MTV Video Music Awards bloopers that still make us cringe

Aug 25, 2011 at 9:10 p.m. ET

The MTV Video Music Awards have a well-established track record of bloopers and bad taste.

Tokio Hotel

The MTV Video Music Awards may look like a slick production on the surface, but believe us,  it's full of bloopers.

But that's part of the fun of watching the VMAs -- waiting to see the next missed cue by a performer, the next missed shot by the distracted cameraman or a groaningly bad decision by a producer.

Yep, there are blunders aplenty on the VMAs -- you just have to know where to look. Here's our list of eight cringe-inducing moments of supreme ineptitude on the VMAs since they started in 1984. Make sure you tune in 9 p.m. Sunday for this year's show -- the list is sure to grow.

Wake up cameraman, it's Sting

P. Diddy's tribute to Notorious B.I.G., I'll Be Missing You, was a crossover smash in 1997 and Diddy performed the track at that year's VMAs with members of the Bad Boy family. The surprise of the night was when Sting, the vocalist of the Police's Every Breath You Take, which is sampled on Missing You, comes up through the bottom of the stage at Radio City Music Hall. It's a million dollar entrance but the MTV cameras missed it. We guess they were "missing" the shot of the night.

P. Diddy and Sting: The missed shot.

False advertising: Van Halen doesn't reunite

History was made at the 1996 VMAs when the four original members of Van Halen --  Eddie and Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth and Michael Anthony -- appeared on stage as Moonman presenters. But were they really reunited? Well, no. In fact, they got into a fight backstage and that was the end of it. Roth did eventually join back up with the guys 10 years later.

Nirvana's flying bass

Guitar players, if you're going to throw your guitar up in the air onstage, don't try to catch it with your face. That's what happened to Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic during a performance of the band's Lithium during the 1992 VMAs. Up went Novoselic's bass in the air and down it came on his face. He looked staggered -- and quite awkward.

Guns N Roses drops a bomb

We don't know which is more cringe worthy -- Guns N' Roses' bloated comeback performance during the 2002 VMAs or host Jimmy Fallon's sugar-high introduction of a band that bore little resemblance to the late '80s-era GNR. The appearance started the Axl Rose Botox rumors and stalled any momentum for a sustained comeback by the rockers. Fallon has fared better, proving himself an astute music fan on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.


Waterlogged VMAs

This one is tough to pin on MTV, but in hindsight the whole thing turned out to be in very poor taste. The 2005 VMAs had a water theme -- My Chemical Romance performed Helena in a sea of umbrellas and Kelly Clarkson doused herself with water following a performance of Since U Been Gone at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. The problem is that Hurricane Katrina was bearing down on the Gulf Coast the night of the VMAs. MTV should have turned off the spigot.

Keep it in Vegas

The 2007 VMAs were downsized to The Palms in Las Vegas and the host was deleted. We suppose the producers were going for a cozy, backstage feel but instead it was a cramped mess of miscues, awkward moments and unseemly pairings. The big news out of this debacle was the Kid Rock-Tommy Lee fist fight (for the honor of Pamela Anderson?) and the failed Britney Spears comeback performance. On this small stage, Britney was doomed to fail.

Checking out of the Tokio Hotel

We're not going to make too big of a deal about the appropriateness of award winners over the years, but we certainly could. Going back to the very first VMAs, we have to scratch our heads when considering that the The Cars' You Might Think beat out Michael Jackson's seminal Thriller for video of the year. But one award we'll take issue with here is Tokio Hotel winning the Best New Artist Moonman at the 2008 awards, beating out Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Jordin Sparks. Let's be frank. No one knew who Tokio Hotel was then and no one knows now. (Point of reference, they're a German rock band who dresses like Japanese anime characters.)

Everyone, including Travis McCoy, was stunned.

"My girlfriend, my ex-girlfriend (Katy Perry) was up for Best New Artist and they won," McCoy said. "I'm watching the speech thinking 'Just say thank you,' you know, and he went on and on. I'm not a hater so I can't get really deep into these guys."

That's OK Travie, we'll do it for you.

Madonna's stolen kiss

Once again, it's a case of a sleeping cameraman -- or a producer. The 2003 VMA Madonna, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera performance has become infamous for the Madge-Britney kiss, but Madonna also kissed Xtina. Viewers only saw a split second of the Madge-Xtina kiss because producers thought a cutaway shot to Justin Timberlake's reaction in the audience would better serve viewers. Perhaps, but it subtracted from the, er, performance on stage.


Images courtesy of and MTV