The 2013 MTV Video Music Awards will go down as one of the most memorable in the event’s rich history. And not just because of the bumper line-up or Justin Timberlake‘s epic 10 minute performance. We were blessed with a bunch of #pitchystrippers — thanks, Kelly Clarkson! — and enough off-stage drama to keep a Mexican telenovela going for months.
This was the year that the already blurred lines between on-stage antics and audience behavior finally melted away entirely. Rihanna and Taylor Swift both made headlines by throwing shade from their seats, while Christina Aguilera made her presence felt without even attending! In fact, the event played like Twitter come to life, which is probably why it was so thoroughly enjoyable.
Here are 12 of the event’s funniest/shadiest non-musical moments and highlights of the social media havoc they inspired. Grab some popcorn and take a seat.
1. Taylor Swift Shaded Harry Styles
It must be annoying running into your ex at industry events — as Taylor Swift can clearly attest. She kept her cool for most of the night but seeing former boyfriend Harry Styles present an award was too much to bear and she was caught muttering “shut the fuck up!” on camera. Whoops.
taylor swift saying ” shut the fuck up” when harry was talking bitch u got caught https://t.co/I8m4lNQZ5Z
— vik (@daydreamziam) August 26, 2013
2. Lady Gaga refused to open a car door
Mother Monster is not about that life.
3. Iggy Azalea photobombed A-listers with a mouth full of food
While Iggy Azalea failed to win an award, she can take some consolation in being the night’s photobombing champion. Here she is ruining a classy pic of Ellie Goulding, Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran and Rita Ora. While still eating dinner.
4. Epic Records shaded Katy Perry
Record companies really should think twice about throwing shade at artists from other labels. Epic Records took a cheap shot at Katy Perry and sparked a minor avalanche of hate.
— Epic Records (@Epic_Records) August 26, 2013
This sums up the response.
How is Epic Records throwing shade when Ciara’s career is built like 9/11?
— Tom Ford (@BeyoncesHubby) August 26, 2013
5. Rihanna pranked the lady sitting in front of her
Rihanna’s look of absolute boredom was, funnily enough, a highlight in and of itself. When not snatching wigs with a single withering glance, the Barbadian pop diva entertained herself by pranking fellow audience members.
6. Lady Gaga defended Direction
As the Queen of anti-bullying, Lady Gaga was not about to sit there and do nothing while One Direction got booed. She turned around in her seat to find the culprit but unfortunately Detective Gaga came up empty.
However, she did manage to rush backstage and give the boys a pep talk. Noone’s gonna hate while Mother Monster’s on watch!
7. Katy Perry copied Xtina
Katy Perry roared under the Brooklyn bridge but the internet wasn’t about to let her be great. It turns out Christina Aguilera delivered a similar boxing ring-themed performance of “Dirrty” a decade earlier and Xtina’s Fighters made sure everyone knew it.
8. Taylor Swift made Bruno Mars look like a little person
If RiRi can cut a bitch with her eyes, Tay Tay can do the same just by standing.
9. Ed sheeran got handsy
Ed Sheeran got very familiar with Ellie Goulding’s inner thigh.
The British songstress later jumped on Twitter to say that she carries on like that with all her friends:
I love that holding hands with my friends means we’re an item. In that case I am in many relationships. Lover not a hater. #whatthef*ck
— Ellie Goulding (@elliegoulding) August 26, 2013
10. Miley Cyrus’ flat butt became an international meme
This tweet pretty much sums it up.
— ✈ROAD✌RICHE$✈ (@iRun_BandzUp) August 26, 2013
11. Taylor Swift was clocked for copying Xtina’s hair
Christina Aguilera’s Fighters worked over time on Sunday night, reminding Twitter that the Bionic pioneer did everything first.
Baby Jane’s impact is undeniable. Inspiring one basic at a time. pic.twitter.com/tt29qxfYZy
— (@xtinaculture) August 26, 2013
12. Rihanna shaded Miley Cyrus
Rihanna deserves an award for her accomplishments in shade throwing. This gif pretty much sums up the entire show.
What was your favorite moment? Let us know in the comments below.