The watercooler moment to end all watercooler moments took place at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards when Robin Thicke, Miley Cyrus and a giant foam finger twerked their way into TV history. A year later, we're still talking about it and, according to one of the show's producers, that's exactly why you need to tune in to this year's VMAs this Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
"It's one of those moments in popular culture which I think is a must-watch," said VMA executive producer Garrett English about the telecast, which has been going strong for three decades. "There are things that happen on the VMA stage that you will be talking about for weeks, months, and in the case of Miley Cyrus, years after."
"It's one of those things that if you miss it on Sunday night, you can very well be missing out on what everyone's talking about on Monday morning," he told ABC News.
With a lineup including Beyoncé, Usher, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea, 5 Seconds of Summer and Maroon 5, this year's telecast has many possibilities for show-stopping moments. But as English explains, he's sweating under the huge expectation of a Miley-style incident every year.
"There certainly is a lot of pressure," English laughed. "But I think it's one of those things that we approach very much from an organic standpoint. We try to create the fertile ground for people to stretch creatively, and I think when that's achieved, these moments tend to happen."
As for whether or not the show ever turns down an artist's request to do something really controversial, over-the-top and crazy, English said, "We like the crazy! Controversy is not something that we shy away from." But, that being said, he added, "Obviously, there's always sensibilities and there's a very careful approach to that, but I think the VMAs is always one of those places where creative expression can go the extra step, and that the artists should feel comfortable doing that."
Most of the performances are being kept under wraps, though we know that the show will kick off with Ariana, Nicki and Jessie J singing "Bang Bang," and that Iggy and Rita Ora will sing "Black Widow." The one performance to watch, according to English, will be Beyoncé, naturally. She's the leading nominee, and she's getting the Video Vanguard Award, so they're pulling out all the stops.
"Every single time that you see Beyoncé on stage...she brings something unique, so that will certainly be the case on Sunday night," said English. "Obviously, the nuances of her performance are very much at close hold, but I can say that it's going to be a gargantuan performance."
With all this star power onstage, and titillating moments around every corner, it's hard to remember that this is actually an awards show that's meant to honor the best music videos of the year. After all, MTV doesn't even really play music videos anymore. So, do they actually really matter? Yes, English insisted.
"I think that's still very much the center point of the show...a celebration of music videos and musical expression in broadcast," he told ABC News. "So it's very much a center point for us, in terms of where the creative [portion] of the show is, a center point for the artists and a celebration of the year in this particular media. So it's absolutely critical."
Here are the nominees for this year's MTV Video Music Awards: