Starting way back in 1994 the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs) continually provide phenomenal live performances, hilarious skits, deserving award winners and of course some truly outrageous moments.
Giving the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) a run for their money, here are 10 of the most shocking EMA moments of the last 20 years.
Miley Cyrus smoking a doobie
After Miley Cyrus finished Disney’s family friendly Hannah Montana in 2011, she seemed determined to shed her clean-cut image. And no year was this more prevalent than 2013. This year she did her controversial VMA performance where she grinded, twerked and caressed Robin Thicke’s package with a giant foam hand and she also went a little wild during her acceptance of Best Video award at the EMAs in Amsterdam that year.
After performing her post Disney hit We Can’t Stop wearing a silver catsuit and accompanied by dancing dwarfs, she defiantly lit up what appeared to be a marijuana joint while accepting the award. When in Amsterdam…
Sasha Baron Cohen as Borat
Borat, the hilarious Kazakh journalist invented and played by Sasha Baron Cohen, made an unforgettable appearance at the EMAs in 2006. Chatting to host Justin Timberlake through a live satellite transmission, he called Justin 'Jason' he told him to “take advantage of the young girls – they help you attract the young boys!” and “Last year I slept with the ugly one from Pussycat Dolly and look what happened…”
He proceeded to bring out a baby which he said he would sell to Madonna (who as we know has several adopted children) and noted: “My only concern is that this singing transvestite will not be such a good father”.
The joke was sadly lost on its victims, and Sasha would later apologise in 2009 to Madonna in person over the adoption gag. As any Madge fan will know, Sasha Baron Cohen starred in Madonna’s 2000 Music video as his other alter ego Ali G. No word on whether he apologised to the “ugly” Pussycat Doll though.
Kanye West gets angry
Kanye’s VMA outburst at Taylor Swift in 2009 over Beyoncé not winning the Best Female Award has overshadowed his earlier public vents. In fact, Kanye also got very angry at the EMAs in 2006.
This was long before Kanye was linked to Kim Kardashian and when he still smiled. Despite scooping the Best-Hip Hop award at the glitzy bash, he was very disappointed to not take home the Best Video gong as well. So much so, that when French electronic music duo Justice won the award, he stormed the stage shouted “Oh hell no” and declared that his video for Touch the Sky should have won as not only did it cost $1 million but it also starred Pamela Anderson. Watching the clip back, we feel especially sorry for award presenter Timbaland, who can be seen shuffling awkwardly in the background.
Rick Astley is named Best Act Ever
Have you ever been RickRolled? If you were an internet user in 2008, you probably were. This online prank involved providing a disguised link to a mystery website that actually lead you to hear Rick Astley’s 1987’s pop song Never Gonna Give You Up on YouTube.
The prank was highly beneficial for Rick and his fans, as his music exerienced a huge resurgence and interest in the almost-forgotten 80s star dramatically resurged. He even 'RickRolled' during the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2008 by jumping out of a float and performing his classic 80’s hit.
And this was taken one step further in 2009 when the MTV EMAs opened the 'Best Act Ever' up to the public vote. RickRollers and genuine Astley fans alike flooded the online vote, making Astley a shoe-in as the winner of Best Act Ever.
Astley may have garnered over 38 million YouTube hits from the prank, but as he wasn’t the writer of Never Gonna Give You Up he only received $12 from YouTube royalties. Hopefully he took home a bit more from his parade gig.
Bono gets political in 1995
Bono has never been one to shy away from speaking his mind when it comes to politics and global concerns. This was no different in 1995 when during the second-ever EMAs, Bono decided to speak his mind while picking up the award for Best Group.
The awards were hosted in Paris, and that year France had caused international controversy by holding nuclear bomb tests in the South Pacific. Seeing this as the perfect platform to put his two cents in, Bono declared:
“Well! Well, we didn't put out a record - U2 didn't put out an album. We didn't go on tour... that must be the trick. What a city! What a night! What a crowd! What a bomb! What a mistake! What a w****r you have for President! What are you gonna do about it?!? Tell me you're gonna do something about it!”
Sean Combs rewards nakedness
Sean Combs - aka Puffy Daddy, Puff Daddy, P Diddy, Diddy and most recently Love (also Brother Love) - kept it classy at the 2002 EMAs in Barcelona. While on stage, he said he would donate his diamond ring to the first woman in the audience who got naked.
One female audience member rapidly complied, running on stage and dropping her trench coat. Looking back it all looks suspiciously like a publicity stunt, but at least Sean did keep his word and gave her the ring – rumoured to be worth $50,000.
Christina and Kelly’s Feud
Christina Aguilera and Kelly Osbourne had an unlikely but epic feud back in the day. Kelly mocked Aguilera’s vocals and Christmas album in an episode of an The Osbournes in 2002. The abuse continued for a year until Aguilera decided to hit back at several awards shows, including the 2003 MTV Europe Music Awards, for which she hosted.
In between her epic performance of Dirrty dressed as a nun and taking home her own EMA for Best Female, she took aim at Kelly by throwing a dart at a dartboard adorned with a photo of Kelly’s mug. She also declared on stage “I just hope that I don’t walk into that sad, poor, angry little child, Kelly”. Ouch. Christina has since claimed the two have settled their feud.
Robbie Williams disses his own song
Robbie took home the Best Song award for Rock DJ at the 2000 EMAs. He didn’t seem too happy it though and told the audience:
“I am not going to say anything about people’s choices on this one, but I think it’s a terrible song - a silly song.”
Talk about grateful.
David Hasselhoff appears drunk
We all know that Baywatch legend David Hasselhoff is big in Germany. So it made sense that he would present an award at the 2009 EMAs in Berlin.
He may be a superstar in Germany, but he has talked about his battle with alcohol for years, and has sought professional treatment several times. On stage, he appeared to be under the influence, making a rambling speech about the Berlin Wall which prompted the international press to wonder whether he had fallen off the wagon.
Ed Sheeran hosts drunk?
He’s sold millions of albums and performed to sell-out crowds across the world, so Ed Sheeran certainly seemed a fitting host for 2015’s EMAs. But co-hosting with Orange is the New Black star and model Ruby Rose, some of Ed’s attempts at humour fell a bit flat.
He made several crude jokes aimed at Ruby - including asking her if she wanted to play “hide the banana” - that some critics wondered whether he was drunk. He did indeed make several references to having drunk some gin backstage and that he needed to “sober up”. Rose even told Ed at the end of the ceremony “I think you’re drunk” and tried to sober him up by feeding him pasta.