Madonna's Memorable TV Moments
by David Ciminelli, posted Apr 19th 2010 7:00PM
The Golden Globe-winning series returns to Fox on April 13 with a tribute to the music icon, featuring the cast covering what's sure to be show-stopping renditions of some of Madge's greatest hits, including the '80s-defining 'Borderline,' an acoustic version of power-ballad 'Crazy for You' and the more recent '4 Minutes.' Even Sue Sylvester gets into the groove, coaching the Cheerios through an energetic performance of 'Express Yourself' and taking lead on 'Vogue.'
"It's big...huge," 'Glee' creator Ryan Murphy recently told Entertainment Weekly about the episode, which he's directing, yet he won't reveal whether or not Madonna will be making a cameo. What we do know is that the special episode will feature grander productions and at least 10 hits. We wouldn't expect anything less.
Madonna's decision to lend 'Glee' her entire catalog stems from the fact that she's a fan of the spunky song-and-dance show. Of course, the timing is also perfect for the master self-promoter, who is releasing a live DVD-CD of her Sticky & Sweet Tour on March 30, followed by the concert's April 2 TV premiere on VH1.
We're pretty sure that the 'Glee' and VH1 specials, as well as Madge's March guest stint on Jerry Seinfeld's new show, 'The Marriage Ref,' will eventually find a place in our ever-expanding compilation of Madonna's Memorable TV Moments.Believe it or not, the feel-good primetime hit 'Glee' is about to get even better ... and it's all thanks to Madonna.
The Golden Globe-winning series is airing a tribute to the music icon Tuesday night, with the cast covering what's sure to be show-stopping renditions of some of Madonna's greatest hits, including the '80s-defining 'Borderline,' an acoustic version of power ballad 'Crazy for You' and the more recent '4 Minutes.' Even Sue Sylvester gets into the groove, coaching the Cheerios through an energetic performance of 'Express Yourself' and taking lead on 'Vogue.'
"It's big ... huge," 'Glee' creator Ryan Murphy told Entertainment Weekly about the episode, which he's directing, yet he won't reveal whether or not Madonna will be making a cameo. What we do know is that the special episode will feature grander productions and at least 10 hits. We wouldn't expect anything less.
Madonna's decision to lend 'Glee' her entire catalog stems from the fact that she's a fan of the spunky song-and-dance show. She told Us Magazine that the episode is "brilliant on every level." Of course, the timing is also perfect for the master self-promoter, who released a live DVD-CD of her Sticky & Sweet Tour on March 30.
We're pretty sure that the 'Glee' and VH1 specials, as well as Madge's March guest stint on Jerry Seinfeld's new show, 'The Marriage Ref,' will eventually find a place in our ever-expanding compilation of Madonna's Memorable TV Moments.
MTV Video Music Awards, 1984
MTV's 1984 inaugural Video Music Awards telecast became a monumental moment in television history for one reason: Madonna. She is not just the only memorable performer of that all-star showcase, she also inspired the cable music channel's decision to strive to include a number that aspired to capture the energy, controversy and sheer bravado of Madonna's naughty bride performance of 'Like a Virgin' in all future VMAs.
When Madonna steps off the giant wedding cake, removes her veil and lets her hair down, she really lets her hair down! That unforgettable TV moment remains on a par with Elvis Presley's famous 1956 stint on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' and Michael Jackson debuting his mesmerizing Moonwalk on 'Motown 25' in 1983. Although the 'Ed Sullivan' producers decided not to show Elvis from the waist down to shield viewers from his sexually suggestive hip shaking, MTV's cameras were sure to capture every bump and grind that Madonna used to shine the stage floor of Radio City Music Hall. The cable channel showcased some decidedly naughty camera angles that played into Madonna's come-hither floor plan, showing the sultry singer humping the stage's no-doubt ecstatic floorboards and exposing her white lace panties and garter to the world.
Even while rolling and writhing on the floor in pop ecstasy, Madonna always recovers well when the camera zooms in for a closeup. Fellow VMA performer Huey Lewis was equally enthralled with Madge's performance, later confirming the obvious to Rolling Stone: "She knew what was going on with the medium of television, and we clearly didn't." He's right. Madonna's '84 VMA performance is immortalized in Rolling Stone's 2004 list of '50 Moments that Changed the History of Rock & Roll.'
MTV Video Music Awards Red Carpet Interview, 1995
"No, please don't," begged Madonna to MTV host Kurt Loder after deciding that it might not be a good idea to allow Courtney Love to crash her red carpet VMAs chat in 1995 because, as Madge laments: "Courtney Love is in dire need of attention!"
We never imagined that there was a stage big enough to support the egos of two of music's biggest divas, but apparently MTV used super-strength bolts on their platform because for nearly seven minutes audiences witnessed the human car crash that is Courtney Love steer her "feisty" energy in Madge's direction.
After nearly beaning Madonna's noggin with a compact in a juvenile attempt to steal the spotlight, Love, suffering a moment of LOL-inducing delusion, stumbles over cables and past cameras to casually ask Madge: "Whatcha' doin?" before feigning shock that's she's interrupting a live interview. She then shamelessly uses every tactic she can in hopes of bonding with Madonna, including comparing designer shoes, name-dropping famous friends and comparing her drive for success to that of the self-made superstar. Throughout the virtual hostage ordeal, Madonna remains cool but seems to waver between looking slightly uncomfortable and completely amused.
Sharp-tongued Madge eventually interrupts Love's nonsensical spiel by tossing in a hilarious dig regarding Love's well-publicized penchant for pharmaceuticals. It's a priceless MTV moment that left no doubt which diva ruled the stage.
