Pop Quiz: The Most Eye-Popping VMA Video Of The Year Winners

The 2018 VMAs winner will be in great company

The TRL Pop Quiz works like this: our editors are posed a music-related question and have only 15 minutes and just 100 words to research, choose and explain their answers. Ahead of the 2018 VMAs, airing tonight at 9/8c on MTV, this week's question is: which of the VMAs Video of the Year winners is your favorite?

In terms of impact, few videos compete with Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It).” The direction is minimal: for 3 minutes and 18 seconds we bear witness to the power of Beyoncé’s raw talent, alongside back-up dancers Ebony Williams and Ashley Everett. But the execution was simple enough that, in a sense, anyone could do it—and many tried (including Justin Timberlake), as the video became one of the earliest viral memes. Its contagiousness makes “Single Ladies” the most important music video of the YouTube era, or, depending on who’s asked, “one of the best videos of all time!” - Gus Turner

What’s better than one Andre 3000? A stage full of Andre 3000s! The winner of the 2004 VMA for Video of the Year, “Hey Ya” by Outkast, sees Andre 3000 as an American band making their British debut. It’s a parody of The Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, and of the British invasion in general. All of Andre 3000’s impeccable dancing was improvised, and he plays every single band member. Conceptually, it’s creative and original; it’s well directed and just fun. Andre 3000 is a top tier performer, and a delight to watch. - Leah Williams

My 10-year-old self couldn’t have been more entranced with every look, move and special effect in the music video for “Umbrella” by Rihanna featuring Jay Z. In a moment, Rihanna forever changed the way the world would hold their umbrella-ella-ellas, wielding power in a way only Gene Kelly or Mary Poppins could compare to. I can recall thinking in 2007 that her silver metallic body paint had to have been the most artistic thing I’d ever seen. Looking back now, I still cherish the shoddy green screen scenes and Windows Movie Maker-esque liquid effects that made “Umbrella” perfect. - Matt Gehring

This is a very hard decision between all the best music videos, but I really love Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video. Even if you never read into the messages, the visual creativity alone is striking. The looks and fashion are iconic and memorable. In the story, Gaga is kidnapped and is presented to a mafia who bids on her and I love that she kills the man at the end. The video’s meaning is open to interpretation, but “Bad Romance” is so well-thought-out overall it could be a short film or movie. - Landyn Pan

The best of the best Video of the Year winners has got to be Beyonce’s 2016 fire starter “Formation.” The music video was directed by Melina Matsoukas who pulled inspiration from Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou and important moments throughout black history. The video focuses on everything from Louisiana Creole culture to police brutality as Queen Bey unapologetically embraces her black identity and calls on young women of color to band together. If that wasn’t enough, “Formation” solidified Beyonce as a two-time winner of the award, an exclusive club only two others — Justin Timberlake and Rihanna — are privy to. - Kristen Maldonado

Across her career of eye-popping visuals that transformed the landscape of what music videos could be--especially in the realm of hip-hop--it may be a surprise that Missy only has one Video of the Year win. 2001's jungle-themed "Get Ur Freak On" lost to "Lady Marmalade," of which she was a supporting player. That leaves 2003's "Work It," a stylishly bonkers 4:24 where Missy dons a beard of bees, swallows a Lamborghini and gets her dance on all over town in a sickening suite of tracksuits. Missy and director Dave Meyers have never gotten a video wrong, but 15 years later, this may be their crown achievement. - Terron Moore

Make sure you're tuned in and ready for the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards airing LIVE from Radio City Music Hall TONIGHT at 9PM ET only on MTV!