We all remember where we were when we witnessed the kiss that shocked the world. I had just started college and was at a frat house. The room was packed, and people were doing college-y, frat-house things (I won't go into them because you've all been there). The VMA's were on in the background, but no one was paying attention.
When Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera appeared in bridal outfits akin to the one Madonna wore for her iconic "Like a Virgin" VMA performance in 1984, no one looked. Madonna rose up out of the giant cake dressed like a groom and still, no one at the party batted an eye towards the TV.
Then came the big moment. Madonna slowly removed Christina and Britney's garters, then stood up and gave them both an open-mouth kiss. The party came to a standstill. "Wait...what just happened?" someone yelled. "Did they just make out?" someone else shouted. Suddenly, everyone's attention was focused entirely the television, waiting for an instant replay. It was probably the most college moment of my entire life.
And, while the kisses weren't really long enough to qualify as make-outs, they would certainly be the only thing scandalizing America in the coming weeks. The moment is also trotted out every year when MTV does its countdown of the most shocking VMA moments. Would we even have been able to watch Miley twerk on Robin Thicke if not for Britney, Madonna, and Christina paving the outrageous-moment way? It remains unclear.
Now, thanks to Spears' manager, Larry Rudolph, we know exactly how the kiss went down. In a new video for Billboard, Rudolph explains that it was all due to the clever orchestrations of Madonna, the original provocateur.
"Madonna had been very, very, very rigid about the rehearsals,'" Rudolph tells Billboard. "She would never address me by name; she would just say, 'You, make sure Britney's here tomorrow at 10 o'clock.'"
Luckily, all of the planning worked out, and Madonna managed to shock the world with two simple kisses. But, it's what she did after the performance that surprised Rudolph even more. "Once the performance was over, I happened to be in the elevator at Radio City. She came off the stage first, and she walked into the elevator...She came right up to me. She put her arms around my waist. She gave me a big kiss on the lips, and she said, 'You see, Larry, it was all worth it.'"