The Most Unforgettable Grammys Performances of All Time

From Britney Spears to Dua Lipa.

Dua Lipa Pink Versace Costume 2021 Grammys
Photo: Getty Images

Each year, we watch the Grammys and think, "OK, how are they going to top that?"

With every iteration, the awards show raises the bar, whether it's bringing the audience to its feet with emotional power ballads, once-in-a-lifetime mash-ups, or goosebump-inducing hits that tear the roof of the auditorium. Remember when Alicia Keys played two pianos ... at once? Or when unlikely couple Elton John and Eminem paired up for a duet that no one saw coming in 2001? How about when power couple Beyoncé and Jay Z (finally!) performed together onstage, or when Lady Gaga "hatched" from an egg?

You don't? Well, then get caught up with this incredible look back.

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Olivia Rodrigo, 2022

Olivia Rodrigo performed "Drivers License" the same night she took home the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

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Billie Eilish, 2022

For her second performance at the Grammys, Billie Eilish performed "Happier Than Ever." The album (which shared the same name as the track) was nominated for Album of the Year and Pop Vocal Album of the Year.

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Dua Lipa, 2021

Dua Lipa Pink Versace Bra and Underwear 2021 Grammys
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Quintessential cool girl Dua Lipa took to the Grammys stage in a head-to-toe bedazzled pink Versace costume and brought dance moves and vocals that just don't quit. The pop star also took home the trophy for Best Pop Vocal Album for her album Future Nostalgia.

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Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B, 2021

Megan Thee Stallion Cardi B "WAP" 2021 Grammys
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The rap icons' performance of their hit song "WAP" was every bit as wild as you'd imagine — from the giant high-heel stripper pole to the twerking on the larger-than-life bed.

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Billie Eilish and Finneas, 2020

Billie Eilish Finneas Match Gucci Suits 2020 Grammys
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Billie Eilish gave a hauntingly beautiful performance of her popular song "When the Party's Over" with her brother, Finneas. Her unfaltering vocal control and quietly perfect tone are chill-inducing. She also took home five awards that night, including the four biggest awards of the night (Best New Artist, Album of the Year, and Record and Song of the Year).

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Demi Lovato, 2020

Demi Lovato White Gown "Anyone" 2020 Grammys Performance
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Demi Lovato moved the crowd and millions of viewers at home with their first performance back following their overdose. The talented vocalist belted "Anyone" and even had to restart the song after choking up at the beginning. The heart-wrenching song carried even more weight following Kobe Bryant's death earlier that day.

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Lizzo, 2020

Lizzo Catsuit 2020 Grammy Performance
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Lizzo opened the show with an electric performance of "Cuz I Love You" and smash hit "Truth Hurts," which was nominated for both Record and Song of the Year. And who could forget that iconic flute moment?

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Ariana Grande, 2020

Ariana Grande Bed 2020 Grammys
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The vocal powerhouse started off the performance with a rendition of "Imagine" before singing a quick verse of "Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music before breaking into "7 Rings" and ending with "Thank U Next."

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Cardi B, 2019

Cardi B Sheer Cheetah-Print Catsuit 2019 Grammys
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Wearing a cheetah-print, sheer and bedazzled catsuit, Cardi B took the Grammy stage to perform her hit "Money," which included dancers, silk-padded stairs, and twerking on a piano.

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Lady Gaga and Mark Ronson, 2019

Lady Gaga Rhinestone Catsuit Mark Ronson 2019 Grammys
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Although Lady Gaga's Oscar-winning song "Shallow" from A Star is Born, doesn't seem like the head-banging type, the performer still brought her funky dance moves to the stage when she sang it with Mark Ronson at the 61st annual Grammys.

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Alicia Keys, 2019

Alicia Keys Two Pianos 2019 Grammys
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The iconic, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, who was also hosting the show, played two pianos at once while belting out some of music's biggest hits, like "Empire State of Mind," "Killing Me Softly," and "Use Somebody."

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Bruno Mars and Cardi B, 2018

Cardi B Bruno Mars "Finesse" 2018 Grammys
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The two superstars' performance of their smash hit "Finesse" was dripping in, well, finesse. Cardi B expertly rapped while Bruno showed off his smooth moves during a dance break, all while wearing perfect '90s getups.

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Elton John and Miley Cyrus, 2018

Elton John Miley Cyrus Piano 2018 Grammys
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Elton John did what he does best and tickled the keys while Miley Cyrus joined him in a regal-looking ballgown to perform a duet version of "Tiny Dancer."

