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The 10 most shocking Grammy moments

Updated

John Shearer/WireImage; ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images; Scott Gries/ImageDirect

From left-field performances and stage-crashing stunts to sudden deaths in the music family, the Grammys have provided plenty of OMG occasions. As the music world gets in formation for the 59th annual awards on Sunday (airing at 8 p.m. E.T. on CBS), EW ranks the 10 most shocking moments in Grammy history.

10. Kanye protests another Beyoncé loss

Kanye West had infamously interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech after she beat Beyoncé for Best Female Video at the 2009 VMAs. And he appeared to be on his way to another “I’ma let you finish” moment when he bum-rushed the stage at the 2015 Grammys after Beck topped Bey for Album of the Year. This time, though, Yeezy retreated with a smile, saving his criticism of Beck’s win for later.

9. The possession of Nicki Minaj

We knew Nicki Minaj was up to something, um, “special” when she arrived on the red carpet at the 2012 Grammys with a man dressed as the Pope. Later, a possessed-looking Minaj took the stage for a bizarre performance of “Roman Holiday” that featured an exorcism, dancing monks, and Nicki levitating at the merciful end.

8. 50 Cent shades Evanescence

At the 2004 Grammys, 50 Cent silently protested Evanescence beating him out for Best New Artist by jumping up onstage as lead singer Amy Lee started to give the band’s acceptance speech. She brushed it off and even thanked Fitty, who perhaps was just looking for an exit on his way to da club.

7. Billy Joel calls out Sinatra cutoff

Award shows are known for cutting off acceptance speeches to keep on schedule—and keep the ads coming—but after producers cut to commercial on Frank Sinatra’s Grammy Legend Award moment in 1994, Billy Joel took a stand. He stopped his performance of “River of Dreams” to waste commercial time, saying, “Valuable advertising time going by. Dollars, dollars, dollars.”

6. Ol’ Dirty Bastard steals Shawn Colvin’s moment

The late Ol’ Dirty Bastard was simply not having it when his Wu-Tang Clan lost Best Rap Album to Puff Daddy at the 1998 Grammys. So the fed-up rapper stormed the stage when poor Shawn Colvin won Song of the Year (for “Sunny Come Home”), ranting about Wu-Tang being “for the children.”

5. J.Lo’s daring dress wins the night

The fashion at the Grammys has always been a lot bolder than at the Oscars or the Emmys, so it takes a lot to really shock in that room. But Jennifer Lopez did just that in 2000, when she took the stage to present Best R&B Album (to TLC for FanMail) with David Duchovny. Her green Versace gown—with a neckline plunging past her navel and a crotch-high slit—had all of our jaws on the floor.

4. Eminem and Elton unite

Given the homophobic lyrics that Eminem had spewed on The Marshall Mathers LP, it raised plenty of eyebrows when the rapper performed “Stan” with a gay icon like Elton John at the 2001 ceremony. The two hugged at the end of the song and held up their hands together in solidarity.

3. Justin Timberlake and Al Green step in for Chris Brown and Rihanna

The night before the 2009 awards, Chris Brown and Rihanna attended Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy gala together. But on the way home from the event, Brown assaulted Rihanna, resulting in both of their scheduled Grammy performances being canceled. Justin Timberlake and Al Green stepped in to perform “Let’s Stay Together” during the ceremony. Brown pled guilty to felony assault and was sentenced to five years probation and six months of community service.

2. Bob Dylan gets Soy-Bombed

During his 1998 performance of “Love Sick,” Bob Dylan—and Grammy viewers everywhere—got a surprise when one of his background dancers went rogue, taking center stage and ripping his shirt off to reveal the words “Soy Bomb” scrawled on his chest. Michael Portnoy’s stunt lasted about 40 seconds before security gave him the hook.

1. Jennifer Hudson pays tribute to Whitney Houston

It was the saddest of Grammys when Whitney Houston died the day before the ceremony in 2012. She had been scheduled to appear at mentor Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy party, but just hours before that was found dead in her bathtub at the same Beverly Hilton hotel where the event took place. When Jennifer Hudson performed a moving version of “I Will Always Love You” in tribute at the telecast, the whole world was still in shock.

Catch the Grammys on Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.