Madonna, Britney, Christina, and Missy’s Full 2003 VMA Rehearsal Footage Has Finally Leaked

Posted June 21, 2023 by with 5 comments

After nearly 20 years, full rehearsal footage of the now infamous Madonna, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Missy Elliot performance that opened the 2003 VMAs has finally leaked. I have no idea how this surfaced, but it showed up as a “recommended” video for me on YouTube last night, and it appears to have been leaked by someone in a Britney Spears fan forum. It’s remarkable how flawless everyone was even in the rehearsal, and it’s a good reminder of how much of a perfectionist Madonna used to be. In fact, were it not for the slight variation in costumes, this looks identical to the version that played out live later that night. And without the groan-inducing audience cutaway to Justin Timberlake reacting to Britney and Madonna, we now get to see what the Madonna/Christina kiss looked like in full:

I presume those were MTV staffers or maybe even fans they pulled in off the street to stand in the pits around the stage? Either way, what an unforgettable five minutes that must’ve been for them. This is probably the greatest VMA performance of all time, and one of the most significant pop culture moments of the 21st century.

Someone has of course already done a side-by-side comparison showing the rehearsal next to the televised version, so see if you can spot any differences (I can’t—pretty much everything from the choreography to even the facial expressions are the same):

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