As We Gear-Up For This Weekend's VMA's! Let's Reminisce 20 Years Ago, Britney Unleashed Just One Of Her Legendary MTV's Moment!

As We Gear-Up For This Weekend's VMA's! Let's Reminisce 20 Years Ago, Britney Unleashed Just One Of Her Legendary MTV's Moment!

"As we get closer to what is sure to be an MTV VMAs unlike any other thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty of outdoor, socially distanced performances, you may have forgotten that 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of Britney Spears' iconic 2000 VMAs performance, where the ascendant pop princess performed a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" and "Oops!...I Did It Again" in a sparkling nude suit seen 'round the world.

Spears' history with the VMAs has had its ups and downs, but what she did at the Sept. 7, 2000 ceremony at New York City's Radio City Music Hall is one of the defining live moments of her career and the awards show itself. It's a master class in delivering a televised performance that says I have arrived.

Set against an industrial, Metropolis-like set that brought to mind Madonna's "Express Yourself" video while rocking a sparkly black suit and fedora that tipped to Michael Jackson, the performance nodded to Spears' pop forebears and subtly declared her intent to occupy the same rarified air. And by the end of that "Satisfaction/"Oops!" medley, only a fool would have written her off as a flash in the teeny-bopper pan.

Of course, everyone remembers the bedazzled nude suit reveal, and for good reason – after she tore off the jacket and pants to unveil a midriff-baring bodysuit beneath, it was apparent that she'd just lapped every other pop diva vying for the 21st century Queen of Pop crown. And when she flung the fedora into the crowd and started flipping her hair around in a dizzying blonde whirl, well, it certainly changed the life of at least one future drag queen.

At that point in the performance, she'd already succeeded in notching an iconic VMAs moment and could have coasted by for the rest of it with some decent but rote dancing; but at 18, Spears was hungry, and her joy for dancing was palpable. After riffing a cappella as a segue into a thumping version of "Oops!," Spears executed some of the most memorable hand-ography of her career with razor precision (accompanied by shirtless backup dancers in baggy Hot Wheels-hued pants -- the '90s weren't going away without a fight!), and then proceeded to shake her hips at the camera with a machine-gun rapidity.

Memorable choreo and outfit reveal aside, it's the little moments that really make Britney's 2000 VMAs performance stick: the opener, where she's straddling the chair A.C. Slater-style; when she adjusts her mic while walking down the stairs to make it clear she's singing live; the crunchy pop-metal guitar solo replacing the Titanic-referencing interlude on the studio version; and, of course, that devilish smile she flashes at her dancers just before the final pose, as if to say, "Yeah, we nailed this."

Of course, the next year would see Spears deliver an even more iconic performance on the VMAs stage thanks to a python named Banana. But in 2000, she made it clear that the coquettish teen Britney was in the rearview, and Britney Spears – a confident, commanding pop presence with her eye on the long game – had arrived."

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