Already have an account?
Get back to the

Flashback! Here Are Britney Spears, Beyoncé and Rihanna’s First VMAs Performances

Flashback alert! Britney Spears, Beyoncé and Rihanna slayed their performances at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, August 28 — but they weren’t always the confident pop legends that they are today. They, too, came from humble VMAs beginnings.

Related: PHOTOS: MTV VMAs 2016 Red Carpet Fashion: See What the Stars Wore

In 1999, a 17-year-old Spears, now 34, made her VMAs debut with a fun-filled performance of her very first single, “…Baby One More Time.” The pop princess kicked off the routine with a classroom roll call before showing off her high-energy choreography. Moments later, ‘NSync (featuring Spears’ then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake) joined her on stage for “Tearin’ Up My Heart.”

Britney Spears VMAs 1999
Britney Spears performs during the 1999 MTV Music Video Awards held at the Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center in New York City on September 9, 1999. Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect via Getty Images

Since then, Spears has become a VMAs staple. In 2001, she delivered an iconic “I’m a Slave 4 U” performance while carrying a python. Two years later, she caused a stir when she kissed Madonna on stage alongside Christina Aguilera. In 2007, the “Gimme More” singer made headlines once again after a lackluster, clumsy performance. And this year, Spears made a triumphant return (her first VMAs performance in nearly a decade!) with her G-Eazy collaboration “Make Me…”

Related: PHOTOS: MTV VMAs 2016: Best Dressed Stars on the Red Carpet

In 2003, Beyoncé, now 34, and her now-husband, Jay Z, took the stage for her first VMAs performance. (Surprisingly, Destiny’s Child never performed, although they did present several awards in the ’90s.) Queen Bey made a dazzling entrance as she was lowered onto the stage while dangling upside down (!!!) from a harness. She then launched into a medley of her Dangerously In Love hits “Baby Boy” and “Crazy in Love.”

Beyonce VMAs 2003
Beyonce performs onstage during the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 28, 2003 in New York City. Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Although her entry was incredible, Beyoncé’s 2003 performance paled in comparison to her most recent VMAs appearances. Just moments before accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award at the 2014 ceremony, the entertainer wowed the audience with a 15-plus-minute medley of songs from her self-titled surprise visual album. In 2016, she upped the ante with yet another 15-plus-minute performance of her Lemonade songs, including “Formation” and “Sorry.”

Related: PHOTOS: MTV VMAs 2016 Afterparty Red Carpet Fashion: What the Stars Wore

In 2007, Rihanna, now 28, wowed the VMAs audience with her then-boyfriend, Chris Brown. During a medley of Brown’s hits, Rihanna joined her beau on stage to perform her smash hit “Umbrella.” Clad in a top hat and a black bodysuit, the Barbadian beauty sandwiched her Video of the Year-winning tune between Brown’s “Wall to Wall” and “Kiss Kiss.”

Rihanna VMAs 2007
Rihanna performs at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards at the Palms Casino Resort on September 9, 2007, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Chris Polk/FilmMagic

A year later, Rihanna opened the VMAs with her Good Girl Gone Bad hit “Disturbia.” In 2016, the “Work” songstress received the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award for her incredible 11-year career thus far (with a heartfelt introduction speech by her rumored boyfriend, Drake). Earlier in the evening, she slayed the stage with four career-spanning medleys of her biggest hits.

Related: PHOTOS: The Wildest, Most Iconic MTV VMAs Moments of All Time

Watch the holy trinity’s first VMAs performances in the video above!

In this article

Got a Tip form close button
Got a tip for US?
We're All Ears for Celebrity Buzz!