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Lady Gaga, 2017

Lady Gaga performing at the Grammys with Metallica in 2017
Christopher Polk/Getty Images

We know to expect the unexpected when it's time for Lady Gaga to hit the stage, and the pop star seriously surprised us when she put the pedal to the meal with Metallica. She performed "Moth Into Flame" in full rock-n-roll gear like a true badass.

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Adele, 2017

Adele performing at the 2017 Grammys in a black gown with fringe details
Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Of course, there's no denying that Adele has legendary vocal ability. But her performance didn't come without a mishap, which honestly made us fall in love with her all over again. She honored the late George Michael with a rendition of "Fastlove," but quickly stopped the song and asked to start all over. "I fucked up, I can't do it again like last year," she said. "I can't mess this up for him." Bravo.

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Beyoncé, 2017

Beyoncé performing at the 2017 Grammys in a gold outfit, jewelry, and headpiece
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Queen Bey seriously out-slayed herself on stage not only because she performed while carrying twins Sir and Rumi Carter, but because she reminded us that her crown certainly doesn't belong on anyone else's head. She performed a chilling rendition of "Sandcastles" with a medley of "Love Drought" all while wearing a super dramatic gold dress. The best part? During a Last Supper scene, a chair tipped her back — nearly to the ground — and thankfully brought her right back up in a seated position. That's how you slay.

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Kendrick Lamar, 2016

Kendrick Lamar performing at the 2016 Grammys with flames in back
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

The rapper's powerful, racially-charged performance has stayed with us since he took the stage in February 2016. With chilling visuals and a surplus of passion, Lamar's 6-minute set will surely go down as one of the most affecting Grammys performance in history.

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Justin Bieber, 2016

Justin Bieber performing at the 2016 Grammys in a leopard jacket and backwards hat
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The Biebs, outfitted in a leopard-print bomber and backwards baseball cap, gave one of his most soulful performances to date — delivering an acoustic medley of hits songs, "Love Yourself" and "Where Are Ü Now."

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Lady Gaga, 2016

Lady Gaga performing at the 2016 Grammys in a David Bowie-inspired outfit
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Miss Gaga did an incredible job in honoring the late David Bowie just one month after his unexpected death in January 2016. The pop singer's intricate tribute and elaborate light show included covers of the legend's hits, including "Fame," "Space Oddity," and "Suffragette City." Gaga herself donned a bold red 'do for the performance, complemented by a bedazzled, Bowie-esque two-piece ensemble.

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Madonna, 2015

Madonna 2015 Grammys Performance alongside Givenchy-masked minotaurs
Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

Madonna stormed the Grammys stage flanked by a muscled army of Givenchy-masked minotaurs to sing her high-energy single, "Living for Love." The big finale included a red-cloaked choir and a standing ovation from the audience as Madonna ascended into the heavens by her waist harness.

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Beyonce and Jay Z, 2014

Beyonce and Jay Z's performing at the 2014 Grammys together
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Queen Bey kicked off the 2014 Grammys with a steamy performance of her hit "Drunk in Love." Dressed in a see-through bodysuit, the singer danced on a rotating chair before being joined on stage by her husband, Jay Z, for his part of the song. The risque performance had attendees like Taylor Swift dancing in their seats.

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Taylor Swift, 2014

Taylor Swift performing at the 2014 Grammys in an ethereal gown
Kevin Winter/WireImage

The country crooner remained seated at the piano for the entire duration of "All Too Well," but that didn't stop Swift, who head-banged from the bench in an ethereal Alberta Ferretti gown, from delivering one of the most emotional performances of the night.

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Pharrell Williams, 2014

Pharrell Williams, Stevie Wonder, and Nile Rogers performing at the 2014 Grammys
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Pharrell Williams and Daft Punk were joined on stage by music legends Stevie Wonder and Nile Rogers for an epic rendition of "Get Lucky" that had everyone in the audience on their feet.

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Katy Perry, 2014

Katy Perry performing at the 2014 Grammys with spooky costumes and scenery
Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Witch costume? Check. A haunted forest? Check. Perry's spooky rendition of her hit "Dark Horse" had everything you could ever want and need from a Grammys performance, including an appearance by Juicy J.

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Justin Timberlake and Jay Z, 2013

Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z performing in suits at the 2013 Grammys
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

For Justin Timberlake's first Grammy performance in six years, he not only was able to rouse Jay-Z to the stage from his seat next to Beyoncé, but got him to don the titular looks from Timberlake's newest single "Suit & Tie" from his album 'The 20/20 Experience.'

