic.

  • harry123698745

    well brit's performance have stayed in history that means it is better, Gaga didn't even dance she was wandering. If Gagas performance was as good as britneys it would have already stayed in history.

  • Nelson Reyes
    Nelson Reyes

    I saw britts performance it was not even close to the paparazzi performance the only choking part of that performance was the snake :/ I luv brit but gaga really did it she danced she sang LIVE!!!!!!! She played the piano she bled shedid a whole theatrical show it was very unic and risqué I luvd it in Madonnas case I do thing she deserves second cuz she was the first VMA performer but just bcuz it was the first one don't mean it was the best one

  • Fernando Lourenço
    Fernando Lourenço

    We can see that you guys are really neutral, very impartial... Why didnt you ask everyone to vote for lady gaga? I'm sorry but EVERYBODY remember Britney's performance in 2001 and the kiss with Madonna in 2003..

  • André Ricardo Alves
    André Ricardo Alves


  • Pedro Luis
    Pedro Luis

    Even Celebuzz thinks Gaga's moment was better

  • Xavi Román
    Xavi Román

    Britney was better...

  • Sorbha Gulati
    Sorbha Gulati

    naah.. not looking bad... but I think she looked better with these getups...