Then came the jaw-dropping climax. Love, for whatever wacky reason, drops to her knees, quite literally bowing before the Queen of Pop when she pulls out her trump card, name-dropping her legendary late husband Kurt Cobain and telling Madonna that he once compared his wife to her. The scenario that unfolded resembled an updated version of 'What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?,' with Madonna staring down with disdain and addressing the comparison by muttering, "Oh, really?" in a bored aside.
Madge's longtime publicist Liz Rosenberg stepped in to save the day and literally pulled Madonna offstage to save her from further freakishness, but thanks to Loder's spontaneous bout of inspiration, that cacophony of cattiness will live on forever!
'Late Show With David Letterman,' 1994
David Letterman was desperately seeking a silence button when Madonna, in a particularly provocative mood, visited the 'Late Show' in March 1994 and decided to f--k with the FCC by dropping the F-bomb on late night TV a record 13 times! In between the curse words, the stogie-smoking Madge attempted to exact revenge on her host for mocking her saucy image during her introduction by requesting that he sniff her panties, which she presented as a gift. She then proceeded to diss Letterman's "rug," tell him he's lost his edge, call him a "sick f--k" and compare the boom mic to the manhood of an ex-paramour.
But Madge met her match in Letterman, who zapped her with a hilarious zinger each time she provoked him. The only thing missing from the hilarious 'Yo Mama'-like insult showdown was Wilmer Valderrama emceeing the event. During what has become her most infamous -- the Britney kiss notwithstanding -- TV moment, Madonna was a bit O.T.T. even for someone whose medium- and genre-jumping artistry loosened the rigid moral code of media over the last three decades. In fact, things got so bad during the interview that the audience actually jeered, but Madge refused to budge.
Years later, during a September 2009 interview with Letterman, her eighth visit, Madonna confessed that their 1994 fiasco probably "had something to do with the joint I smoked before I came out here." And then it all made sense!
MTV Video Music Awards, 1990
Madonna was faced with a weighty task when it came time to hype her smash hit 'Vogue' on the September 1990 MTV VMAs. After all, how do you top the stellar visuals of the stylish black and white video that was directed by future Oscar nominee David Fincher and nominated for nine VMAs? Leave it up to Madonna to do the nearly impossible by creating an entirely new showcase set in an 18th century Parisian palace, with Madge commanding the stage as a Marie Antoinette-like queen. And despite the exquisitely but heavy costumes, Madonna and her crew of backup dancers still manged to show some skin, flashing their fancy pantaloons and engaging in other sexy indiscretions during a newly choreographed routine that matched the stylish creativity of the original showcase featured in Fincher's classic video, which ended up winning three Moon Men, including one for best direction.
'Will & Grace: Dolls and Dolls,' 2003
It was big deal when Madonna guest-starred on 'Will & Grace' in 2003 in a raucous role that NBC touted as "Madonna's first time in primetime." In addition to being a fan of the hit show, her high-profile appearance was a strategic move to hype her CD, 'American Life,' which dropped two days before her sultry portrayal of Liz, an homage to her longtime Svengali publicist Liz Rosenberg, on season 5's April 24 show.
The episode 'Dolls & Dolls' found Madonna effortlessly getting into the 'Will & Grace' groove, camping it up as an outrageous new gal pal of the equally eccentric Karen, played by Megan Mullally. The cool chemistry between Madonna and Mullally provided some of the season's funniest scenes, including a bit of 'Girls Gone Wild'-type partying -- complete with some boob-groping sparked by Madonna, naturally.
'American Life' has since sold only 4 million copies, but thanks to the 17.7 million fans (says Nielsen) who tuned in to watch Madge debut her solid sitcom chops, 2003 still turned out to be a very good year for the multi-talented superstar.
'Saturday Night Live,' 1997
Much like Madonna's 1995 MTV interview that was crashed by Courtney Love, it was the surprise guest that made Madge's March 1997 guest stint on 'Saturday Night Live' particularly memorable. Neither Madonna nor her 'SNL' co-stars Mike Myers and Roseanne Barr knew what was coming when music icon Barbra Streisand popped up in an unannounced cameo near the end of their 'Coffee Talk' skit. The trio's reactions are priceless. Even Madonna was humbled, turning to bow down to the Oscar/Grammy/Emmy/Tony/Peabody-winning legend.
During their coffee chat about everything Barbra, Madge, playing sassy New Yorker Liz Rosenberg (in another tribute to her BFF/publicist), disses Madonna -- "She's a tramp ... Who needs her?" -- when one of the show's callers suggests that Babs and Madonna should consider recording a duet. That fantasy project never materialized, but this timeless TV moment is certainly the next best thing.
MTV Video Music Awards, 2003
Nearly 20 years after her ground-breaking performance of 'Like a Virgin' on the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards, Madonna broke her own record of having the single-most memorable performance on a VMA ceremony by resurrecting her 1984 hit in a mashup with 'Hollywood' and capping off her 2003 VMA opening performance with some hot girl-on-girl smooching with pop proteges Christina Aguilera and, more famously, Britney Spears.
That shocking, sexy moment lasted only seconds but Madonna made her point loud and clear with two simple kisses. In addition to crushing gender, ageist and sexual taboos, the pop trendsetter later revealed in an interview with 'Out' magazine the explanation she gave her then six-year-old daughter, Lourdes, who stood in as the flower girl during the VMA number: "I am the mommy pop star and [Britney] is the baby pop star, and I am kissing her to pass my energy on to her."
Britney, of course, was happy to accept the energy, telling 'Access Hollywood': "I mean, come on ... it's Madonna. If you can kiss any girl in the world, it has to be her."