You might tune in to the MTV VMAs every year to see your favorite performers take the stage, or to see which of your favorite artists take home a Moonman. After all, a VMA is a coveted addition to any musician’s trophy collection. Of course, the Video of the Year award is the most prestigious category of the night. While everyone has their personal pick for Video of the Year, a few contenders were the odds-on favorites to win—and didn’t.
While Timberlake is a long-time fan favorite and his video for “Mirrors” won, Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” (feat. T.I. and Pharrell) was one of the most controversial and popular clips. His music video without a doubt made everyone jump out of their seat and sing, “Hey, hey, hey!” at the top of their lungs.
With Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams taking” the win, 2005 was the year the word “Jesus” was flying out of everyone’s mouth—and it was not in the usual church circumstances. Rather, it was due to everyone reciting the famous “Jesus Walks” lyrics as they jammed to West’s music video.
Elliot’s “Work It” video received top prize, which surprised teeny boppers everywhere. Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River,” a kiss-off inspired by his ex-girlfriend Britney Spears, was a TRLstaple. Don’t feel too bad for JT, though: the song rose to the top of the music charts and won him a Grammy.
The winner of the night was Van Halen’s “Right Now,” according to the VMAs. But according to fans’ hearts, the true winner was Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” with all of its rock ‘n’ roll vibes.
“This Note’s for You” gave Young his first VMA. It marked the first time since The Cars‘ win in 1984 that an act took home the main award without winning in any other categroy. The Viewer’s Choice award, meanwhile, went to another controversial music video: Madonna‘s “Like a Prayer.”
Sure, The Cars’ “You Might Think” video was the first to ever win Video of the Year, but to nearly everyone’s dismay, “Thriller”—Jackson’s pièce de résistance—was a pop culture staple and should have been the winner. It was—and still is—one of the best music videos. Period.