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Sting, Ziggy Marley, Bruno Mars and Rihanna, 2013

Sting, Ziggy Marley, Bruno Mars and Rihanna performing at the 2013 Grammys
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

What started out as Bruno Mars singing his hit song "Locked Out of Heaven" with Sting, turned into a Bob Marley tribute with Rihanna and Ziggy Marley joining them on the stage to sing "Could You Be Love."

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Carrie Underwood, 2013

Carrie Underwood performing at the 2013 Grammys in a butterfly ballgown
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Underwood performed her country hits "Blown Away" and "Two Black Cadillacs" for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards. Her custom-designed Theia dress showed off projected illustrations of falling roses, butterflies, and other images. "We wanted it to be artful and dramatic," Underwood told reporters backstage. "There are so many big performances at the Grammys, I just like to stand still and sing sometimes."

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Adele, 2012

Adele performing at the 2012 Grammys in a black dress
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Adele made a triumphant return to the 54th Annual Grammys, where she performed her award-winning song "Rolling In the Deep" (and earned a standing ovation) after undergoing vocal cord surgery in 2011. The 23-year-old singer also took home six Grammys, including Best Pop Vocal Album and Album of the Year for '21.'

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Jennifer Hudson, 2012

Jennifer Hudson in a fitted black dress with striped top performing at the Grammys
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Following the unexpected death of six-time Grammy winner Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson took to the stage during the 54th Grammys to perform an emotional tribute to Houston by singing the hit song, "I Will Always Love You."

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Katy Perry, 2012

Katy Perry with a blue bob and futuristic bodycon outfit performing at the Grammys
John Shearer/WireImage

Triple-nominee Katy Perry started her performance in a poison green alien costume for "ET" before stripping down to a formfitting bodysuit to sing power anthem "Part of Me." The striking costume was a collaboration between Perry, stylist Johnny Wujek and designer Abigail Greydanus. "Inspired by the idea of a post-apocalyptic warrior with a futuristic touch to it, this latex outfit looked truly outstanding on Katy Perry," blogged Greydanus.

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Nicki Minaj, 2012

Collage of Nicki Minaj in a tiered Oscar de la Renta gown performing at the Grammys
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic (2)

The Best New Artist nominee (wearing a tiered Oscar de la Renta halter gown) scaled the stage in a controversial performance of "Roman Holiday" that including levitation and a faux exorcism.

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Lady Gaga, 2011

Lady Gaga performing at the 2011 Grammys in a cream hat, sheer coat and skirt, and bra

Prior to hitting the stage, Lady Gaga made her way down the red carpet in a Hussein Chalayan-designed pod, allowing choreographer Laurieann Gibson to speak to performers. "She's incubating," she said. "She won't be born until her performance this evening." She emerged in a rubber Mugler by Nicole Formichetti ensemble to perform "Born This Way."

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Cee Lo Green, Gwyneth Paltrow and the Muppets, 2011

Cee Lo Green in a colorful feathered outfit with Gwyneth Paltrow in all black standing atop a piano
Michael Caulfield/WireImage

Cee Lo Green and Gwyneth Paltrow did not skimp on fashion when it came to their duet of "Forget You." Paltrow added Louboutin booties and Wilfredo Rosado feathered earrings to her Stella McCartney jumpsuit while Green worked with stylist Shawn Barton and costumer Maria Harper on his Elton John-inspired getup.

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Rihanna and Adam Levine, 2011

Rihanna in a Christian Dior Couture dress performing with Adam Levine at the Grammys
Michael Caulfield/WireImage

Before being joined by Eminem, Rihanna sang "Love the Way You Lie, Part 2" accompanied by Maroon 5's Adam Levine. Her pansy-print gown was courtesy of Christian Dior haute couture.

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Pink, 2010

Pink wearing a barely-there jumpsuit mid-gravity-defying performance
AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Former gymnast Pink put her skills into action for a gravity-defying performance of "Glitter in the Air." Wearing a barely-there jumpsuit from master costumer Bob Mackie, she rotated over the audience suspended from aerial silks. "I was like, 'Well, why can't I do it and sing?'" she said of the feat. "Everyone's pretty much done everything else there is to do." Although the singer did not go home with a Grammy that night, she did receive a standing ovation from her awestruck peers.

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Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks, 2010

Taylor Swift performing with Stevie Nicks at the 2010 Grammys
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Taylor Swift — who took home four awards during the 52nd Grammys — lived one of her fairytales when she shared the stage with Stevie Nicks to perform Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon" and Swift's hit song, "You Belong With Me."

