Photo: BEImages.Ah, the Grammys. The one award show that lets the celebrity freak flag fly (excluding the VMAs). It's the one time all your faves get together under one roof while their respective fandoms prep the perfect "your fave could never" comeback for social media. Though the nominees of late have felt a little, erm, late (we hate to break it to ya, but Zedd, Best New Artist nom, has been around for a while), we've tuned in year in and year out, and this year will be no different.
To be honest, it's the potential of watching something wild happen live on TV that keeps our interest. Sure, the awards are important, but there's nothing like witnessing Lady Gaga arrive in a freakin' egg, before our eyes. The Grammys provide golden water cooler fodder. Heck, we'd probably have some viral dance movement akin to the "Harlem Shake" called the "Soy Bomb" had Twitter been around during the time Bob Dylan was soy bombed. It's moments like this one that define this pinnacle event, which is why we've gathered up the 15 most definitive Grammy happenings (in no particular order) that've kept us talking years after they happened. So, let's take a lil' stroll down memory lane — complete with plunging necklines and lip-sync scandals. Study up, y'all; Trivia is always fabulous filler when a performance goes to pits.
Jennifer Lopez's Versace Dress (2000)
It's the plunge heard around the world. J.Lo made Versace a household name and cemented herself as the early-Aughts sex symbol. Now, no matter how deep a V-neck one wears, someone will undoubtedly reference Lopez's chiffon frock.
Melissa Etheridge feat. Joss Stone (2005)
As if having Melissa Etheridge and Joss Stone pay tribute to the late-Janis Joplin wasn't enough, Etheridge bust out onstage post-chemo and nailed it. Cancer shmancer, Etheridge's resilience was incredible. If you ever think you can't do something, just think of this performance. Boom. Instant inspo.
Slim Shady & The Rocket Man: A Most Unexpected Duo (2001)
What's one way to show that you're not homophobic? Perform a duet on a major stage with an icon of the gay community. That's exactly what Eminem did with Elton John, and it paid off in spades.
Jennifer Hudson's Whitney Houston Tribute (2012)
The coordinators of the 2012 Grammys had less than 24 hours to assemble a Whitney Houston tribute after the icon passed away, just one day before the ceremony. Jennifer Hudson came onstage, opened her pipes, and did justice to the late singer's "I Will Always Love You." Chills? Definitely. Most definitely.
P!nk Flies (2010)
P!nk's performance of "Glitter In The Air" off her Funhouse album was the night's most unexpected showstopper. Simple, elegant, and incredibly cathartic; P!nk proved she was pop's unspoken force to be reckoned with.
Bob Dylan's Soy Bomb (1998)
Bob Dylan's performance of "Love Sick" was going pretty swimmingly until a dude emblazoned with the phrase "Soy Bomb" hopped on stage and started to, uh, dance. Dylan, however, threw side eye and motored on through the song. Instantly, Dylan's comeback performance became one we'll never forget.
Michael Jackson Scores Eight Awards (1984)
Jackson's Thriller garnered the King of Pop eight freakin' awards — eight. How he managed to carry them all is a feat we've no time to pour over, yet remains at the forefront of our pop culture-inclined brains.
Michael Jackson Out Michael Jacksons Himself (1988)
Jackson's performance of "The Way You Make Me Feel/Man In The Mirror" was his subtle way of reminding us commoners who the King of Pop is — as if we could ever forget.
Annie Lennox Dons Drag (1984)
Hey Lady Gaga, 1984 called to remind you that Annie Lennox was doing Jo Calderone before Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta was even born (this way).
Jethro Tull Upsets Metallica (1988)
So, when The Recording Academy decided to add the Hard Rock/Metal category, everyone thought Metallica was a shoo-in. Just kidding, though. The Recording Academy pulled a fast one and awarded the flute-fronted Jethro Tull with the award. Ironically, the band wasn't in attendance that evening because they, like everyone else, thought they'd lose. Hey, anything's possible in a world where a flute is considered heavy metal.
Milli Vanilli Fall Prey To The Best New Artist Curse (1990)
So, the Best New Artist award is notorious for being the kiss of death to an artist's career. Though it hasn't come to fruition in some time, it did for Milli Vanilli. Turns out they lip-synced the album they won for. Oops. Bye Grammy, au revoir reputation!
A Very Pregnant M.I.A. Hits The Stage (2009)
Jay Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and T.I. banned together to put on one of the most epic hip-hop performances in Grammy history. Dressed in tuxedos, the group created a modern-day Rat Pack (er, Rap Pack). Grammy gold, however, came when M.I.A., who was on the brink of labor, hit the stage and killed it.
'Ol Dirty Bastard Pulls A Kanye Before Pulling A Kanye Was A Thing (1998)
Poor Shawn Colvin, she was Kanye'd for an award she wasn't even nominated for. While Colvin sauntered on stage to accept the award for Song of the Year, Wu Tang's 'Ol Dirty Bastard tried to gain redemption for losing to Puff Daddy earlier that evening. It wasn't selfish, though, it was, as he said, "for the kids."
Radiohead's Marching Band (2009)
Radiohead brought an entire marching band on stage. And, just like that, the band geek stereotype got a whole lot cooler.
Beyoncé & Prince (2004)
Just...watch — though simply putting these two names in one phrase is convincing enough.