Here's Revisiting the Iconic 2003 MTV VMAs Kiss Between Britney Spears and Madonna 20 Years Later
Madonna and Britney Spears, the global pop sensations, are not only known for their electrifying music but also for their inimitable kiss that went on to make history in the music industry. At the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, held on August 28 in New York City, Madonna, dressed as a groom, had Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera as her brides, and in the midst of the performance, she shared a kiss with each pop star that left the crowd speechless. "I've been oblivious until this moment," the Like A Virgin singer said during an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
"I had no idea that it was going to cause the ruckus that it caused. It was just a friendly kiss." Madonna added, "I don't know why people are making such a big deal about it." Oprah, the queen of celebrity interviews, asked her, "You really don't?" At the time, Madonna retorted by saying that it wasn't a 'big deal' if two girls kissed, but when you consider this iconic moment was shared between some of the biggest pop icons in the industry, one can see why it got all the attention.
The 2003 VMAs had other memorable moments too, including Beyoncé's debut solo performance, where she was joined by JAY-Z, sparking dating rumors. Even in that opening performance, Missy Elliott made a surprise appearance, wearing a tracksuit tuxedo. But despite all this, 'the kiss' isn't something that people will forget about anytime soon, even if it did take place two decades ago. While MTV, award shows, and the general notion of fame have evolved over the last 20 years, this moment is somehow etched in pop culture and continues to remain iconic in its own right. A case in point: Spears recreated the kiss with Madonna in a photo taken at her own wedding in 2022, and a photograph of the kiss was even auctioned as an NFT the year before.
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According to POP SUGAR, producer Alex Coletti said, "Award shows are won and lost in the first five minutes. If you start a show with uncertainty, you will get an uncertain show. If you start a show with negative energy, you will get a negative [show], so I think that this open really launched one of our best shows."
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Reflecting on whether there was pressure to continually outdo themselves, Coletti stated, "I don't think we felt pressure. It was a time where that show, in particular, was taking all of pop culture, throwing it in the blender, and coming up with some crazy cocktail that no one else has. Everyone at MTV was creative, no matter what department they were in. It was never pressure, at least for me, because we were in such a great time for music, for staging. The show hadn't outgrown Radio City yet, which I felt was the perfect home for it."
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