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Top 10 Celeb Award Show Disses

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Jarett Burke

Getting recognized on National TV AND talking smack about someone who pisses you off? Talk about the best of both worlds! From Fifth Harmony’s subtle Camila Cabello diss, to Reese Witherspoon throwing shade at Kim Kardashian, these award show disses are legendary. WatchMojo is counting down the shadiest award show moments.

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Script written by Jarett Burke

Top 10 Stars Who Threw Shade at Award Shows


Getting recognized on National TV AND talking smack about someone who pisses you off? Talk about the best of both worlds! Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Stars Who Threw Shade at Award Shows.



For this list, we’re looking at famous people getting mad at other famous people in front of a whole lot of famous people. Call it whatever you want – shade, diss, or smack talk – these cases of personal insults were fascinating to watch play out on live TV.



#10: Katy Perry vs. Britney Spears


“59th Annual Grammy Awards” (2017)



We’re old enough to remember when Britney Spears was EVERYTHING. Literally, there was no escaping her presence on TV or the Internet. Then, sometime later, Katy Perry was EVERYTHING and similarly there was no escape. Being on top of the entertainment world is no doubt competitive, so it’s only natural that stars will throw shade at their rivals, which is just what Perry did when she joked that she didn’t shave her head yet at the Grammy’s – an obvious shot at a dark time in Spear’s life and career when her mental health suffered due to her insane schedule.





#9: Fiona Apple vs. Award Shows


“14th MTV Video Music Awards” (1997)



You know the award-show formula: get up in front of the audience, say how grateful you are to be there, thank everyone you know, and (of course) smile from ear to ear. Basically, be nice and look pretty. Well, Fiona Apple wasn’t having ANY of that nonsense when she was accepted a VMA award and called out awards shows as “bullshit,” telling people not to model their lives after such lavish and absurd standards because it’s all an act. Her message of just being yourself is still one of our favorite moments from any award show ever.





#8: Little Mix vs. Zayn Malik


“37th Brit Awards” (2017)



While accepting British Single of the Year at the 2017 Brit Awards, members of the female pop group Little Mix were all quite stunned and surprised at the news. Front-member Jade Thirlwall wasn’t so dazed, however, that she’d forget to give a shout out the lads who inspired their hit song, “Shout Out to My Ex.” Ironically, bandmate Perrie Edwards was previously engaged to Zayn Malik, who was nominated in the same category that night. Whether this was intended to be a direct dig at the One Direction bandmate or not, we’re sure that Zayn is doing just fine all the same.







#7: Suge Knight vs. Puff Daddy


“2nd Source Awards” (1995)



Back in the mid-90s, the West Coast/East Coast rap battle was at the height of its insanity, resulting in the drive-by shooting deaths of East Coaster Biggie Smalls and West Coaster Tupac Shakur. Within this national feud, two coastal record labels also went head to head in California’s Death Row Records fronted by Suge Knight and New York’s Bad Boy Records headed by Puff Daddy. The friction between these two groups was at a fever pitch, so at the Source Awards in 1995 when Knight took a shot at Puffy for appearing in his clients’ videos, the audience was literally divided in their reaction (some booing and some applauding) and room’s tension could have been cut with a knife.





#6: Fifth Harmony vs. Camila Cabello


“34th MTV Video Music Awards” (2017)



The rule of this entry is: don’t mess with Fifth Harmony… even if you were a member of Fifth Harmony. We’re looking at you, Camila Cabello! After Cabello left the band in 2016 amongst in-group tensions, Fifth Harmony was invited to sing during the MTV Video Music Awards and they sure didn’t let this live, national performance go to waste. Now being a foursome without Cabello, Fifth Harmony mysteriously appeared on stage with five members once again only for one member – obviously symbolizing Cabello – to be yanked off the stage in slapstick fashion. Clearly the girls of Fifth Harmony still had a lot to say about their former member – and none of it was good.







#5: Zayn Malik vs. One Direction


“44th Annual American Music Awards” (2016)



For this entry, Zayn Malik throws some award-show shade of his own, instead of being the brunt of a very public diss. Taking home an American Music Award after going solo from his former group One Direction, Zayn accepts the award by jokingly asking “This one just has my name on it, right?” Yes, Zayn, it’s just your name, and we’re quite sure that your former bandmates didn’t appreciate the joke even if it was all in good jest. But, like we said already, we’re sure Mr. Malik is doing juuuust fine.





#4: Reese Witherspoon vs. Kim Kardashian


“20th MTV Movie & TV Awards” (2011)



File this award-show shade under “savage,” as we still can’t believe how hard Reese Witherspoon went after Kim Kardashian at the MTV Movie Awards for being so famous without any talent. Accepting a Generation Award, Reese tells young girls that they can become real actresses without taking the reality-show path and that a sex tape should be a source of shame, not a ticket to stardom. Despite not naming Kim directly in the speech, it was clear from the get-go that Reese was gunning to take down the Queen Kardashian – and she succeeded.







#3: Stephen Colbert vs. Bill Maher


“69th Primetime Emmy Awards” (2017)



Political comedian Bill Maher got in quite a bit of hot water for saying the “N-Word” on his show in 2017 and was forced to apologize for his actions weeks later. That apology wasn’t good enough for Stephan Colbert, however, as he decided to drag Maher’s name through a mud a little bit more at the Emmy Awards while making a speech on diversity. Pointing to the fact that the nominees were the most diverse in history, and listing off a series of black actors and actresses, Colbert jokingly added Bill Maher to the list, saying he must be black since he’s so comfortable using the “N-Word.”





#2: Taylor Swift vs. Harry Styles


“33rd MTV Video Music Awards” (2016)



It’s no secret that Taylor Swift has made a career out of throwing shade at ex-boyfriends in her songs, but this time she did it during live TV on the MTV Video Music Awards and it was equally as glorious. Sure, she didn’t outright name Harry Styles as such for being the inspiration to her award-winning song, “Trouble,” but we must say she dropped a HEAVY hint nonetheless. Not only did she thank him for being the inspiration for the song, but she also thanked him for the award as well. Double shade! Taylor’s had lots of practice calling out other stars too, just see her subtle bashing of Kanye at the 2016 Grammys.





Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:



Justin Timberlake vs. Donald Sterling

“21st Billboard Music Awards” (2014)







Rihanna vs. Beyoncé

“59th Annual Grammy Awards” (2017)



Robbie Williams vs. Liam Gallagher

“20th Brit Awards” (2000)


Cardi B vs. Her Haters
"5th iHeart Radio Music Awards" (2018)

Meryl Streep vs. Donald Trump
"74th Annual Golden Globe Awards" (2017)







#1: Nicki Minaj vs. Miley Cyrus


“32nd MTV Video Music Awards” (2015)



Here’s some words to live by: don’t talk smack about Nicki Minaj… especially in the press… and doubly so if your name is Miley Cyrus. After accepting a VMA for her music in 2015, Minaj used the final moments of the speech to throw the show back to its host, one Miley Cyrus. Only, she didn’t throw it back as much as she did fire it out of a smoking pistol, calling Miley a “bitch” and asking her “what’s good?” That’s not Nicki’s only award-show shade, however, as she also ripped Iggy Azalea at the BET Awards for apparently not writing her own lyrics. Yikes! There’s little doubt in our mind that Nicki Minaj is the Queen of Shade.
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