The 2011 MTV Movie Awards aren’t just an excuse to hand out buckets of golden popcorn (though, make no mistake about it, we’ll be on the edge of our seat when they announce the winner of “Best Scared-As-S— Performance,”) they’re also the go-to source for some thoroughly kick-ass musical performances, courtesy of the Foo Fighters, Lupe Fiasco and Trey Songz.
In fact, since they first started in 1992, the Movie Awards have made it a point to feature music, too, and over the years, everyone from D’Angelo to Weezer have graced its stage. So with the 2011 show looming on the horizon (it airs live, Sunday, June 5 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on MTV,) we decided to take a look back at the Movie Awards’ long musical history, and choose the 10 best performances of all time. Sadly, neither Ken Jeong’s interpretive dancing or the Les Grossman/Jennifer Lopez booty workout made the cut … these are musical moments, after all.
Our list, after the jump.
» Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg, “California Gurls,” 2010: The first TV performance of what would go on to become one of Perry’s signature smashes (and the official anthem of summer 2010), it was a campy classic, featuring KP descending on a surf board, beach balls, bedazzled booty shorts, plenty of palm trees and, of course, Snoop, who rolled on stage seated in a golden throne.
» Snoop Dogg, “Nuthin’ But A G Thang,” 1993: Speaking of Snoop, here he is in all his corn-rowed glory, beanpole skinny and stalking the stage at the ’93 awards, flanked by Dr. Dre and backed up by the legendary Funkadelic. Really, there’s nothing else to say about this one.
» Ramones, “Best Song From A Movie Medley,” 1995: The best punk band of all time tearing through the year’s biggest movie tunes — Urge Overkill’s cover of “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon,” Warren G. and Nate Dogg’s “Regulate,” and Stone Temple Pilots’ “Big Empty” to name just a few — all while working in a few of their own classics, too. And fittingly, they did it all in less than three minutes.
» 50 Cent, “In Da Club,” “Wanksta,” 2003: Fif operating at the height of his powers, snarling and swaggering his way through two of his most bruising hits while models blast targets with guns. A genuine moment in his rise to prominence, and a true heavyweight performance in every sense of the word.
» The Village People, “In The Movies,” “Psycho Bitch,” “My MTV,” 1993: The seminal conceptual disco group lampooned some of their biggest hits for the big show (“In The Navy” became “In The Movies,” etc.,) and earned a standing ovation in the process. Yes, this really happened , and it remains one of the most memorable performances in Movie Award history.
» Eminem, “Without Me,” 2002: A fierce and flippant take on the lead single from his The Eminem Show album, it’s notable for several reasons: Not only is it Em’s first appearance on the Movie Awards (he’s since performed two more times), but it’s the only time he didn’t take the stage accompanied by well-endowed puppets or end up getting teabagged by Brüno. Em’s lean and mean, but the real highlight might just be his “8 Mile” co-star Brittany Murphy, who stands in the audience with her two middle fingers thrust in the air the entire time. Mad thuggish.
» ‘Backbeat’ Band, “”Money (That’s What I Want),” “Long Tall Sally,” “Helter Skelter,” 1994: Some of the ’90s top guys — Dave Grohl, Thurson Moore, Greg Dulli (with cigarette), Dave Pirner and Mike Mills — strode on stage as the sorta-Beatles (they’d all played together on the soundtrack of the “Backbeat” film, which tells the story of the Fab Four’s early days in Hamburg, Germany), and proceeded to just jam out on some rock and roll classics. Awesomely, the Movie Awards producers kept the cameras rolling. The performance is also noteworthy because it marked Grohl’s first TV appearance since the death of his former bandmate, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain.
» Gnarls Barkley, “Crazy,” 2006: Arguably the oddest performance in Movie Awards history, Cee Lo and Danger Mouse took the stage in their “Star Wars” finery, backed by Storm Troopers, Boba Fett, Rebel Alliance pilots and what appears to be a few members of the Mos Eisley cantina band, too. Oh, and Chewbacca on drums. Sure, the song smokes, but it’s the lovingly nerdy details that make it all the better.
» Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Maps,” 2004: A hazy, downright dreamy take on their hazy, downright dreamy hit, it’s the perfect example of a smaller band taking full advantage of the big award show stage (sort of like Florence + the Machine’s star-making turn at last year’s VMAs). The YYYs perform in a Day-glo forest, largely in silhouette, while gauzy dandelion tufts waft in the breeze. It all culminates with Nick Zinner’s skuzzy guitar runs and, of course, a whole lot of confetti. Beautiful, art-y stuff. What award shows should aspire to, really.
» Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink, “Lady Marmalade,” 2001: The definitive Movie Award performance, chiefly because it’s also the most Movie Award performance: a big, blockbuster of a song, from a big blockbuster of a film, performed with vampy, campy aplomb by four of the sexiest, sultriest women in the biz. Diva-tude for days. Gitchy-gitchy-yah-yah. Voulez-vous coucher avec moi. Ce soir. One thousand golden popcorns up, in just about every conceivable way.