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Lady Gaga, 2010

Lady Gagay performing at the 2010 Grammys wearing a green glitter leotard
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Sporting a custom Giorgio Armani outfit, Lady Gaga hit the stage to sing a mashup of "Poker Face," "Speechless" and "Your Song." During the latter, she accompanied Elton John on a double-sided piano designed by artist Terence Koh. The duo wore Swarovski crystal-studded shades also courtesy of Armani.

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Katy Perry, 2009

Katy Perry in a colorful outfit and black bob alongside backup dancers wearing white

"I'm going to be ascending from the ceiling-by banana," Katy Perry told MTV News of her much-anticipated performance of "I Kissed a Girl." Following her Chiquita moment, Perry romped around the giant fruit-covered set with backup dancers dressed in suits.

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Beyonce and Tina Turner, 2008

Beyonce and Tina Turner wearing silver outfits in a joint Grammy performance

A 26-year-old Beyonce joined 67-year-old Tina Turner for an exuberant version of Turner's Grammy-winning single "Proud Mary." The duo rocked both coordinating silver outfits and energetic dance moves.

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Christina Aguilera, 2007

Christina Aguilera in an ivory three-piece suit performing at the 2007 Grammys

In honor of the late James Brown, Christina Aguilera belted a version of the Godfather of Soul's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World." As a nod to the song's theme, the star sported an ivory three-piece suit.

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Shakira and Wyclef Jean, 2007

Shakira performing at the 2007 Grammys in a gold bandeau and skirt
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Bollywood was the inspiration for Shakira and Wyclef Jean's gilded version of "Hips Don't Lie." The Colombian singer showed off her belly-dancing skills in a metallic bustier and matching skirt.

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Kanye West, 2006

Kanye West performing at the 2006 Grammys in a marching band outfit

"I been here two years in a row, if I don't win there's going to be a problem," said Kanye West, kicking off a "Grammys halftime" show. Dressed as a bandleader, he sparred with rival Jamie Foxx as they performed a marching band version of "Gold Digger" complete with competing step groups. Luckily, there was no problem: the rapper/producer picked up three gramophones over the course of the evening.

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Madonna and The Gorillaz, 2006

Madonna performing at the 2006 Grammys in a purple glitter leotard
Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/Corbis

A leotard-clad Madonna disco-danced past virtual performers The Gorillaz during a version of her hit track, "Hung Up," proving that 3D imaging is no match for an amazingly toned (47-year-old!) dancer's body.

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Usher and James Brown, 2005

Usher in a black suit and James Brown in a red suit performing at the 2005 Grammys
Frank Micelotta/Getty

A blast of brass announced the entrance of James Brown following Usher's performance of "Caught Up." The 71-year-old performer showed off his slick moves to "Sex Machine" in a can't-miss-him fringed red suit.

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Kanye West, 2005

Kanye West wearing a white suit and angel wings performing at the 2005 Grammys
Gary Hershorn/Reuters/Corbis

For his bravura staging of "Jesus Walks" (which was interspersed with snippets of gospel greats "I'll Take You There" and "I'll Fly Away"), Kanye West employed a cast that included John Legend, Mavis Staples, the Blind Boys of Alabama and a "church" full of singing parishioners. The dramatic ending? West rising above the chorus wearing angel wings.

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Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, 2005

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony in a joint 2005 Grammy performance
Frank Micelotta/Getty

Newlyweds Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony harmonized for a dramatic duet of "Escapemonos." The deco-style set featured a bedroom and a dressing room, as well as a Dolce & Gabbana-clad Lopez.

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Beyonce and Prince, 2004

Beyonce in a hot pink minidress performing with Prince at the 204 Grammys
Frank Micelotta/Getty

"Never wanted to be your weekend lover," sang Beyonce as she joined Prince onstage for a tribute to 'Purple Rain.' The two single-named stars sang a medley of cuts from the album interspersed with the Purple One's guitar solos and a few dance breaks from Beyonce (who was clad in a feather-trimmed minidress designed by her mother Tina Knowles).

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No Doubt, 2003

Gwen Stefani performing at the 2003 Grammys in a "Love" bandeau, camo shorts, high boots and suspenders Grammy Performances

Supported by her group, Gwen Stefani sang a medley of "Underneath It All" and "Hella Good" during the awards show, shedding a strong-shouldered coat to reveal a tube top and camo shorts.

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Christina Aguilera, Mya, Patti LaBelle, Pink and Lil' Kim, 2002

Christina Aguilera, Mya, Patti LaBelle, Pink and Lil' Kim at the 2002 Grammys dressed in "Lady Marmalade" attire
Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect/Getty

"Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?" Christina Aguilera, Mya, Lil' Kim and Pink united to perform their Grammy-winning cover of "Lady Marmalade" from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. Although their boudoir-inspired costumes were positively jaw-dropping, nothing could top the entrance of the song's originator, Patti LaBelle with a soaring sustained note.

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Destiny's Child, 2001

Destiny's Child performing at the Grammys in coordinated glitter teal outfits
Dave Hogan/Getty Images

It was the performance that started it all! Not only did the trio take home their first two Grammys, but Destiny's Child made their Grammy debut by taking the stage to perform a mash-up of their hit songs, "Independent Women Part 1" and "Say My Name."

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Elton John and Eminem, 2001

Elton John in a pink polka dotted suit holding hands with Eminem post-2001 joint Grammy performance
Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

It may have been one of the most unexpected performances, but for the 43rd Grammy Awards, Elton John joined Eminem onstage to perform the rapper's single, "Stan." At the end of the performance, the two performers embraced and Eminem left the night with a total of three awards for his album, 'The Marshall Mathers LP.'

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Britney Spears, 2000

Britney Spears with a bob and red beaded jumpsuit with cutouts performing at the 2001 Grammys
Dave Hogan/Getty

Teenaged mega-star Britney Spears began her performance with a version of "From the Bottom of My Broken Heart" dressed in a full-length tutu and glittering pastel turtleneck. She made a 'Wizard of Oz'-inspired segue into "Baby One More Time," emerging in a red beaded jumpsuit with cutouts at the waist.

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Ricky Martin, 1999

Ricky Martin performing at the '99 Grammys in leather pants and a fitted ribbed sweater
Frank Micelotta/Getty

With his leather pants, big smile, and energetic performance of "The Cup of Life," Ricky Martin almost personally kicked off the so-called Latin Explosion of the late '90s.

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Madonna, 1999

Madonna performing at the '99 Grammys in a red kimono
Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect/Getty

For her high-drama performance of "Nothing Really Matters," Madonna made a statement with her geisha-inspired Jean Paul Gaultier haute couture kimono.

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Shania Twain, 1999

Shania Twain performing at the '99 Grammys in a black corset dress, high boots, and opera gloves
Frank Micelotta/Getty

Jaws dropped when country singer Shania Twain appeared onstage in a barely-there corset dress, over-the-knee boots, and fringed opera gloves to perform "Man, I Feel Like a Woman."

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Celine Dion, 1998

Celine Dion in a white gown atop a piano performing at the '98 Grammys

For Dion's performance in 1998, she was set to perform the Grammy-nominated "Tell Him" duet with Barbra Streisand. But when Streisand came down with the flu, the entire plan was changed just 24 hours before the show. After rehearsing the set just once, Dion sang her hit song, "My Heart Will Go On," which later earned her a Grammy award in 1999.

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Eric Clapton, 1993

Eric Clapton in a suit performing at the '93 Grammys
Courtesy Photo

The singer took home six Grammys during the 35th annual awards show, where he performed the emotional ballad "Tears in Heaven," which was written in memoriam of his late son.

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Mariah Carey, 1991

Mariah Carey with brushed-out curls performing at the '93 Grammys
Courtesy Photo

Mariah Carey made her Grammys debut in 1991, where she performed a flawless rendition of her hit "Vision of Love" and even took home two Grammys, including Best New Artist.

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Whitney Houston, 1989

Whitney Houston with a volumized bixie performing at the '89 Grammys
Courtesy Photo

If anyone's voice could give you chills, it was Whitney Houston's. She sang her gospel-charged hit "One Moment in Time" during the 31st Annual Grammy Awards that raised everyone from out of their seats.

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Michael Jackson, 1988

Black-and-white photo of Michael Jackson performing at the '88 Grammys
L. Busacca/WireImage

The King of Pop performed "The Way You Make Me Feel" and "Man in the Mirror" wearing an understated button-down blue shirt and cropped trousers. Not so understated? His otherworldly dancing.

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Tina Turner, 1985

Tina Turner in a shimmery red dress and her signature hairdo performing at the '85 Grammys
AP Photo/Nick Ut

For her spot-lit performance of "What's Love Got to Do With It," Tina Turner needed little more than her big voice and great legs to make an impression. By the time she strutted up a staircase to finish out the tune, the audience was on its feet.

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